Malibu, Calif - Behind a brilliant effort out of the pen by sophomore Jake Jenkins (1-2), the Pacific baseball team picked up its first West Coast Conference victory since rejoining the conference with a 6-4 win over Pepperdine on Saturday, Mar. 15. The win improved the Tigers' record to 9-12 on the year while the Waves fell to 13-5 overall and 1-1 in WCC play.
Beckoned into the game in support of his senior starter in the fifth inning, Jenkins came up with arguably his best career showing on the mound as a Tiger as the second-year hurler dominated the Waves' bats for 4.1 solid innings of relief. Starting what would be a stretch of nearly perfect relief, Jenkins struck out the first batter he faced in the fifth, blowing a fastball by the Pepperdine pinch hitter to strand a pair of runners on base.
The strikeout in the fifth was a flash of what was in store for the remainder of the game as Jenkins ran through the Wave lineup to the tune of seven strikeouts. Throughout his relief outing, Jenkins used his slider to setup his fastball, retiring 13 of the 14 Wave batters he would face. The lone blemish on the young right-handers outing came in the seventh when he allowed a two-out single to Aaron Brown. Brown finished 3-for-3 in the game, but was left at first as Jenkins induced a lazy fly ball for the final out of the seventh.
In the ninth, Jenkins recorded a pair of strikeouts, a feat he accomplished in all but one inning of full work to come up with his first win of the season.
With Jenkins dealing on the bump the Tiger offense executed when needed most to come up with the run support necessary for the win. Pacific posted runs in four of the final five innings of play including throwing up a three spot in the fifth to take their first lead of the game. In the inning, the Tigers took advantage of a bout of wildness out of Pepperdine starter, Jackson McClelland, as the sophomore walked in a pair of Tiger runs before giving up the third run of the inning on a ground ball to left side. Prior to the walks, the Tigers picked up a pair of hits from the bottom half of the order led by senior Erik Lockwood's leadoff double.
After giving back the lead in the bottom half of the fifth on a pair of runs including an unearned run against Tiger starter, senior John Haberman, the Tigers knotted the game at 4-4 with a single run in the sixth. In the inning, Pacific turned a leadoff walk to junior Taylor Murphy into a run as he worked his way into scoring position before coming home on a single off the third base bag by sophomore J.J. Wagner.
Two innings later, the Tigers took the lead for good with a single run in the eighth as Murphy again found himself in the middle of the rally after leading the inning off with a single to right. He would move to third on a failed pickoff that set up Lockwood to deliver the game-winning RBI single after the senior was looking to give himself up earlier in the at bat. In the ninth, Pacific tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly by sophomore Brett Sullivan as he brought home junior Tyler Sullivan from third after the third-year center fielder had led the inning off with a single to right.
In all, T. Sullivan and Lockwood led the way with a pair of hits each while Murphy posted two runs scored and B. Sullivan added a pair of RBIs. On the mound, Haberman posted the no-decision as he went 4.2 innings while giving up eight hits and four runs while striking out three and walking four.
For the Waves, A.J. Puckett (0-1) was charged with the loss as he threw the final three innings of play and gave up three hits and two runs while striking out three. McClelland, who did not factor into the decision, went 5.0 inning while giving up three hits an three runs.
The two teams will meet for the rubber game of their three-game series on Sunday, Mar. 16 at 1:00 pm at Eddy D. Fields Stadium.