Chris Fornaci's bat helps Pepperdine stay alive

Chris Fornaci's bat helps Pepperdine stay alive
Pepperdine third baseman Chris Fornaci is congratulated after hitting a home run Saturday against Clemson in an elimination game of the NCAA tournament. (Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Third baseman Chris Fornaci had a home run and run-scoring single among his four hits as Pepperdine beat Clemson, 10-8, on Saturday in an elimination game in the Cal State Fullerton regional.

"I try to always play with a little fire like that," Fornaci said.


The Waves (31-28) scored three runs in the first inning and Fornaci homered in the second for a 4-0 lead.

Pepperdine scored three runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a Hutton Moyer two-run double to left field, for a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers (32-29) scored twice in the sixth inning and sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh, scoring six runs to take an 8-7 lead.

Tyler Krieger and Chris Okey each had two-run singles and Tyler Slaton hit a two-run triple that gave the Tigers a one-run lead in the seventh.

The Waves tied the score in the eighth inning and Matt Gelalich scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error following a double by Manny Jefferson. Two batters later, Fornaci padded the lead with his RBI single.

Max Gamboa (6-2) struck out four batters and gave up only one hit in 2 1/3 innings to earn the victory.

"They came out and punched us right in the mouth, down by seven," said Clemson outfielder Steven Duggar, who had a single, two walks and two runs.

"The attitude from there was to put some at-bats together and try to chip away. I was extremely proud of the way our lineup handled our at-bats from then on out, and we were able to put ourselves in a position to win."

Pepperdine got off to a quick start when Hutton Moyer walked with one out in the first and came around on singles by Brad Anderson and Aaron Barnett. Matt Gelalich's sacrifice fly scored a second run, and Manny Jefferson's single and an error in the outfield brought home the third.

The Waves play another elimination game Sunday.

In a late game, Arizona State was taking on Cal State Fullerton.