SPORTSCOPE : Pepperdine Needs Sweep to Nip Loyola for Crown
The Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount baseball teams will settle the West Coast Conference race in a three-game series this weekend in Malibu, with the Waves needing to sweep the series to become conference champion and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.
Even if the Waves (35-21 and 22-11 in league play) sweep, they would still trail the Lions (43-13, 24-7) by percentage points in the standings. But Pepperdine, which won two of three games from the Lions earlier, would be awarded the title by having won five of the six games.
The teams play a single game Friday at 2 p.m. and a double-header Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pepperdine’s Eddy D. Field Stadium.
If the Waves win the WCC title, Loyola still has a strong chance of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAAs. The Lions are ranked 11th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball and 12th by Baseball America. Pairings and seedings for the NCAA tournament will be announced Monday.
Pepperdine freshman pitcher Steve Duda, who leads the conference with an earned-run average of 2.58 and has a 12-2 record, was named the WCC player of the week after he pitched 11 scoreless innings and picked up victories against Cal State Long Beach and the University of San Diego.
The second-ranked UCLA men’s tennis team and fifth-ranked Pepperdine will play opening matches in the NCAA championships Saturday. Tournament headquarters is the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Indian Wells.
The Bruins will play the winner of Friday’s match between No. 13 Harvard and No. 17 San Diego at 4 p.m. at Stouffer’s Esmeralda in Indian Wells.
Pepperdine will play No. 7 Texas at noon at the La Quinta Resort Hotel in La Quinta.
UCLA is led by junior Jason Netter, who won the Pacific 10 Conference championship. Pepperdine is led by ninth-ranked David Wells-Roth, a senior, and No. 21 Alejo Mancisidor, a freshman.
The UCLA men’s and women’s track teams, both three-time defending Pac-10 champions, will compete Saturday and Sunday in the conference meet at the University of Washington in Seattle.
The Bruin men (5-0) will be led by sprinter Kevin Williams, quarter-miler Steve Lewis, hurdler Derek Knight and weight-thrower Brian Blutreich.
Top performers for the UCLA women (7-0) include hurdler Janeene Vickers, sprinter-quarter-miler Angela Burnham, quarter-miler/long jumper Tonya Sedwick, distance runners Laurie Chapman and Jennifer Ashe and weight-thrower Tracie Millett.
Former UCLA track and field standouts Danny Everett, Mike Marsh and Dave Wilson will compete Sunday for the Santa Monica Track Club in the Jack in the Box Invitational at UCLA’s Drake Stadium. Field events start at 11:30 a.m. and running events at 12:10.
Everett, bronze medalist at 400 meters in the 1988 Olympics, also ran the first leg of the 4x400 U.S. relay team that won the gold medal and tied the world record of 2 minutes, 56.16 seconds at Seoul. On Sunday, his competition will include world-class runners Tim Simon, Innocent Egbunike of Nigeria and Clarence Daniel of the Florida Clippers.
Marsh, twice the Pac-10 100-meter champion, will be in a strong 100-meter field that includes Brian Cooper, Ron McCree, Brian Bridgewater and brothers Osmond and Davidson Ezinwa of Nigeria.
Wilson will compete in the shot put against Randy Barnes, who holds the world indoor record and won the silver medal at Seoul. At the Mount San Antonio College Relays in April, Barnes had a throw of 73 feet, 1 inch.
Other top performers in the meet include Roger Kingdom, who set a world record of 12.92 in the 110-meter high hurdles last year; Paula Ivan of Romania, 1988 Olympic champion at 1,500 meters; Steve Scott, U.S. record holder in the mile; Dawn Sowell, whose time of 10.78 for 100 meters last year was the third-best ever; Kim Gallagher, bronze medalist in the 800 at Seoul, long jumper Mike Powell and steeplechase favorite Brian Abshire.
Four pole vaulters who have topped 19 feet are in the field: Scott Huffman, Earl Bell, Mike Tully and Tim Bright.
The top-ranked UCLA women’s softball team (55-6) will play host to Northern Iowa (29-28) in an NCAA regional playoff series this weekend. The teams will play at 3 p.m. Friday and at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Sunset Canyon field on campus. A third game, if necessary, will follow Saturday’s first game.
The Bruins, who won their third consecutive Pac-10 championship this season, have won the past two NCAA championships and five of the past seven national titles. They have also won 25 of their past 26 games.
UCLA is led by senior pitcher Lisa Longaker, who is 18-1 with 11 shutouts and an ERA of 0.47. Longaker was named the Pac-10 player of the year, the third time she has won the award.
Yvonne Gutierrez leads the Bruins with a .393 average, 64 hits, 78 total bases and five triples. She is second with 23 RBIs.
Freshman utility player Lisa Fernandez leads the pitching staff with a 0.28 ERA. She is second to Gutierrez in hitting with a .310 average.
If UCLA wins two of three from Northern Iowa, it will open play in the NCAA tournament on Wednesday at Oklahoma City.
The UCLA men’s and women’s crews will compete Saturday and Sunday in the Pacific Coast Championships on Lake Natoma near Sacramento.
The Bruin women, who have lost to only top-ranked Princeton this season, are seeded first over three-time defending champion Washington. The Bruin men, who have won three consecutive Pacific Coast titles, are seeded fourth behind Washington, Stanford and California.
The men’s champion will advance to the national regatta June 16 in Cincinnati. The women’s competition winner will row in the national championship on June 2-3 in Madison, Wis.
The U.S. Gymnastics Federation Western Regional Championships will be held at 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at UCLA’s John Wooden Center.
Among competitors will be UCLA’s Chris Waller, Brad Hayashi, Scott Keswick and Chainey Umphrey and former Bruin David St. Pierre. UCLA’s Waller won the horizontal bar title at this season’s NCAA meet, and Hayashi is the 1990 NCAA vault champion.
Others in the field include Trent Dimas of the University of Nebraska, who won the all-around title at a meet between the U.S. national team and East Germany in April, and Stanford star Conrad Voorsanger.