Baseball takes four from CSUSB

    The UCSD baseball team returned to Triton Baseball Field on Saturday to finish the last two games of a four-game series against Cal State San Bernardino.

    While on the road last week, the Tritons squeaked past the 14th-ranked Coyotes with a 6-5 victory Thursday followed by another nail-biting 4-3 win Friday.

    Thursday, Triton first baseman Chad Addison and Triton left fielder John Bologna each hit two-run doubles, and pitcher Keith Smith earned his third consecutive win on the hill for UCSD.

    In Friday’s game, the Tritons jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning. The Coyotes stormed back to tie the game with runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings. UCSD recaptured the lead when Triton catcher Tyler Sullivan scored off a double by shortstop Keith Hernandez.

    Pitcher Tommy Sereno picked up the win while Robert Peelle earned the save for UCSD.

    At home Saturday, the Tritons completely overpowered the Coyotes in two games, winning 15-3 and 13-1.

    During the first game of the doubleheader, UCSD designated hitter Jeff Riddle rocketed a two-run shot off Coyotes pitcher Matthew Rohr in the bottom of the first inning. It was Riddle’s third home run this season.

    In the second inning, San Bernardino’s Bill Bitonti hit a solo shot over the fence in center. In the top of the fourth, Cal State San Bernardino’s third baseman Rene Leon blasted the Coyotes’ second solo home run over the left-field fence. Rohr then hit a double off the center-field fence to pick up an RBI, tying the game at 3-3.

    With UCSD clinging to a 4-3 lead after five-and-a-half innings, Addison led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double to left center field. Hernandez then doubled to left, driving in Addison. Catcher Matt Kennison then hit the third Triton double of the inning, sending the ball to center field and scoring Hernandez on the play.

    The Tritons busted the game open in the seventh when they combined smart baserunning with powerful hitting. Center fielder Matt Smith led off the inning and reached second base on an error. Sullivan singled, and with runners at the corners, Jeff Riddle hit a Texas leaguer to center field that dropped in the gap and scored Smith. Addison was then hit by a pitch to set up runners at the corners again.

    Hernandez smacked a line drive to center, scoring pinch runner Philip Bretsch on the play. Right fielder David Hawk lined a single to center, knocking in another run and then second baseman Anthony Lococo doubled to center scoring Hernandez. This four-hit, six-run rally put the Tritons up 12-3 at the inning’s end.

    “”We hit forever and took advantage of their pitching mistakes, and that is what we plan on doing the entire season,”” Jeff Riddle said.

    UCSD pinch hitter Garret Riddle launched his first home run shot of the season to right field in the bottom of the eighth inning. Third baseman Ryan Larson singled, and Addison ripped a two-run shot over the right-field fence. It was Addison’s first home run of the season.

    “”We have a lot of offensive depth on the team this year that we lacked last year,”” Addison said. “”The key right now is to relax at the plate. When we press ourselves we seem to struggle, but when we relax and just have fun, the entire team is successful.””

    John Beaven (3-1) went six innings in the first game for the Tritons, striking out eight and walking three to pick up the win. Matthew Rohr (1-2) took the loss for the Coyotes.

    UCSD pounded 16 hits and scored 15 runs in the first game, then followed up with an 18-hit, 13-run barrage in game two.

    “”Our foundation hitting is contagious,”” said head coach Dan O’Brien. “”Three or four of our best hitters are really coming alive and that affects the entire squad’s performance.””

    Triton pitcher Alexander Cremidan (2-1) struck out seven and allowed just two hits over five innings to complete the sweep in the second game. Coyote pitcher Charles Rohr got the loss and fell to 1-1.

    UCSD’s offense exploded and scored 13 runs between the fourth and sixth innings to complete the four-game sweep.

    Triton third baseman Larson went 4-for-4 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and three RBIs. Right fielder Hawk went 3-3 with one run and two RBIs in the second game.

    In total, UCSD’s Larson and Sullivan each had five hits in the doubleheader. Addison had four hits, four RBIs and five runs scored.

    With the four-game sweep, UCSD completed its most successful weekend since moving up to Division II. It marked the first time the Tritons have won a majority of games in a four-game CCAA series.

    “”We wanted [the wins] more than they did,”” Addison said. “”After dropping the first two games to us at their home, they came here playing not to lose, whereas we came out to win.””

    With the doubleheader sweep, UCSD improves to 13-8-1 overall and 8-4 in the CCAA. Cal State San Bernardino falls to 10-9 overall and 5-6 in the CCAA.

    “”We have tried to play consistent baseball all year,”” O’Brien said. “”We’re emphasizing four main things: pitching, offense, defense and baserunning. When we put them all together, we win ballgames like we did this weekend. Everyone contributed to the wins this series; that is the sign of a good ball club.””

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