The Pepperdine baseball team is ranked eighth in the nation in the preseason poll of Baseball America, and Wave Coach Dave Gorrie thinks that's about right.
"Realistically, we probably have the makings of a top-10 team," Gorrie said. "We played awfully well down the stretch last season, and most of our team is back after playing ball during the summer."
Fourteen lettermen return from the team that finished with a 38-21-2 record and was the runner-up at the NCAA Central Regional. Lettermen include four of Gorrie's top five pitchers and seven of eight position players. All-American pitcher Mike Fetters and shortstop Andy Stankiewicz are the only regulars not back.
Gorrie will take his first look at his team in action when the Waves play host to an alumni team at 1 p.m. Saturday at Eddy D. Field Stadium.
Starters against the alumni are expected to be Scott Shockey at first base, Matt Howard at second, Paul Faries at shortstop and Jim Doyle at third. In the outfield will be Steve Erickson, Steve Kirkpatrick and Rick Hirtensteiner, with Peter Kuld behind the plate and Ruben Gonzalez as the designated hitter.
Reserves include Brian Allen, Chris Costley, Gary Kukaua and Mike Truschke.
Top starting pitchers will be Patrick Dubar, Tony Lewis, Doug Simons, Scott Singelyn and Craig Stiveson. In the bullpen will be Steve Dell'Amico, Randy Hacker, Kevin Kondo, Kipp Landis and Steve Scanlon.
The Waves open the season at UC Santa Barbara at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 2.
The UCLA men's tennis team, which breezed to a 9-0 win over San Diego State in its dual-match opener, will play host to Nevada Las Vegas at 1:30 p.m. Friday and to the University of San Diego at 1:30 p.m. next Tuesday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on campus. The win over the Aztecs was the 21st consecutive opening-day victory for Coach Glenn Bassett.
Bassett, whose team tied for third place with Pepperdine in preseason rankings of the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Assn., said he is still trying to find his best doubles combinations.
Buff Farrow and Tim Trigueiro, his only returning doubles team, played in the top spot against San Diego State. At No. 2 were Dan Nahirny and Otis Smith, and Pat Galbreath and Brian Garrow played at No. 3. Last summer Nahirny and Smith teamed for the first time and won the U.S. Tennis Assn.'s national amateur doubles championship.
The No. 9 Bruin women, who opened their home schedule last week by defeating Cal State Long Beach, 7-2, and Nevada Las Vegas, 9-0, are competing in the Riviera Country Club tournament, which ends Sunday at Pacific Palisades.
The Pepperdine men's and women's tennis teams will play in tournaments this weekend. The men are in the Adidas Invitational, which began Wednesday at the Grand Champions hotel at Palm Springs. The women, No. 22 in ITCA preseason rankings, are in the Riviera Country Club invitational.
Junior Robbie Weiss, top singles player for the men, has been nursing injuries and won't take part in the Adidas tourney. Sophomore Augustine Moreno, a member of the No. 1 doubles team last year, is turning professional and has left the team.
Last week the women opened their dual-match season with a 7-2 victory over the University of San Diego. Pepperdine freshmen Carrie Crissel and Ginger Helgeson won their first college singles matches against the Toreros.
The Wave men will play host to U.S. International at 1:30 p.m. Monday and to UC Irvine at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The women will entertain Irvine at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and USC at 1:30 p.m. next Thursday.
The Pepperdine men's volleyball team, which defeated the touring Israeli national team in a hotly contested five games, will play host to the University of Calgary at 7:30 tonight and to Cal State Northridge at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Waves edged the Israelis, 11-15, 15-7, 5-15, 16-14, 15-12. In the fourth set, Pepperdine trailed 14-11 and staved off six match points before coming back to win.
Pepperdine Coach Rod Wilde, whose team was ranked second in the nation behind No. 1 UCLA in the preseason by Volleyball Monthly, said the win was "an excellent overall team effort."
"I was most impressed with our execution in the fourth and fifth games," Wilde said. "Of course, we need to improve in many areas, but this team will be in contention for the NCAA title."
The UCLA women's basketball team, 4-2 in the Pac-10 Conference after beating Oregon, 75-71, and losing to Oregon State, 74-69, will entertain first-place USC (5-1 in conference play, 11-4 overall) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pauley Pavilion.
Scoring leader for the Bruins, 10-5 overall as the week began, continues to be junior forward Dora Dome, averaging 17.1 points a game. The Trojans are led by sophomore center-forward Cherie Nelson, averaging 20.9 points and 11.7 rebounds.