UCSD baseball drops three of its last five games

    The UCSD baseball team met California Collegiate Athletic Association foe Cal Poly Pomona in league action Feb. 26 through Feb. 29. The Tritons took game one of the series, 5-1, while the Broncos inched out the victory in game two, 3-1. In the twin bill on Feb. 28, UCSD put up 10 runs in the fourth inning and routed the Broncos, 15-5. The second game of the nightcap was suspended due to darkness and was later completed with the Broncos earning the victory, 4-2. On March 2, the Tritons suffered a 7-3 loss to University of San Diego.

    David Ung
    Guardian

    “We’re a good baseball team, but it’s time for this group to step up, to make the decision that they are not going to be outplayed anymore,” UCSD head coach Dan O’Brien said. “I know they have it in them.”

    Including the weekend series and the game against USD on March 2, the Tritons are now 12-8 overall, 5-5 in the CCAA.

    Triton junior hurler Logan Boutilier took the hill for UCSD in game three. Boutilier went seven innings and improved to a perfect 4-0 on the year.

    UCSD junior second baseman Joel Clark proved to be a solid force in the Triton offensive scheme. In the opener of the doubleheader on Feb. 28, Clark finished 3-for-6 with a double, one run scored and seven RBI, including five in the 10-run fourth.

    “Joel understands what it takes to be successful,” O’Brien said. “He’s a winner, and his leadership between the lines will make others around him better.”

    Down 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Clark made the Broncos pay for intentionally walking junior rightfielder Ryan Langone to load the bases in front of him, stroking a two-out, base-clearing double to right-center to give UCSD the 3-1 advantage.

    The Tritons unleashed their offensive power in the bottom of the fourth inning. Fifteen UCSD players batted in the inning as the Tritons notched 10 hits and 10 runs in the frame. Clark had a two-run single with the bases loaded early in the inning before adding another bases-loaded single with two outs later to score two more. Junior third baseman Alex Gascon had a big three-run double in the inning as well.

    Gascon went three-for-four with four RBI and two runs scored. He doubled twice. Senior catcher Jeff Riddle was the third Triton with three hits, as he went 3-of-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Junior shortstop Keith Hernandez, senior first baseman Keith Albrecht and junior designated hitter Josh Saunders added two hits apiece. Langone, Hernandez, Albrecht, Saunders and senior center fielder Brett Burton all scored two runs each.

    In game two of the series on Feb. 27, Cal Poly Pomona pitcher Efran Lira threw a two-hit complete game and struck out 14 UCSD batters.

    UCSD sophomore hurler Jose Navarro gave up just one run through four innings. In relief, junior pitcher Justin Allred went three innings and gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the loss, Allred falls to 2-2 on the season.

    In game one of the series on Feb. 26, UCSD sophomore pitcher Byron Grubman threw his second complete game of the year. Grubman allowed just five hits without walking a batter, while striking out seven. Similar to his previous nine-inning effort, in which he retired the final 19 batters in order after allowing a single third-inning run, he finished strong, getting 10 successive outs to shut the Broncos down. He improved to 2-1 on the year, while Bronco pitcher Jose Muñoz suffered his first defeat, falling to 3-1.

    Offensively, Riddle smacked a two-run home run, which accounted for UCSD’s final pair in the seventh inning. The homer was his team-leading third of 2004.

    Langone, Clark, Gascon and Albrecht each had a pair of hits for UCSD. Both of Langone’s hits were doubles for a team-best eight on the year. Gascon’s two-run single in a three-run sixth inning gave UCSD the lead for good.

    After the weekend series, UCSD took on Division I cross-town rival University of San Diego on March 2. The Tritons tied the ballgame with three runs in the top of the seventh, but USD put up four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to earn the victory, 7-3.

    For UCSD, Hernandez finished a perfect 4-for-4, including a double and two RBI.

    UCSD jumps back into CCAA action with a four-game series against Cal State Dominguez Hills March 4 through March 6. The Tritons and Toros will play a pair of single games at 2:30 p.m. at Triton Baseball Stadium on March 4 and March 5. The teams will then head to Carson, Calif. for a noon doubleheader at Toro Field on March 6.

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