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Pepperdine Promotes Former Star Rodriguez

June 19, 2003

Steve Rodriguez, a former two-time All-American for Pepperdine, was hired as the Waves' baseball coach Wednesday, the school announced.

Rodriguez, 32, succeeds Frank Sanchez, who began a permanent medical leave of absence June 5.

Rodriguez was an assistant for Sanchez the last four seasons, when Pepperdine compiled an overall record of 145-98 (.597) -- including an 88-32 (.733) mark in West Coast Conference play -- won a conference title in 2001 and made the playoffs twice.

Pepperdine was 36-25 this season, won the WCC's Coast Division title with a 23-7 mark and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA playoffs.

Rodriguez, a fifth-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1992, was named WCC Player of the Year in 1992, when the Waves went 48-11 and won the College World Series.

Rodriguez made two key contributions at the World Series -- a grand slam that helped defeat Texas in the semifinal round and a late-inning defensive gem in the Waves' 3-2 win over Cal State Fullerton in the championship game.

Rodriguez played professionally for seven seasons in the organizations of the Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Dodgers and Montreal Expos. He reached the major leagues with Boston and Detroit in 1995.

Rodriguez, who earned All-American honors in 1991 and 1992, becomes the second former player to assume head coaching duties in the Waves' 64-year history.

Gail Hopkins, who coached the Waves in 1968, was the first.

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