Smith named CCAA Player of the Week

    UCSD center fielder Matt Smith earned California Collegiate Athletic Association Baseball Player of the Week honors after his solid contribution to the Tritons’ three victories last weekend against Cal Poly Pomona.

    Courtesy of UCSD Athletics
    Matt Smith

    Smith, a Thurgood Marshall College senior and management science major, hit .779 (7-for-9) with two doubles and a triple for a 1.222 slugging percentage, seven walks, five runs scored, two RBIs and five stolen bases. He also made eight putouts in the outfield without an error.

    Though this is the third time that Smith has been named CCAA Player of the Week, he remains modest and insists that it is his team as a whole that makes the UCSD program a success.

    “”While it is always an honor to be recognized, there are plenty of guys on the team who deserve recognition,”” Smith said. “”Every day, different guys, in all aspects of the game, have stepped up. I would definitely have to turn the recognition around, back to my teammates.””

    UCSD head coach Dan O’Brien recognizes Smith’s contribution to the team over the course of his Triton career.

    “”Matt is an outstanding all-around baseball player,”” O’Brien said. “”He is a leader on this team by the way he competes and how he goes about the game.””

    The four-year starting outfielder also attributes his successful play as a Triton to consistency.

    “”During the time that I have been at UCSD, I’d like to think that my play has been fairly consistent,”” he said. “”The experience and having been in different baseball situations as the years have gone by continually makes me feel more comfortable in the games.””

    Smith definitely appeared to be comfortable on Feb. 16 in Pomona for a 6-3 win in the first game of the doubleheader. Smith was a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple, a walk, a stolen base and a run scored. In the second game, Smith singled and scored the game-winning run in a four-run sixth inning in which UCSD surpassed the Broncos and won 8-5. Smith went 1-for-2 in the second game of the doubleheader with two walks, three runs and three steals. He has reached base safely in his last 10 consecutive at-bats.

    “”Matt is a clutch player,”” O’Brien said. “”He is the guy we want at the plate in clutch situations, and he showed that this weekend against Cal Poly Pomona.””

    The Tritons won three out of four games this weekend, breaking their five-game losing streak.

    “”As a team we established a plan,”” Smith said. “”We knew what we wanted to do and what we had to do [to win]. [This weekend], we wanted to do it the right way. We have a philosophy that puts pressure on the other team. We got back to the basics, and we therefore could compete at a higher level.””

    UCSD faces CSU San Bernardino on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21 at Triton Baseball Stadium, and then travels to San Bernardino to take on the Coyotes in a doubleheader on Feb. 22.

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