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Pepperdine Hands Reins to Sanchez

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Moving swiftly and staying locally, Pepperdine named Frank Sanchez on Thursday to replace Pat Harrison as baseball coach.

Sanchez, 43, has been the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at USC under Coach Mike Gillespie since 1987 and he coached Hart High from 1982-86, leading the Indians to four consecutive league championships.

Harrison resigned last week after two seasons to become coach at Mississippi. The Waves were 69-38-1 under Harrison.

“I am confident that Frank will be an outstanding head coach and lead our program to continued success,” Athletic Director Wayne Wright said. “Frank has extensive experience and is a proven recruiter in Southern California.”

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Under Sanchez, Trojan pitchers have been selected All-Pacific-10 Conference 10 times and All-American six times. USC qualified for postseason play nine times in the past 10 years.

Now his attention turns to Pepperdine, which finished second in the West Coast Conference last season.

“There are obvious similarities [between Pepperdine and USC], but the main difference is Pepperdine’s location,” Sanchez said. “It’s an attractive setting, a huge plus.”

Recruiting will be paramount because only a few proven players return, led by junior left-hander Randy Wolf, currently pitching for the U.S. Olympic team, and senior closer Eric Brubaker. Wolf is 16-4 with an 2.09 earned-run average in two seasons and Brubaker has a college record of 10-3 with nine saves.

Second baseman David Matranga (.292) and outfielders Josh Oder (.322), Chris Cosbey (.292) and Pedro Loza (.243) return. Oder and Cosbey were second-team WCC selections.

Pepperdine defeated USC both times the teams played last spring.

“Fundamentally they are a good group, both in pitching and on defense,” Sanchez said. “Wolf, especially, is such an impressive player.”

Sanchez, who lives in Newhall with his wife and two children, has not decided on his assistants.

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