Tritons Split Trolley Series With Rival Aztecs

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Image by Millie Root for The UCSD Guardian

Luke Reyes, Senior Staff Writer

Last Monday, UC San Diego men’s baseball (21–12, 10–4 Big West) hosted San Diego State University Aztecs (13–18, 8–4 Mountain West) for the first match of a two-game series between these crosstown rivals. The Tritons entered Monday’s contest looking to sustain their strong play and build on their three-game winning streak after sweeping UC Davis the weekend before. The Aztecs’ season has been average thus far, as they entered the series under .500 and were looking to get back on track by snapping their three-game losing streak with an upset in La Jolla. 

 

In the top of the first inning, SDSU quickly got off to a strong start as they hit a solo shot into the opposite field to lead things off. The SDSU offense was able to put some more pressure on the Tritons by putting an additional two runners on base, but UCSD was able to limit the damage and entered the bottom of the first down only 1–0. In the following inning with two runners on base and one out, the Tritons offense retaliated with an RBI single by freshman second baseman Ryson Ujimori, knotting up the score at 1–1. Both sides remained scoreless for the following five innings with both bullpens doing a solid job of shutting down the opposing lineup, but in the top of the eighth with one on and two outs, SDSU was able to break through with an RBI double to break the tie. The following at-bat, they hit another double to bring the baserunner home and put the Aztecs up two. 

 

UCSD was unable to answer back in the bottom of the eighth, and the Aztecs were able to tack on another run in the top of the ninth. Down 4–1 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Tritons found themselves facing an uphill battle. With two on and one out, UCSD’s redshirt junior outfielder Luke Glascoe was able to put the Tritons on the board for the first time since the bottom of the second as he hit an RBI single to cut it to two. The next at-bat, the Tritons loaded the bases on a walk, and the following at-bat redshirt freshman designated hitter Patrick Hackworth was hit by a pitch and the Tritons were able to bring a run home. With the bases still loaded the following at-bat, Glascoe scored on a wild pitch from third, tying the game at 4–4. 

 

The improbable comeback had put the Tritons in an outstanding position. Not only were they about to send the game into extra innings, but they also had a chance to go for the win. After getting an intentional walk following the score, sophomore third baseman Matt Halbach hit a walk-off single to bring senior infielder Jalen Smith home. The Tritons completed their ninth-inning rally in spectacular fashion and came away victorious, winning the game 5–4. 

 

On Tuesday, both teams faced off for part two, but this time at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Aztecs jumped on the board first at the bottom of the second with a deep sac fly. The score remained 1–0 until the bottom of the sixth when the Aztecs hit a solo blast to put SDSU up by two. In the top of the eighth, UCSD secured the game as junior outfielder Brock Kleszcz hit a shot down the left field line to bring redshirt junior infielder Crew Robinson home. Later in the inning, freshman first baseman Brandon Larson came in to pinch hit and scored Kleszcz on an RBI single, tying the game at 2–2. 

 

In the bottom of the eighth, the Aztecs broke the game open with a strong offensive rally, scoring three runs and causing the Tritons to have to find some ninth-inning magic for a second straight game. Unlike the night before, UCSD was unable to score in the top of the ninth and wound up losing Tuesday’s game 5–2. Despite the loss, the Tritons still hold a strong record and are giving their fans plenty to be excited about this season thus far. 

 

Following their series at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, the Tritons will be back home from April 21 to April 23 for a weekend series against UC Santa Barbara.