2002 a new year

    After a dismal 14-34 overall record during the 2001 season, the UCSD men’s baseball team has room for improvement this spring. The Tritons hope to make a full rotation and achieve success with a handful of key returning players and several new additions to the team.

    Guardian File photo

    Over the course of 48 games last season, UCSD never experienced a winning streak longer than three games, which the Tritons accomplished only once. The team did have six different stretches where it lost at least three games in a row.

    “”It was a challenging year for the baseball program,”” said UCSD head coach Dan O’Brien about the past spring.

    If the Tritons want to gain respect and be a force in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the team will have to improve on last year’s 7-28 record.

    Looking at his team for this upcoming season, O’Brien is excited about the talent he has on the roster.

    “”We have an excellent combination of returning players, as well as one of the best recruiting classes ever at UCSD,”” O’Brien said.

    To anchor the five-man pitching rotation, the Tritons will have senior John Beaven and junior Alex Cremidan return to the team. Last season, Beaven went 4-8 and had an earned run average of 4.91 in 88 innings pitched. Cremidan, who is recovering from surgery, had a record of 2-4 with a 6.29 ERA, but O’Brien believes Cremidan will be able to deliver a solid season for UCSD on the mound.

    In addition to Beaven and Cremidan, seniors Chad Addison, Ryan Larson and Tyler Sullivan, as well as junior Matt Smith, will return to the Triton team. Larson was named the team’s most valuable player last year, and he led UCSD with a batting average of .410. Addison, Sullivan and Smith were all among the team leaders in batting.

    “”We did lose a couple of guys from last year’s team,”” O’Brien said. “”But most of our big impact players will be returning.””

    Joining the Tritons on the field will be senior Keith Smith, who transferred to UCSD from UC Riverside last summer.

    Along with Smith will be freshman Keith Hernandez. O’Brien is pleased to have Hernandez playing for the Tritons this season because he will start as a shortstop, a position that was a major problem last year.

    The Tritons have 56 games on the schedule this spring, and each one is of equal importance.

    Beaven noted the mentality of team.

    “”We’re trying to keep everything on an even level,”” he said. “”One thing we are trying not to do is build up one game over another.””

    O’Brien wants his team to improve in every aspect of the game, but the Tritons have set a common goal to help themselves focus throughout the season.

    “”We want to stay more consistent,”” Beaven said. “”Last year, we were up there with the rest of the division talentwise, but we lacked the consistency. In a league as competitive as ours, we need to stay consistent. If we can do that, we should be able to compete with anyone.””

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