Aaron Brown keeps Pepperdine alive in super regional

Pepperdine's Hutton Moyer slides home safely after a sacrifice fly by Manny Jefferson in the seventh inning against Texas Christian on Sunday.
(Richard W. Rodriguez / McClatchy-Tribune)

Pepperdine’s Aaron Brown beat Texas Christian with his arm — from the mound and the outfield.

Brown pitched seven scoreless innings, then made a game-saving throw from center field and the Waves held on for a 3-2 victory Sunday night. They forced a deciding third game, to be played Monday at 1 p.m. PDT, in the NCAA Fort Worth super regional for a spot in the College World Series.

“Aaron Brown was obviously outstanding, all over the field,” Texas Christian Coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “To me, he’s the story of the game. As [Texas] Coach [Augie] Garrido says, sometimes when you lose it’s not your fault. I think it’s more about Aaron Brown today than anything else.”


Brown (13-1), the West Coast Conference pitcher of the year and a third-round draft pick last week by Philadelphia as an outfielder, won his 10th consecutive decision. The left-hander gave up five hits, struck out four and walked two. He threw 119 pitches.

After he was done on the mound, reliever Chandler Blanchard allowed four of the six batters he faced to reach base. The Horned Frogs had scored twice, one run coming on two throwing errors on the same play, before Keaton Jones singled to center field.

Brown fielded the ball and cut down the potential tying run at the plate to end the eighth inning. Jerrick Suiter was tagged out trying to dive over catcher Aaron Barnett.

“As soon as I saw it hit to center, we had a chance,” Coach Steve Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t surprise me. That’s just what kind of athlete he is.”

Brown got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning with consecutive strikeouts.

Pepperdine (43-17) has been to the CWS twice, and won the national title in 1992, its last trip. Rodriguez was an All-American infielder for the Waves that season.

Texas Christian (46-16), the No. 7 national seed, had its winning streak ended at 10 games and lost for only the fourth time in its last 35 games. The Horned Frogs played in their only CWS four years ago.


Brandon Caruso had two run-scoring hits and Hutton Moyer scored twice for Pepperdine. Eric Karch worked a perfect ninth inning for his 16th save.

After Moyer scored on Manny Jefferson’s flyout in the seventh inning, Caruso’s double made it 3-0.

Preston Morrison (9-4), the Big 12 Conference pitcher of the year, struck out six batters in 62/3 innings. He gave up three runs and five hits.

Sophomore right-hander Jackson McClelland (8-3) will start for Pepperdine on Monday and Texas Christian will counter with freshman left-hander Tyler Alexander (10-3), who has given up only six runs in his last seven starts and has consecutive complete-game victories.

“Winner take all, what else can you ask for as a college baseball fan,” Rodriguez said. “This is one of the best opportunities for our guys, for myself, our coaching staff, TCU, Coach Schlossnagle. It’s just an amazing experience.”