Back when the Cal Poly baseball team beat Pepperdine in Baggett Stadium nearly a month ago, Mustangs head coach Larry Lee said he’d rather see the Waves shipped to another NCAA regional if San Luis Obispo was awarded one.
It was high praise, but even then, Lee felt the teams were on a collision course, and that feeling comes to fruition today at 6 p.m. after Pepperdine beat Arizona State 3-2 in the opening game of the San Luis Obispo Regional at Baggett Stadium on Friday.
The Mustangs and Waves split a pair of midweek games during the regular-season with Pepperdine winning 11-4 in Malibu and Cal Poly taking a 5-1 victory at Baggett.
“We tied the series throughout the year,” Waves senior pitcher Corey Miller said, “so, obviously, we’re comfortable playing here, and we want to take the series from them.”
Said junior third baseman Austin Davidson: “I’m just excited to play in the playoffs, being in any regional, but being closer to Malibu and having our fanbase come out, that’s another advantage that we have playing here.”
Davidson was 2 for 4 with a two-run double, Miller pitched into the seventh inning, and third-seeded Pepperdine held on to beat No. 2 after the Sun Devils’ starting pitcher left the first inning with a chest injury.
Brett Lilek got just two outs for Arizona State (33-23) before diving to make a catch covering first base on a potential inning-ending double play and landing on the ball. Aaron Brown was safe for the Titans (40-16), and Davidson scored.
Arizona State head coach Tim Esmay said Lilek suffered a sternum injury, and his status for the rest of the regional depends on X-ray results.
Miller (9-4) got the win, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks while striking out four in 71⁄3 innings. Eric Karch got his 14th save.
Davison added a two-out, bases-loaded double in the second that scored two. Hutton Moyer was also 2 for 4 for the Waves.
Lilek took the loss for the Sun Devils. Freshman Seth Martinez allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out seven in 6 1⁄3 innings of relief. Trever Allen was 2 for 4 with a solo home run in the second for Arizona State.