UCSD take game one of the series against Northern Colorado


Jake Lannon, Senior Staff Writer

UC San Diego baseball faced off against the University of Northern Colorado in their first game of a three-game series at the Triton Ballpark on Friday. With 240 people in attendance, the Tritons (6–6) delivered a high-scoring affair against the Northern Colorado Bears (2–11). Despite struggles with the weather and rain delays, UCSD was able to put up a season-high of 17 runs. UCSD’s strong performance did not mean Northern Colorado’s offense would be quiet, as they put up 10 runs of their own in this game where both teams combined to score an incredible 27 runs. It was an entertaining game for the fans in the stands and an electrifying game for the hitters on both sides. 

UCSD started off on defense, with sophomore starting pitcher Ryan Focucci swiftly delivering a scoreless 1st inning. The Tritons picked up their bats at the bottom of the 1st, but they were unable to deliver any runs for the only time this game. The 1st inning ended scoreless; however, in the 2nd inning, the bats on both sides came alive. Northern Colorado scored 3 runs off of multiple hits within the inning. The Tritons were forced to bring in senior pitcher Michael Mitchell, who was able to shut down the Bears as they headed into the bottom of the 2nd where the Tritons needed to respond. The Tritons led off the inning with a single to right field from senior catcher Emiliano Gonzalez. This single was eventually able to set the Tritons up to have runners on all bases where a walk scored the first. With the bases loaded, senior infielder Michael Fuhrman hit a pop fly to right field, which scored the Tritons’ 2nd and last run of the inning, culminating in a scoreline of 3–2 through 3 innings. 

The top of the 3rd was silent as the Tritons shut down the Bears. The Tritons were able to pick up where they left off in the 2nd, scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the 3rd. A single from Gonzalez tied the game up for the Tritons and kept 2 runners on base at first and third. This set up junior outfielder Brock Kleszcz for a three-run home run, putting the Tritons at 6 runs. Following this homerun, freshman infielder Patrick Hackworth delivered a triple and later scored to put the Tritons in the lead at 3–7 heading into the 4th inning. Northern Colorado was able to respond with a run but was quickly shut down by pitcher Mitchell. The Tritons went right back up to the plate and scored another 3 runs pushing their lead even further to 4–10. Once again, in the 5th inning, Northern Colorado was able to put up a run, getting themselves within 5 runs of the Tritons at 5–10. The Tritons were once again able to respond to Northern Colorado, scoring 2 runs off of multiple singles. The 5th inning concluded at a 5–12 scoreline. 

The 6th inning for both sides was quiet with zero runs scored. The 7th was another electric inning where Northern Colorado was able to put up 5 runs and pull within 2 runs of UCSD. Freshman first baseman Brandon Larson wouldn’t be denied as he started the inning off with a home run. Later in the inning, the Tritons were able to get runners on base and score another run, pushing their lead to 4 at a scoreline of 10–14, heading into the 8th inning. The Tritons went back out on defense and shut down Northern Colorado’s offense, pushing the Tritons closer to winning this game. They went back up to bat and scored another 3 runs at the bottom of the 8th, pushing their lead to 7 at a score of 10–17. The Tritons then closed the game out in the top of the 9th, winning the first game of a three-game series against Northern Colorado. 

The Tritons’ relief pitcher, Mitchell, got his first win this season with heavy run support from the bats. The exciting offensive provided for an extremely exciting day of baseball, but the Tritons will surely hope for a more controlled game on the pitching side going into the rest of the series. Also, Emiliano Gonzalez set a Triton Division 1 record for the most hits in a game, racking up 5 hits and finishing 1 hit shy of the all-time record.

The Tritons claimed their sixth win of the season on Friday afternoon and, due to rain delays, will play Northern Colorado in a double-header on Sunday. The Tritons’ next game will be played against UC Riverside at Triton Ballpark on Tuesday, March 14 at 6 p.m..

Photos by Erika Johnson for The UCSD Guardian