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March 26, 2013

Pepperdine Rallies Late for 8-6 Victory Over No. 21 Cal Poly

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Pepperdine scored two unearned runs in the ninth inning to break a 6-6 tie and held on to beat No. 21 Cal Poly 8-6 in a non-conference baseball game Tuesday night in Baggett Stadium.

The Waves (14-9) loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Second baseman Hutton Moyer's nubber in front of the plate was thrown by Michael Holback's gloved hand over the head of catcher Elliot Stewart, allowing two runs to score.

Cal Poly (17-6) loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth on a hit batsman, a double by Jordan Brower and a Pepperdine throwing error in the infield, but Pepperdine closer Michael Swanner earned his fifth save with a strikeout and a fly ball to right field.

Cal Poly erased 2-0, 3-2 and 6-4 deficits, leading once in the game at 4-3 on freshman left fielder John Schuknecht's second home run of the year, a solo shot to left field in the fourth inning.

Pepperdine scored three times on five hits in the sixth for a 6-4 lead and, after surrendering two runs in the bottom of the eighth, parlayed two walks, an error and a single into two unearned runs to break the 6-6 tie in the top of the ninth.

Eric Karch (5-1), the third of four Pepperdine pitchers used in the game, earned the win, allowing two runs and three hits in 2 2/3 innings. The loss went to Holback (2-1) as he allowed the two unearned runs in the ninth before Reed Reilly secured the final two outs.

Pepperdine outhit Cal Poly 13-9, led by third baseman Austin Davidson with three singles.

Schuknecht (pictured above) and Stewart each had a single and home run for Cal Poly. Stewart hit his third of the year leading off the third inning, tying the game at 3-3. Junior center fielder David Armendariz contributed an RBI triple in the eighth inning and came home to tie the game at 6-6 on Schuknecht's single up the middle.

Sophomore right fielder Nick Torres extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a sixth-inning single, but seven-game hitting streaks by freshman designated hitter Brian Mundell, senior second baseman Denver Chavez and freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen all came to an end.

Torres' streak is the fourth longest in Cal Poly's 19-year Division I history. Ryan Lee set the mark of 26 in 2009.

The Mustangs have lost five of their last nine games after a 13-1 start capped by a sweep of a doubleheader March 8 at Kansas State.

Cal Poly has won just one of six games in which it trailed after seven innings this season, rallying from a 5-4 deficit to beat San Jose State 6-5 in 10 innings.

Pepperdine, which has won six straight games, will host Cal Poly on May 1.

The Mustangs open Big West Conference play Thursday night with the first of three games against UC Davis in Baggett Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. both Thursday and Friday and 1 o'clock on Saturday.