POMONA, Calif. - Five UC San Diego baseball players were named to 2014 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II All-West Region teams late last week. Troy Cruz and Nick La Face made the first team, with Erik Lewis and Justin Rahn on the second team and Justin Donatella on the third. Each squad consisted of 14 standout performers across the region.
This is the first NCBWA postseason all-region honor for each of the five Tritons.
A fifth-year senior catcher and designated hitter from North Hollywood (Notre Dame HS), La Face is at or near the top of the CCAA charts with single-season bests in almost every offensive category. He hit .347 with 42 runs, 21 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 54 RBI and a single-season school-record 47 walks. La Face is first in the league in doubles, triples and walks, second in runs, RBI, on-base percentage (.486) and slugging (.539), and eighth in average.
Cruz, a San Diego native from Chula Vista (Bonita Vista HS), was the only Triton to start all 54 games, with 37 at third base, 13 on the mound and four as the designated hitter. The sophomore dual threat batted .326 with a 2.90 ERA over a team-best 87.0 innings on the hill with an 8-3 record and one seven-inning shutout among four complete games. Cruz led the Tritons with nine stolen bases, and added 33 runs, 11 doubles, three triples and 39 RBI.
Lewis (Upland/Damien HS) just completed a spectacular first season in a Triton uniform after transferring in from Fullerton College. The junior appeared in all 54 games, with 53 starts at second base, and is atop the CCAA by 14 runs scored over teammate La Face with 56. Lewis led UCSD with a .359 batting average and 70 hits. He paces the league with a .490 on-base percentage, and is second after La Face with 42 walks, fourth in hits and RBI (41), and fifth in batting.
Rahn (Cupertino/Monta Vista HS) hit .345 with 13 doubles, two triples, a team-best four home runs, 51 RBI and 35 walks. Like Lewis, he appeared in all 54 games, with 53 outfield starts in either left or right. Rahn is third in the CCAA in RBI, walks and on-base percentage (.459), tied for fifth in runs and home runs, tied for sixth in doubles, seventh in slugging (.490) and ninth in batting.
In his first season in the rotation, Donatella (Saugus/Saugus HS) was 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA over 11 starts and 73.0 innings pitched. The sophomore right-hander had 59 strikeouts, and opponents hit just .226 off of him. His eight wins tied for third in the CCAA. He was also tied for seventh in strikeouts and ninth in ERA. Donatella went 7-1 with a no-decision in his nine CCAA starts as the Tritons’ ace.
Cruz, La Face and Lewis were each on the same day named to the Daktronics All-West Region First Team as well, with Donatella on the second team. All four of those Tritons were All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) First Team picks, with Rahn on the second team.
Chico State, Dixie State and Central Washington joined UCSD with a region-high five players selected in all by the NCBWA.
As NCBWA All-West Region first-teamers, Cruz and La Face are now eligible to be voted NCBWA All-Americans in the coming weeks.
The 14th-ranked Tritons completed their stellar 2014 campaign this past Sunday at 38-16 and as the record sixth-time CCAA tournament champions. UCSD fell to league rival Chico State, 3-1, in the final of the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship West Regional held at Triton Ballpark.