No. 8 Tritons Split the Series Against Cal State LA
The UCSD baseball team moved up in the NCAA Division-II Rankings to No. 5 in the country this past week, but dropped three spots to No. 8 after it split the series with Cal State Los Angeles. The Tritons currently hold a 16–4 overall record and are 5–2 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.
Last Thursday night, Cal State Los Angeles took down the Tritons, 3–2, in game one of the four-game series during an 11-inning showdown between the two top CCAA South teams. Both teams now hold a 4–1 record in conference play as Cal State Los Angeles handed the top-ranked Tritons their first conference loss of the season.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fifth, as the Tritons took the lead, 1–0; senior outfielder Gradeigh Sanchez brought the first run of the game home with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in deep right field, easily scoring on junior infielder Vince Mori from third.
Cal State Los Angeles responded in the bottom of the fifth as they matched the Tritons with one run, leading off the inning with a base hit to left. After two quick outs, they managed to scrape together another hit on a 0–2 count. With runners on second and third, Triton freshman starting pitcher, Kyle Lucke balked, giving the Eagles an easy run and tying up the ballgame.
The game remained tied at 1–1 through nine full innings, resulting in extra innings. Finally, at the top of the 11th, the Tritons rallied to push a run across and junior outfielder Jack Larsen reached base due to a fielding error by the left fielder and advanced to third, as the Eagles made two more errors on the play. Larsen then scored on a passed ball, giving the Tritons a 2–1 lead. But the Tritons couldn’t manage to score again in the inning.
The Eagles began the bottom of the 11th with a leadoff walk. After their next batter flew out to center, they managed to squeeze a base hit through the left side, putting runners on first and second with only one out. Triton freshman relief pitcher, Cameron Kurz, struck out the next batter and, with only one out standing between the Tritons and their eighth-straight victory, the Eagles hit a two-out, bases clearing double for the win. The Golden Eagles defeated the Tritons 3–2 in walkoff fashion.
Five Triton pitchers combined for ten walks on the night, but Jack Rupe was credited with the loss, giving up two runs in the bottom of the 11th. Eagles junior pitcher Ralph Ramirez, earned the win as he went eight complete innings, giving up only one run to the powerful Triton offense.
The Tritons evened the series with Cal State Los Angeles as they won 7–3 at Triton Ballpark. UCSD’s senior starting pitcher Alon Leichman earned the win throwing 6.0 complete innings as he allowed three runs, two of those runs earned on eight hits. Sanchez and junior outfielder Brandon Shirley had the clutch hits for the Tritons both resulting in two runs each.
Cal State Los Angeles scored first in the top of the second during a two-out rally that consisted of three consecutive hits by the Golden Eagles; Leichman managed to get out the damage as he only allowed one run to score. The Tritons responded immediately as Mori led off the bottom of the second with a base hit up the middle. Mori then advanced to third after an error by the left fielder as he dropped a fly ball hit by freshman first-baseman Tyler Durna. Junior infielder J.D. Hearn followed Durna with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Mori from third to tie the game.
Mori came up clutch in the bottom of the third inning for the Tritons after the Eagles pitched around sophomore first-baseman Justin Flatt to load the bases with one out. Mori then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, bringing in junior infielder Tyler Howsley from third base.
The Eagles strung together a couple of hits resulting in a run during the top of the fourth inning.
UCSD quickly responded as Sanchez hit a bases clearing triple, scoring two more runs for the Tritons and making the score 4–2.
The Eagles scored once more in the top of the sixth, marking the end of Leichman’s outing. The Tritons continued to manufacture runs, scoring once in the bottom of the sixth and twice more in the bottom of the seventh as Shirley hit a bases-clearing single down the right field line. Cal State Los Angeles’ defeat evened the series and earned the Tritons their 15th victory of the season.
The Tritons took a tough loss against Cal State Los Angeles, 9–1, after Cal State Los Angeles scored all nine of its runs in the eighth inning of the ballgame to get the win. Freshman left-handed pitcher Preston Mott threw the first seven innings of the game, holding the Eagles to only one run on five hits. UCSD had a season-low four hits on the day as the Tritons scored their only run of game on junior outfielder Christian Leung’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, which brought Larsen home from third. Although the Tritons scored first, they failed to execute in clutch moments as they left eight runners on base. The Eagles had a total of six hits in their big eighth inning and were able to take advantage of three errors by the Tritons’ defense and five walks issued by five different Triton pitchers during the inning. Freshman right-handed pitcher Erik Amundson was credited with the loss and junior Cal State Los Angeles pitcher Justin Davis earned the win.
“We might get beat, but we’re gonna put up a fight,” UCSD Head Coach Eric Newman told UCSD Athletics heading into the final game of the series.
The Tritons won the final game of the series, 6–5, to earn the split against Cal State Los Angeles. UCSD had a big first inning of its own, scoring five runs. Sanchez began the inning with a five-pitch walk, and then the trouble started for the Golden Eagles. Three big hits by the Tritons along with three errors made by Cal State Los Angeles in the first inning allowed the Tritons to take an early lead; sophomore infielder Tyler Plantier had a two-run double to get things started. Mori and sophomore catcher Steven Coe had the other two hits in the first inning, as they both had base hits to center field. The Tritons’ sixth and final run came in the third inning as Coe hit a basehit to right field, allowing Shirley to score easily from second base after he hit his third double of the season. The Golden Eagles began their comeback in the bottom of the third inning; they scored three runs off the Tritons’ starting pitcher, freshman left-handed pitcher Brett Bell. They scored one more in the bottom of the sixth inning off of our relief pitcher, senior left-handed pitcher Eric Moerson, making the score 6–4 as the Tritons headed into the final inning of the ball game. UCSD failed to score in its final plate appearance, allowing the home team an opportunity to make a comeback. Cal State Los Angeles then scored its fifth run of the ballgame on a throwing error by Hearn, but freshman right-handed pitcher Kyle Mora got the Tritons out of the inning for the win.
The Tritons look ahead to playing another split-venue four-game series against CCAA South opponent Cal State Dominguez Hills beginning on Thursday, March 10. The game is set for 6 p.m. in Triton Ballpark.