Photo Courtesy of UCSD Athletics
In the second game of a four-game series versus the California State Polytechnic University Pomona Broncos, the UC San Diego Tritons took care of business, defeating the Broncos 7–6. With the win, the Tritons move to 7–0 through the year including 2–0 in conference play. Senior starting pitcher Brandon Weed of UCSD, reigning California Collegiate Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year, and freshman starting pitcher Cameron Mabee of Cal Poly Pomona both started off strong, however, the bats came alive for each team in the middle innings. A late rally and a season-high 14 hits from the Tritons ultimately locked things up for the gold and blue.
After an early first-inning rally by the Broncos, Cal Poly Pomona took a 1-0 lead off the bat of senior infielder Brennan McKenzie, who tripled to center. Groundouts dominated innings until the bottom half of the fourth inning when the bats came alive. Mabee was showing great poise through the early innings, forcing Triton hitters into bad at-bats while sporting an uber-efficient 36 pitches through three innings. But the freshman was in for a rude awakening in the fourth when Auburn University transfer and senior third baseman Everett Lau kicked off the inning with a single which was shortly followed by a 3-run homer off the bat of redshirt junior catcher Aaron Kim — who already has 2 longshots through seven games — and put the Tritons ahead 3–1.
Cal Poly Pomona responded quickly, however, as junior outfielder Nick Pefier’s 2-run double cut the score to 4-3 in the fifth inning. Later that inning it seemed UCSD would extend its lead as hits from junior infielder Shay Whitcomb and Lau loaded the bases. But the Broncos went to their bullpen and junior reliever Steven Ordorica came in clutch, striking out consecutive batters to close the inning.
Freshman relief pitcher Jacob Domeier held his own against the Cal Poly Pomona batters through most of the middle innings until the Broncos found their rhythm in the eighth. Thanks to 4 timely hits including a two-out, full-count double from sophomore outfielder Dante Palacio, the Broncos tied it up 6, knotting the score at 6 apiece. Sophomore pitcher Michael Mitchell of UCSD came in relief and was able to stop the bleeding.
Despite the blown lead, the Tritons came right back the very next inning as junior outfielder Anthony Lucchetti answered the call with a bases-loaded single up the middle to put UCSD back on top. The following inning, Mitchell retired three Broncos in a row to end the game and claim the victory.
Head coach Eric Newman was proud of the way his team battled back to win the game in the fashion they did while also noting that going forward, the team will “need to be more sure with the ball” as the Tritons recorded two errors in the game.
Lau was a big help offensively as the Auburn transfer had his best game so far in a Tritons uniform, going 4-5 at the plate including 2 runs. Coach Newman says Lau is going to be a “really good addition for the team” with the “elite defense he’s been playing for us” and “will only continue to get better throughout the year.”
Looking ahead, UCSD, 7-0, will travel up north next week to take on Sonoma State University in a four-game series next week.