Tritons Walk Off With Championship

    UCSD opened the tournament against fourth-seeded Cal State Dominguez Hills on May 7, and came out on the winning side of a 2-1 pitchers’ duel. The Tritons followed up the low-scoring affair with a 16-1 dismantling of the second-seeded Seawolves on May 8, before the two teams met again in the championship game.

    With the sun beating down in over 100-degree weather, the Tritons sent sophomore Tim Shibuya to the mound against Cal State Dominguez Hills to start their playoff push.

    Shibuya blanked the Toros in the first five frames while UCSD’s lineup scored two runs in the second inning off a sacrifice fly from junior outfielder Robert Sedin and an RBI single from junior shortstop Vance Albitz.

    The Toros spoiled UCSD’s shutout with a run in the sixth, but both teams were held scoreless over the final three innings, allowing the Tritons to take the 2-1 victory.

    Both teams recorded nine hits but had trouble driving in their baserunners. Shibuya pitched seven innings of seven-hit ball to earn his seventh win on the season and sophomore closer Guido Knudson recorded a two-inning save ‘mdash; his ninth of the year.

    ‘Our pitching staff was dominant on Thursday,’ Imeson said. ‘Dominguez Hills has a few very good hitters and we did not let those guys beat us.’

    Advancing to the winners game against Sonoma State, UCSD came out with something to prove after dropping games to the Seawolves in the regular season and previous years.

    ‘We were determined to boat-race Sonoma State,’ Imeson said. ‘After several years of having them beat us, we came out with a desire to make a statement. We knew we were facing a soft throwing lefty, so we focused on driving the ball the other way.’

    The Tritons’ approach paid off; UCSD scored in each of the first five innings, including six runs in the fifth, to take a 10-0 lead. Senior Trevor Decker pitched a complete game, allowing only one run while the offense scored six more times in the 16-1 blowout.

    Albitz, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, went 4-for-7 with four RBIs and a home run. Redshirt junior utility Brandon Gregorich also recorded four hits and a homer, driving in six runs.

    Following their defeat, the Seawolves earned a rematch with UCSD in the championship game after pulling out a 10-9 win over Cal State Los Angeles in an elimination game.

    Facing the Seawolves for the second time in as many days, UCSD sent junior Kirby St. John to the mound looking for the Tritons’ second-ever CCAA Tournament Championship.

    After jumping to a 1-0 lead in the first, UCSD added two more in the fourth, taking advantage of a Sonoma State error. The Seawolves answered back in the fifth inning against St. John, using a two-out two-RBI double to bring them within one run.

    Holding on to a one-run advantage in the eighth, Gregorich doubled to center field, scoring on sophomore outfielder Kyle Saul’s homer, which gave the Tritons a three-run lead.

    The Seawolves answered back with five hits off two Triton pitchers, scoring four runs to take the lead before redshirt sophomore reliever Daniel Simmons came into the game for UCSD to record the third out.

    ‘As a team we were determined to not let Sonoma State’s rally mentally dominate us,’ Imeson said. ‘Obviously there was a little shock and disappointment at first, but … after we got back in the dugout, we fully believed we could take the lead back.’

    Leading off in the ninth, Lee took care of business right away, tying the game with a solo home run to right.

    ‘We pride ourselves in answering back anytime a team scores against us,’ O’Brien said. ‘We’ve done it throughout the season and the guys are used to doing it.’

    With one out, Albitz and senior third baseman Josh Tanner singled to put runners on first and second. Imeson stepped up to the plate and closed the door on the Seawolves with a walk-off single that plated Albitz.

    ‘In my last at-bat I knew all I needed to do was get a base hit,’ Imeson said. ‘I knew the pitcher was in a pressure situation and would not be able to completely control his pitches. I took advantage of his weakness and my hit luckily found some outfield grass. It was a great comeback and something I will always remember.’

    Readers can contact Janani Sridharan at [email protected].

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    BASEBALL ‘mdash; Controlling the game with a three-run lead entering the ninth inning, the No. 4 Tritons looked to their closer to record the last three outs against Sonoma State University, well on their way to the team’s first California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament Championship since 2005.

    But the Seawolves sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the ninth, plating four to take a 7-6 lead. Down to their last three outs, the Tritons rallied to score the tying run on junior catcher Kellen Lee’s solo opposite-field home run before senior second baseman Garrett Imeson’s walk-off single crowned UCSD as the champion.

