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Bruins and Waves Have Noses for Gold--Three NCAA Crowns

June 02, 1988|Ray Ripton

If an NCAA championship was up for grabs last week, some team or someone from UCLA or Pepperdine did most of the grabbing.

The UCLA women's softball team won its fifth NCAA title under Coach Sharron Backus, defeating Fresno State, 3-0, in the final after losing a 2-1 decision to the Bulldogs earlier the same day. Bruin ace Lisa Longaker, the Pacific 10 Conference player of the year the last two seasons, pitched both ends of the double-header and finished with a 31-4 record. UCLA was 53-8 for the year.

Other Bruins who played a large part in the success included four All-Pac-10 players: freshman outfielders Shanna Flynn and Lorraine Maynez, senior catcher Stacy Sunny and junior third baseman Janice Parks. In the championship game, Parks doubled in the fourth inning to drive in Sunny and Maynez for all the runs that Longaker would need. Flynn knocked in the other run with a single in the seventh.

In men's tennis, Pepperdine's top-seeded Robbie Weiss capped a fine comeback season by winning the NCAA singles title at the University of Georgia in Athens. Weiss, a 1986 All-American who was hampered by illness and injuries in 1987, averted a UCLA sweep of the individual NCAA titles by defeating UCLA's unseeded sophomore Brian Garrow, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, in the championship match. Weiss, a senior from Wheeling, Ill., is expected to join the professional ranks this year.

Garrow, who reached the singles final by upsetting fifth-seeded teammate Buff Farrow, 7-6, 6-4, bounced back from his loss to Weiss to capture the NCAA doubles title with partner Patrick Galbraith. In an all-UCLA finale, Garrow and Galbraith defeated teammates Farrow and Robert Bierens, 6-3, 6-2. Farrow and Bierens got to the final by defeating the top-seeded USC team of Scott Melville and Eric Amend, 6-3, 6-4.

UCLA Coach Glenn Bassett has an interesting theory on why the Bruins did so well in the individual portion of the tournament after they were knocked out in the opening round of team competition by Georgia, 5-4.

Bassett said he thinks his team's early loss to Georgia "was one of the main reasons for our good showing.

"It gave our players three days to rest and recharge physically for singles and doubles. We practiced hard, and fortunately (Garrow, Farrow and the two UCLA doubles teams in the final) were ready for inspired efforts."

Garrow, of Los Altos Hills, played well against Weiss, he said, but the latter, "an experienced and talented senior, took charge when the score was tied, 3-3, in the final set."

The victory by Garrow and Galbraith was the first by UCLA performers in NCAA individual competition since Billy Martin, now a Bruin assistant coach, won the NCAA singles championship in 1975.

Bassett is looking forward to 1989 because "for the first time in several years, we will have both depth and talent in our lineup.

All-Americans Garrow, Farrow, Galbraith and Bierens, a native of the Netherlands, are expected back, and Bassett may have another top player if Dan Nahirny, an All-American in 1986 and 1987 who was sidelined by a knee injury this season, bounces back.

UCLA's other NCAA team title was captured by the men's golf team, its first national championship, and came as a surprise not only to the three teams that were vying for first place entering the final round--Florida, USC and Oklahoma--but also to UCLA Coach Eddie Merrins.

Merrins was quoted: "We're a little dumbfounded by it all. This was a great effort by a great group of kids."

The Bruins, who came in eighth in the Pac-10 tournament, went into the last round in sixth place, 13 shots off the pace. But UCLA shot a final-round 287, three over par, to finish with 1,176. Tied for second at 1,179 were Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas El Paso, and Florida finished fifth with a 1,180. USC came in with a final round of 315 and dropped to 13th place.

Bruin senior Brandt Jobe shot a 69 in the final round to finish in a three-way tie for second in individual competition at 287 with Bill McDonald of Georgia Tech and Tom Carr of Tennessee. Oklahoma State's E. J. Pfister won with 284.

Other Bruins and their last day scores: Tim Cruikshank, 71, Kevin Leach, 72, and Bobby Lasken, 75.

Pepperdine's baseball team, which overcame injuries and a slow start to win another West Coast Athletic Conference championship, didn't get a chance to win an NCAA title.

The Waves, making their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA playoffs under Coach Dave Gorrie, lost a double-header Monday to Pac-10 champion Arizona State, 11-4 and 10-5, and were eliminated in the final of the NCAA West II Regional at Tempe, Ariz. The Sun Devils, who were the top seed in the regionals but lost an opener to Evansville, advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Fifth-seeded Pepperdine had won three straight in the regional, including a 10-1 opening rout of No. 2 Oklahoma. The Waves finished with an overall record of 37-24-1.

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