Triton baseball loses final league series

    After losing three of four games to visiting CSU Stanislaus this weekend, the Triton baseball team will need a lot of help from other California Collegiate Athletic Association teams in order to qualify for the playoffs.

    Rachel A. Garcia
    Guardian

    The Warriors took the opener with ease, beating the Tritons 9-5. UCSD jumped out to a two-run lead in the bottom of the first inning when Triton third baseman Matt Merrifield knocked in his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left-center field, to put UCSD on the board. Stanislaus retaliated and put up single runs in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, to go ahead. Then in the seventh, the Warriors put up five runs on three hits to clinch the first victory after the first five batters of the inning reached base. UCSD put up three runs in the seventh to counter Stanislaus’ power, when catcher Matt Kennison smacked a three-run home run to left field, plating right fielder Brett Burton and second baseman Nigel Miller, who had both singled through the right side.

    UCSD freshman pitcher Byron Grubman picked up the loss and fell to 7-2 on the year.

    Triton shortstop Keith Hernandez, Merrifield and Miller each had two hits in the game.

    Rachel A. Garcia
    Guardian

    On April 26, the Warriors took game one of the doubleheader against the Tritons. With multiple lead changes in the game, UCSD was unable to pull out the victory. This time, it was two CSU Stanislaus players who knocked in home runs to give the Warriors the victory. Warrior second baseman Kyle Dennis hit his first home run of the season to knot the game at one run apiece. The Tritons put up two unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth after Hernandez led off with a double to right center field. In the top of the fifth, Stanislaus’ Jeren Livernois sent his fourth home run of the season to right field. Down 4-3 in the seventh, the Warriors added two runs and pulled ahead of the Tritons to earn their second win of the series, 5-4.

    Triton freshman pitcher Justin Suarez picked up his fourth loss of the season and is now 0-4.

    Up until this point, the UCSD baseball team had been on an 11-game losing streak.

    “”It was a tough weekend because we didn’t play well,”” said UCSD head coach Dan O’Brien. “”We needed to play solid baseball and we didn’t. The team we played was beatable but we ended up beating ourselves rather than having Stanislaus come down to our place and beat us, which makes for a frustrating weekend.””

    In game two of the doubleheader, the third of the series, UCSD finally put up a mark in the wins column and beat CSU Stanislaus in extra innings. After the Warriors scored twice in the top of the second inning, the Tritons came back and cut their lead in half when third baseman Alex Gascon doubled home Kennison. The Warriors tied the game in the top of the seventh inning, sending the game into extra innings. UCSD pitcher Alex Cremidan sat down all three Stanislaus batters in order in the top of the eighth. The Tritons earned their first victory when Kennison singled home Miller.

    UCSD senior pitcher Alex Cremidan earned his second victory of the season and improved to 2-2 overall.

    Kennison went 2-for-4 and Gascon went 2-for-3 with two doubles. Merrifield also had a double in the game.

    In the crucial series closer, Stanislaus blew out UCSD 14-7. The Warriors put up runs in six out of nine innings, including four runs in the top of the second and three in the top of the ninth. For the Tritons, Burton launched his fifth home run of the year to right field, driving in two runs. Stanislaus racked up 16 hits combined off of UCSD pitchers Andy Holloway, Logan Boutilier and James Sanders.

    For the Warriors, right fielder Scott Neal and designated hitter Marc Duvall each had three hits in the game.

    Tritons Burton, center fielder/left fielder Damian Fante and Hernandez each notched two hits apiece.

    UCSD pitcher Boutilier picked up the loss for the Tritons and fell to 2-1 on the season.

    The three losses drop UCSD into fifth place in the CCAA standings. Only the top four teams in the league qualify for the postseason.

    “”We might back our way into playoffs,”” O’Brien said. “”We as a group do not feel worthy of playoffs because we have not been playing playoff baseball, but this team has the capability to play well should that happen.””

    Now with a CCAA record of 19-19, UCSD must wait and see what happens in league play this upcoming weekend. Not only do the Tritons need Grand Canyon to sweep CSU Stanislaus, but they also need CSU San Bernardino to beat San Francisco State, and league-leader Sonoma State to outplay CSU Los Angeles, if a playoff berth is in the future.

    UCSD played its final home game of the 2003 season at Triton Baseball Field on April 29, a nonconference matchup against Biola University. Biola beat out the Tritons 5-3 on Senior Day. A special ceremony recognized all nine seniors and their contributions to the UCSD baseball program.

    For now, UCSD baseball awaits its destiny.

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