Tritons down 2-1 to Wildcats

    In its final home series of the 2004 season, the UCSD baseball team took on California Collegiate Athletic Association powerhouse Chico State April 23 through April 25. The Tritons took the series opener, 5-4, after senior first baseman Keith Albrecht knocked the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. UCSD then proceeded to drop both ends of a doubleheader on April 24 by scores of 5-4 and 5-3, respectively.

    The Tritons, now 18-17 in the CCAA and 29-21 overall, find themselves in a pressing position. Currently, they sit one game out of fifth place, behind San Francisco State University, with whom UCSD had been tied before the April 23 through April 25 competitions. In order to contend for a playoff berth, UCSD is in a must-win situation in game four against Chico State and throughout the April 30 through May 2 series against Cal State Stanislaus.

    Albrecht lifted the Tritons to victory in the series opener against Chico State to cap off his stellar performance. Albrecht went 3-for-5 in the game with two runs scored and an RBI. His three hits included a pair of singles to opposite fields and the game-winning home run in the 10th inning.

    Junior second baseman Ricky Pinocchio and junior designated hitter Joel Clark each went 3-for-5 and scored a run for UCSD.

    The opening win snapped the Tritons’ seven-game losing streak, stretching back to 2001, against the Wildcats.

    In the doubleheader on April 24, UCSD exploded in the first inning and went up, 3-1, over Chico State through three innings. The Wildcats then added two runs to tie the game at three runs apiece.

    Albrecht singled through the left side to open the fifth inning and scored the go-ahead run for the Tritons. UCSD clung to a 4-3 lead until the top of the ninth inning, when the Wildcats’ offense awoke and scored two runs on four hits to finally outscore the Tritons, 5-4.

    Continuing his strong series, Albrecht went 2-for-4 in the game with two runs scored. Pinocchio also went 2-for-4 and scored a run while senior outfielder Brett Burton and freshman catcher David Morehead each had two hits. Junior third baseman Alex Gascon went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the game.

    UCSD sophomore closer Ryan Leake, who had earned the win after entering the game in the 10th inning on April 23, took the loss for the Tritons in the first game of the doubleheader and fell to 6-3 on the season.

    In the nightcap, the Tritons put up a run in the bottom of the second to move ahead 1-0, but the Wildcats had a three-run third inning and never looked back. Chico State proceeded to tack on two more runs when rightfielder Jay Hyland launched a two-run home run to right field. UCSD came back with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the sixth, but it would not be enough to overtake the Wildcats.

    Chico State improves to 34-16-1 overall and 21-12-1 in the CCAA. It sits in second place behind Cal State San Bernardino in the standings.

    The Tritons must step up their level of play in their next five games to remain in contention for a berth in the 2004 playoffs. It would be UCSD’s first trip to the postseason since its move to Division II.

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