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COLLEGE BASEBALL / GARY KLEIN : Waves Not Expecting Any Surprises

May 20, 1993|GARY KLEIN

Defending national champion Pepperdine completed its regular season Tuesday with a 10-9, 10-inning loss to Cal State Northridge.

After the defeat, which left ninth-ranked Pepperdine with a 40-15 record, Wave Coach Andy Lopez gathered his players in a circle and pulled senior third baseman Mark Wasikowski into the center.

"Look at that number," Lopez said, pointing to the 44 on Wasikowski's uniform. "I want you all to put your hands on it. That's what we need."

Lopez was referring to 44 victories, a total that would include four wins in the NCAA regionals and result in the Waves' second consecutive trip to the College World Series.

Lopez, the 1992 national coach of the year, was not surprised by the NCAA's choice of sites for the six-team double-elimination regionals, and he is not expecting anything unusual when the 48 teams and regional seedings are announced Monday.

History says that Pepperdine, the West Coast Conference champion, will be sent to the West regional at Tempe, Ariz., where Pacific 10 Southern Division champion Arizona State will be seeded No. 1. The Waves are participating in the regionals for the sixth time in seven years. All six appearances were in West regionals, generally regarded as among the most competitive every year.

Cal State Fullerton of the Big West Conference has been sent out of the region for each of its last three postseason appearances. In 1988, the Titans went 4-0 at Starkville, Miss., and advanced to the World Series. In 1990, Fullerton went 4-0 at Austin, Tex., and returned to Omaha. Last year, the Titans went 4-0 at Baton Rouge, La., and lost to Pepperdine in the World Series championship game.

Cal State Long Beach advanced to the 1989 World Series by winning the West regional at Tucson. The 49ers played in the 1991 World Series after winning a regional at Austin, where they also played last season. Long Beach, the Big West champion, probably will be sent out of the West again next week.

"The bottom line is it's tough to win any regional," Lopez said. "But with so many good schools out here, I think it's fair to say that playing in the West regional would not be the first choice for anyone other than maybe the host institution."

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Trivia time: Which school had the most former College World Series players on opening-day major league rosters?

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Northridge might have assured itself an at-large berth in the playoffs by ending the regular season with two victories in three games against Fresno State--the Western Athletic Conference West Division champion--and the victory over Pepperdine on Tuesday.

The Matadors, who rallied from an 8-0 first-inning deficit against Pepperdine, won eight of their last 11 games and finished 34-18.

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The nine Division I schools in the Southland include several All-American candidates and many all-league players in the Pacific 10, Big West, West Coast and Western Athletic conferences.

Here is an All-Southland team for 1993:

C--Casey Burrill, USC; 1B--Ryan McGuire, UCLA; 2B--Jeremy Carr, Cal State Fullerton; 3B--Rich Haar, UC Santa Barbara; SS--Eric Ekdahl, Pepperdine; OF--Dante Powell, Fullerton; Cobi Cradle, Long Beach; Ryan Radmanovich, Pepperdine; DH--Jesse Ibarra, Loyola Marymount; Utility--Jared Janke, Santa Barbara; P--Daniel Choi, Long Beach; Steve Duda, Pepperdine; Dan Hubbs, USC; Gabe Gonzalez, Long Beach.

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After two years at the Division I level, Chapman will compete as a Division III independent next season. In 1995, the Panthers will join the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which includes Cal Lutheran, Redlands, La Verne, Claremont, Pomona-Pitzer, Occidental and Caltech.

Chapman moved from Division II to Division I last season and had a successful season as an independent, making a brief appearance in the top 25 and finishing 29-24.

This season, with the move to non-scholarship Division III imminent, Chapman's recruiting suffered. Left-handed pitcher Corey Juliano won 10 games for a Panther team that finished 22-32.

"Our kids did a good job of competing, especially after we had some late-season injuries," Chapman Coach Gary Henderson said.

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Trivia answer: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had nine former College World Series players on opening-day major league rosters: Tim Pugh (Reds), Monty Farris (Marlins), Pete Incaviglia (Phillies), John Farrell (Angels), Robin Ventura (White Sox), Dave Mlicki (Indians), Mike Henneman (Tigers), Mickey Tettleton (Tigers) and Doug Dascenzo (Rangers).

College Baseball Notes

Cal Poly Pomona, which finished second in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn., will compete in the three-team Division II West regional at San Luis Obispo this weekend. Pomona will play UC Davis. The loser will play defending national champion Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the double-elimination tournament. The regional winner advances to the World Series May 29-June 5 at Montgomery, Ala. . . . Cal Lutheran and Redlands will play a best-of-five series at Moorpark College this weekend to determine the West representative in the Division III World Series May 27-June 1 at Battle Creek, Mich.

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