Baseball begins conference play

    The UCSD baseball team finally opened confrence play this weekend in California Collegiate Athletic Association action against San Francisco State, after having been rained out against Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State San Bernardino in the preceding weeks.

    The Tritons (6-2 overall, 2-1 CCAA) made a late run to earn the series’ first victory, 7-6, on Feb. 25. The two teams split the doubleheader Feb. 26, with the Tritons taking game one, 16-4, and the Gators (5-9 overall, 2-7 CCAA) inching out the nightcap, 5-3. Results of the series’ fourth and final game were not available by press time.

    In the opener, UCSD junior outfielder David Gomez was the hero. Gomez went 3-for-4 and had three RBIs including a game-winning two-out single to left field that plated senior outfielder Ryan Langone for the Triton victory.

    After falling behind 6-2 through eight and a half innings of play, the Tritons rallied and scored four times in the bottom of the eighth and once in the ninth to pull out the win and defeat San Francisco State, 7-6. UCSD junior pitcher Ryan Leake (2-1) pitched a scoreless ninth inning and was the winning pitcher.

    The Tritons carried their momentum into the Feb. 26 doubleheader against the Gators with an overwhelming 16-4 victory in the first game.

    UCSD senior hurler Logan Boutilier (3-0) threw a stellar ballgame and went the distance for the Tritons for the second straight game, allowing just nine hits, no earned runs and one walk, while striking out four.

    Offensively, UCSD jumped out to an early lead and scored five times in the first inning and three times in the second to go ahead, 8-0, after two. With the Tritons ahead 13-1, the Gators’ centerfielder Carlos Medina hit a three-run home run to make it 13-4.

    In the bottom of the sixth inning, Gomez came through again for UCSD and hit a two-run home run to extend the lead. The Tritons tacked on an additional run before the end of the inning.

    In the seven-inning nightcap, the bottom of the first inning and the top of the sixth inning summed up the game. The Tritons scored three runs in the first when with two outs in the first inning, sophomore catcher David Morehead, senior second baseman Ricky Pinocchio and senior third baseman Alex Gascon notched base hits to give UCSD a 3-0 lead. That score held up until the sixth inning.

    The Gators rallied, with their first seven batters of the inning reaching base safely on a single, walk, single, walk, double, error and walk. At inning’s end, San Francisco State pushed across five runs to take the 5-3 lead.

    The Tritons attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, but the effort would not be enough. With one out, junior centerfielder Matt Lawson walked and advanced to second on senior designated hitter Joel Clark’s groundout. Senior shortstop Keith Hernandez singled with two outs, putting runners on the corners. Morehead then hit into a fielder’s choice, ending the game.

    UCSD springs back into CCAA action March 4 and March 5 with three games against Cal State Los Angeles (1-2 CCAA, 2-2 overall) at Triton Baseball Stadium. The first pitch is slated for 2 p.m. on March 4, while the doubleheader on March 5 will begin at 11 a.m. Last season, the Tritons met the Golden Eagles four times, splitting both doubleheaders.

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