    ‘It was a great day for the program,’ head coach Dan O’Brien said. ‘Championships are hard to come by and it’s something the guys will have for the rest of their lives.’

    After capturing the regular-season conference title the previous weekend, the first-seeded Tritons took the CCAA Tournament crown with a 8-7 come-from-behind victory over Sonoma State on May 9 in Palm Springs, Calif. With the win, the Tritons earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA West Regional, and will face Cal State Dominguez Hills in Keizer, Ore., on May 14.

    UCSD opened the tournament against fourth-seeded Cal State Dominguez Hills on May 7, and came out on the winning side of a 2-1 pitchers’ duel. The Tritons followed up the low-scoring affair with a 16-1 dismantling of the second-seeded Seawolves on May 8, before the two teams met again in the championship game.

    With the sun beating down in over 100-degree weather, the Tritons sent sophomore Tim Shibuya to the mound against Cal State Dominguez Hills to start their playoff push.

    Shibuya blanked the Toros in the first five frames while UCSD’s lineup scored two runs in the second inning off a sacrifice fly from junior outfielder Robert Sedin and an RBI single from junior shortstop Vance Albitz.

    The Toros spoiled UCSD’s shutout with a run in the sixth, but both teams were held scoreless over the final three innings, allowing the Tritons to take the 2-1 victory.

    Both teams recorded nine hits but had trouble driving in their baserunners. Shibuya pitched seven innings of seven-hit ball to earn his seventh win on the season and sophomore closer Guido Knudson recorded a
    two-inning save ‘mdash; his ninth of the year.

    ‘Our pitching staff was dominant on Thursday,’ Imeson said. ‘Dominguez Hills has a few very good hitters and we did not let those guys beat us.’

    Advancing to the winners game against Sonoma State, UCSD came out with something to prove after dropping games to the Seawolves in the regular season and previous years.

    ‘We were determined to boat-race Sonoma State,’ Imeson said. ‘After several years of having them beat us, we came out with a desire to make a statement. We knew we were facing a soft throwing lefty, so we focused on driving the ball the other way.’

    The Tritons’ approach paid off; UCSD scored in each of the first five innings, including six runs in the fifth, to take a 10-0 lead. Senior Trevor Decker pitched a complete game, allowing only one run while the offense scored six more times in the 16-1 blowout.

    Albitz, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, went 4-for-7 with four RBIs and a home run. Redshirt junior utility Brandon Gregorich also recorded four hits and a homer, driving in six runs.

    Following their defeat, the Seawolves earned a rematch with UCSD in the championship game after pulling out a 10-9 win over Cal State Los Angeles in an elimination game.

    Facing the Seawolves for the second time in as many days, UCSD sent junior Kirby St. John to the mound looking for the Tritons’ second-ever CCAA Tournament Championship.

    After jumping to a 1-0 lead in the first, UCSD added two more in the fourth, taking advantage of a Sonoma State error. The Seawolves answered back in the fifth inning against St. John, using a two-out two-RBI double to bring them within one run.

    Holding on to a one-run advantage in the eighth, Gregorich doubled to center field, scoring on sophomore outfielder Kyle Saul’s homer, which gave the Tritons a three-run lead.

    The Seawolves answered back with five hits off two Triton pitchers, scoring four runs to take the lead before redshirt sophomore reliever Daniel Simmons came into the game for UCSD to record the third out.

    ‘As a team we were determined to not let Sonoma State’s rally mentally dominate us,’ Imeson said. ‘Obviously there was a little shock and disappointment at first, but … after we got back in the dugout, we fully believed we could take the lead back.’

    Leading off in the ninth, Lee took care of business right away, tying the game with a solo home run to right.

    ‘We pride ourselves in answering back anytime a team scores against us,’ O’Brien said. ‘We’ve done it throughout the season and the guys are used to doing it.’

    With one out, Albitz and senior third baseman Josh Tanner singled to put runners on first and second. Imeson stepped up to the plate and closed the door on the Seawolves with a walk-off single that plated Albitz.

    ‘In my last at-bat I knew all I needed to do was get a base hit,’ Imeson said. ‘I knew the pitcher was in a pressure situation and would not be able to completely control his pitches. I took advantage of his weakness and my hit luckily found some outfield grass. It was a great comeback and something I will always remember.’

    Readers can contact Janani Sridharan at [email protected].

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