Warriors Pound No. 19 Tritons

    After taking three out of four games against league rival No. 4 Chico State to improve its record and ranking, the No. 19 UCSD baseball team only managed one win in four games against unranked California Collegiate Athletic Association opponent Cal State Stanislaus from March 31 to April 2.

    Danai Leininger/Guardian
    The Tritons were outscored 44-7 in a four-game series against Cal State Stanislaus, in which they lost three out of the four matchups.

    Not only did the Tritons go 1-3 in their games against the Warriors to lose their first conference series of the season, all three of their losses were by margins of 10 runs or more. In the final game on April 2, Warrior pitcher Ryan McGrath shut out the Tritons. McGrath allowed only five hits and a walk while striking out five in his first win of the season. While the Triton bats were struggling, the Warriors had no problem putting runs together, scoring 10 on 10 hits.

    Runs came easily to the Warriors all weekend. In the four-game series, the Warriors put together 44 runs, compared to UCSD’s seven. Thirty-one of the Warriors’ runs came in their other two wins, an 18-1 killing on March 31 and a 13-1 beating on April 1.

    “It was one of those weekends where we couldn’t do anything right,” junior catcher David Morehead said. “Both our pitching and our hitting just couldn’t get the job done.”

    The 18-1 series-opening game started with the Warriors scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning behind RBI singles by rightfielder Tony Marx, catcher Chris LeBoeff and leftfielder Brett Gordon. The offensive outburst continued as the Warriors went on to score four more runs in the third inning, two in the fourth, four in the fifth, one in the seventh and another four in the eighth for good measure.

    While the Warrior bats were largely responsible for the 18-run explosion, all five UCSD pitchers used in the game gave up earned runs. Freshman right-hander Trevor Decker started the game, but put away only one Cal State Stanislaus batter while giving up three earned runs on four hits before giving way to junior southpaw Todd Gimenez, who sat the next two Warrior batters down to end the inning. However, Gimenez was not as dominant over the next four innings, giving up 10 earned runs on 11 hits and a walk.

    Gimenez left after the fifth inning, allowing freshman left-hander Jon Durket to take a shot at quieting the Warrior bats. Durket fared the best out of the Triton pitchers, giving up one run on three hits over two innings. Sophomore right-hander Nick San Filippo came in for Durket, but provided no relief, instead hitting his first batter, who came around to score. San Filippo was pulled without recording an out. Senior Brendan Kruse came in to close out the game and gave up three runs, two earned, in his one inning of work.

    While the Triton pitching was abysmal in three of the games versus Stanislaus, a stellar outing from senior southpaw Jose Navarro gave UCSD its lone win in the series on April 1. Navarro allowed three runs in seven innings to pick up his sixth win of the year. He allowed seven hits and three walks, but struck out more than one batter per inning with 10 for the game.

    Navarro’s gem would have been for naught without first baseman Matt Cantele’s impressive afternoon. The freshman, who has been a bright spot for the Tritons all year and serves as a good reason to expect big things out of UCSD baseball for years to come, went 3-for-3, including two doubles, with two runs scored and three RBIs.

    The 1-3 record in the series drops the Tritons to 20-15 overall and 11-9 in CCAA play. The losses should force the Tritons lower than No. 19 in the nationwide rankings, a tier they reached thanks to their impressive stretch of games from March 9 to 27. The team took two out of three games from No. 7 Cal State Los Angeles before splitting a two-game series against nonleague opponent Grand Canyon University. The Tritons went on to host then-No. 13 Cal State Stanislaus and took two out of three games before going 3-for-4 against the No. 4 Wildcats at home. However, this disappointing series should raise the Warriors back into the top 25 and move the Tritons back down.

    “We came in [to the series] on a pedestal coming off the big series against Chico,” Morehead said. “We got knocked off it pretty quick after that first 18-1 loss.”

    The Tritons will have a chance to redeem themselves and prove that they belong among the top-tier teams in Division-II baseball when they face Cal Poly Pomona for four games, two at home and two on the road, from April 6 through 8.

    Although Pomona is unranked, the team is a member of the CCAA, a distinction Morehead said counts for more than people think.

    “Especially in our conference, there are no weak teams,” Morehead said. “As you can tell from the Stanislaus series, any team can beat any team in the CCAA.”

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