Triton baseball wins its first conference series of season

    After multiple days of postponement due to rain, UCSD took on Cal Poly Pomona in its first California Collegiate Athletic Association conference games of the year on Feb. 15 in a doubleheader at Triton Baseball Field, followed by another doubleheader on Feb. 16 at Cal Poly Pomona’s Scolinos Field.

    Jake Mumm
    Guardian file photo

    The Tritons took three of four from the Broncos this weekend. Cal Poly took the first game, 5-2, but UCSD fought back and won the next three games 10-3, 6-3 and 8-5, respectively.

    UCSD came out flat in the first game against the Broncos, scoring just two runs on seven hits in the game. Triton hurler Alex Cremidan (1-2) gave up 11 hits and five runs in eight innings.

    UCSD freshman pitcher Jose Navarro (1-2) took the mound for the Tritons in the second game. Navarro threw a complete game and earned his first collegiate victory on Feb. 15.

    The Tritons put up runs in five different innings, including three runs in both the third and sixth innings. In the sixth inning, Matt Smith doubled to left center field, followed by a double by junior third baseman Keith Albrecht and a single from first baseman Jeff Riddle.

    Shortstop Keith Hernandez went 2-for-3 in the game and had a career-high three stolen bases in the Tritons’ first CCAA win. Albrecht went 2-for-2 on the day, including a double, and drove in four runs for UCSD in his first start of the season.

    “”We finally realized that we were starting to play league games, and that in itself has a different intensity to it,”” Albrecht said. “”We didn’t really feel that intensity in the first game today, but we did feel it in the second game.””

    UCSD pitcher Raf Bergstrom threw out the first pitch for the Tritons in the first game of the doubleheader at Pomona. Bergstrom went 5.2 innings. Triton pitcher Byron Grubman came on and threw 3.1 innings of hitless relief, earning him his first victory of the year.

    Tied at three runs apiece after six innings, UCSD left fielder Damian Fante led off the seventh with a single to left field. Later in the inning, Riddle smacked a two-run triple to bust the game open and help secure the Tritons’ 6-3 victory over the Broncos.

    Bologna went 2-for-4 with four stolen bases in the game and Matt Smith went 3-for-3 with a triple and a stolen base.

    Triton pitcher James Sanders took the hill in the second game. Sanders went four innings and then Tommy Sereno (1-0) finished out the fifth inning to earn the win. Sophomore UCSD pitcher Tyler Smith came on in relief and pitched two innings of solid baseball, striking out four Broncos and earning the save for the Tritons.

    “”A lot of people stepped up for us today and took control,”” Sanders said. “”Our bullpen had an awesome day, and our defense stayed strong and made some great plays.””

    Down 5-4 in the top of the sixth, UCSD put together a four-run, two- out rally to clinch its third win of the series. Miller smacked a clutch home run to left field. The Tritons had a two-out rally, capped by a two-run home run by right fielder Brett Burton. UCSD took the nightcap 8-5 and improves to 5-5 overall and 3-1 in the CCAA.

    “”Our entire offense consisted of clutch, timely hits,”” Sanders said. “”It was a team effort where everyone did his part.””

    The Tritons had 12 stolen bases on Feb. 16, including five from Bologna and four from Matt Smith.

    “”If this team plays good baseball, as simple as it sounds, we will do well,”” said UCSD head coach Dan O’Brien . “”We have the talent, so if we play the game the way it should be played and execute, we will be a pretty good ball club.””

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