Pepperdine’s Aaron Brown shines on mound, outfield

Posted Sunday, Jun. 08, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The play of the day went down in the eighth inning with TCU trailing 3-2.

Jerrick Suiter, who had just pulled the Horned Frogs to within a run of Pepperdine with an RBI single, was on second with two outs when Keaton Jones singled to shallow center field.

Suiter came home trying to tie the game but was thrown out when Aaron Brown made a perfect throw to catcher Aaron Barnett.

Suiter tried leaping over Barnett, but was tagged out on the thigh to end the inning and preserve Pepperdine’s lead.

The Waves held on for the 3-2 win to force a Game 3 at 3 p.m. Monday at Lupton Stadium. The winner earns a berth in the College World Series.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said he agreed with Suiter getting the green light from third base coach Bill Mosiello.

He also thought Suiter made the right move to attempt to avoid the tag instead of plowing into the catcher.

“We have some crazy rules in college baseball and that’s a hard play to practice,” he said.

“So many times you see the flagrant stuff. It’s easy to look back and say that he should have gone through the catcher. But it’s not exactly something you can practice at any time.”

TCU will play as the visitor in Monday’s finale after losing a pre-series coin flip. Schlossnagle isn’t fazed by that, either.

“Those are the rules,” he said. “In 2010, we weren’t a national seed and we were the home team twice. That’s part of it.

“We’ve won regionals in that dugout. We’ve won conference tournaments in that dugout. That’s no big deal. We get to hit first.”

All-around Brown

One of the nation’s top two-way players, Brown, does everything for Pepperdine, save washing the team’s laundry.

Brown left Sunday’s contest after throwing seven shutout innings on 119 pitches. In the eighth, he threw out the potential tying run at home from center field.

“I wish I could say which one was better [seven innings or the throw], but once you’ve coached him for three years, you get to see that on a daily basis,” Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez said.

“Once it was hit to center, I said we have a chance. It just mattered about the hop and catch and tag.”

Brown worked out of trouble multiple times and left with a 1-0 lead.

“We had our opportunities early in the game to get a lead. I don’t know if the quality of our at-bats were bad or if you tip your cap to the pitches that Brown made,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s a competitive guy. [He’s a] third-round pick as an outfielder, [but] he looks like an awful good pitcher to me. He pitched with better command with three pitches than we had seen on video. To me, he’s the story of the game.”

Key stat

23 Innings pitched for Brown in the postseason with only one earned run allowed. He’s 3-0.

Rare Morrison loss

TCU’s Preston Morrison lost for the first time since losing to Texas Tech on March 22.

His command wasn’t as strong as usual, he said, but the right-handed junior still held Pepperdine to two earned runs on five hits through 62/3 innings. The Waves had one run on just three hits until the seventh.

“I thought my stuff was pretty good. Not my best,” said Morrison, who dropped to 9-4. “Definitely not my best day command-wise either. I felt like I made a good amount of pitches but they were able to have some good at-bats against me.”

Quotable

“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 it is anything else.” — TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle

“It’s postseason baseball and when you get two teams like that playing as hard as they are, everyone knows what’s on the line. It’s just great baseball to watch.” — Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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