Pepperdine, which looks like the hottest team in college baseball, will end the regular season this weekend with a three-game West Coast Athletic Conference series at Santa Clara. There will be a single game Friday and a Saturday double-header.
Coach Dave Gorrie's Waves are 44-8-3 overall and 20-1 in conference play and have clinched the WCAC championship. They are ranked second in the nation by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, behind No. 1 Texas (51-9).
The Waves have won 21 consecutive games, 33 of their last 36 and 21 straight at home. Pepperdine is hitting .333, and nine players are batting .300 or better.
Senior right fielder Steve Erickson has a school-record 27-game hitting streak and has a team-leading .395 average. He also has knocked in 35 runs, hit 10 doubles and 7 home runs and has stolen 29 bases.
Rick Hirtensteiner is hitting .372, Chris Sloniger .369, Ruben Gonzalez .364 and Paul Faries .342.
The pitching staff has an earned-run average of 3.39, and Craig Stiveson, 7-1, has a team-leading 2.58 ERA. Other pitchers and their records include Steve Dell'Amico 8-0, Steve Scanlon 5-0 and Doug Simons 10-3.
Tony Lewis is 5-1 and has won four games since he returned to action April 7 after he was struck in the face with a line drive in February and underwent extensive surgery. Last week Lewis tossed a three-hitter and gave up one unearned run in a win over U.S. International.
The UCLA women's tennis team hopes to recapture some of its early-season magic as the host team for the NCAA championships, which will be held May 14-21 at the on-campus Los Angeles Tennis Center and Sunset Canyon Recreation Center as well as at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
The Bruins won their first 20 matches and then lost five of their last six, including a 6-3 defeat by USC last week.
Team competition begins May 14, with the quarterfinals on May 15 and the semifinals on May 16. The championship match is at 1 p.m. May 17 at the tennis center.
Individual singles and doubles play starts May 18 and continues through May 20. Finals will be May 21, with singles starting at 6 p.m. and the doubles at 8.
Many Californians are expected to play in the tournament, including five from UCLA: Allyson Cooper of Granada Hills, Michelle Hain of Riverside, Maria LaFranchi of Rancho Palos Verdes, Catherine O'Meara of Costa Mesa and Jannell Wilkins of Long Beach.
Other Californians include Stanford's Leigh Ann Eldredge of Altadena and Stephanie Savides of Los Altos Hills, San Diego State's Dana Bleicher of Studio City and Kelly Rapp of Los Altos Hills and Brigham Young's Mary Beth Young of La Habra.
Cal will be represented by Stacy Lavilla of Gardena, Betsy Shea of Pacific Palisades, Karen Shin of Woodland Hills and Tiffiny Silveria of Los Gatos; USC by Stephanie Harges of Granada Hills and Anya Kochoff of Pacific Palisades and Arizona State by Pam Mirassou of Los Gatos.
The Pepperdine and UCLA men's tennis teams ended the regular season last week in significantly different fashions.
Coach Allen Fox's Waves defeated the Bruins, 5-3, at UCLA last week to finish the season with four consecutive victories in dual matches. For Coach Glenn Bassett's Bruins, it was their third loss in their last four dual matches.
In the most recent rankings of the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Assn., UCLA was tied for third in the nation with Georgia and Pepperdine shared the No. 8 spot with Tennessee. But the rankings were released before Pepperdine's win over UCLA, and the Waves should move up in the next poll as well as in the seedings for the NCAA Tournament, which will be held May 15-23 at Georgia's campus in Athens.
Fox, whose team finished the year with a 19-5 record in dual matches as well as with its 15th straight West Coast Athletic Conference championship, hopes the win over the Bruins will provide momentum for the NCAA championships.
"It's wait-and-see time," Fox said. "The seedings for the NCAA Tournament will be announced May 10, and I'd like to think that our win at UCLA will benefit our ranking."
Bassett, whose team defeated Pepperdine, 8-1, at Malibu in January and ended the year with a 20-7 record, said the Waves were "the superior team last week. There's no doubt they are a strong NCAA contender. However, the favorite at Athens will be USC, undefeated and ranked No. 1."
As for his own team, Bassett said that it "must regain its confidence and toughness to be a factor at Athens. We must practice long and hard in the final days to be ready."
In last week's top singles match at UCLA, Pepperdine freshman Andrew Sznaidjer, ranked second nationally, defeated Bruin All-American sophomore Dan Nahirny, 7-6, 6-2, to avenge an earlier loss to Nahirny. Sznaidjer's record is 17-2. In the top doubles, UCLA's Patrick Galbraith and Brian Garrow beat Pepperdine's Martin Laurendeau and Craig Johnson, 6-3, 6-3.