Baseball splits two with CSULA

The UCSD baseball team returned to San Diego on March 2 to complete its four-game series with CSU Los Angeles. The day before, the Tritons dropped the first two games of the series in the doubleheader against the Golden Eagles in Los Angeles by scores of 6-5 and 5-2.

Jake Mumm
Guardian file

The doubleheader against CSULA at Triton Baseball Field on March 2 attracted over 200 fans. UCSD split the doubleheader, winning the first game 12-5, but dropping the final game of the series 3-2 to the Golden Eagles.

In game one, down 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth, the UCSD bats awoke and put up four runs on four hits to regain the lead. Triton second baseman Nigel Miller singled through the left side, and center fielder Matt Smith reached on a fielder’s choice. Right fielder David Hawk singled to third base, and left fielder Brett Burton then singled to right field, scoring both Miller and Smith. Shortstop Keith Hernandez doubled to right center, plating both Hawk and Burton.

Again in the sixth, UCSD scored an additional three runs off of doubles from Smith and first baseman Jeff Riddle. The Tritons added another insurance run in the bottom of the eight to secure the 12-5 victory.

“”This team now knows that if they prepare themselves to play, and they play well, they will give themselves a good chance to win,”” said UCSD head coach Dan O’Brien.

UCSD freshman pitcher Byron Grubman (3-0) went six innings and struck out five CSULA batters to earn his third victory of the season. Junior transfer pitcher Trent Crotts gave up just one hit in three innings of relief and earned his first save as a Triton.

Miller went 3-for-4, including a double and four runs scored, and Hawk went 3-for-5 with a double. Hernandez went 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. Both Hernandez and Burton drove in three runs apiece.

UCSD hurler Alex Cremidan took the hill for the Tritons in the second game of the doubleheader. Cremidan went four innings, giving up just three hits and a single run.

Both teams scored single runs in the third inning. CSULA scored on a solo home run by catcher Rafael Arroyo, his second shot of the year. The Tritons managed to push across designated hitter John Bologna after he led off the inning with a single to third base.

UCSD scored again in the bottom of the fourth on a string of three singles from Hernandez, left fielder Damian Fante and Bologna.

CSULA countered in the fifth when center fielder Mike Miller hit a solo home run off of Triton reliever Tyler Smith.

For the second time in the series, the Golden Eagles scored in the final inning of the game to snatch the victory from the 14th-ranked Tritons. CSULA’s Miller singled to left center, and shortstop Richard Balcazar tripled down the right field line, driving in the game-winning run.

Tyler Smith falls to 1-1 for UCSD, while Cameron Gianetti improves to 2-2 for the Golden Eagles.

Hernandez went 3-for-3, Fante went 2-for-2 and Bologna went 2-for-3 in the game.

“”We didn’t come ready to play [this game], and we are finding ourselves on the losing end of ball games,”” O’Brien said. “”The bottom line is that we made too many mistakes against a good team to be successful in the win/loss column. You just can’t make that many mistakes and expect to be successful. The week before, we had a great series and we really played well. We played much better than we did against CSULA the week before.””

On March 4, the non-conference baseball game between UCSD and crosstown rival Point Loma Nazarene at Triton Baseball Field was suspended due to rain. The Tritons held a 4-3 lead with Point Loma up to bat in the top of the fifth inning. The umpires suspended the game and the contest could not be resumed. The game will be rescheduled and will pick up in the top of the fifth inning with the Crusaders up to bat and a runner on first base.

From the weekend series, UCSD falls to 11-8 overall, 8-4 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and is now tied for first place in the CCAA with CSULA, which improves to 9-9 overall, 8-4 in the CCAA.

UCSD plays eight road games before returning to Triton Baseball Field on March 15. On March 5, UCSD faces Division I USD, and then travels to Arizona to take on Grand Canyon in a four-game CCAA series from March 7 to March 9.