LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 24th-ranked University of California San Diego baseball team scored 10 runs on 10 hits in the fifth inning of a 14-2 demolition of Concordia University before having to settle for a split of Saturday's non-conference doubleheader at Triton Ballpark. The final score in the nine-inning nightcap was 4-1.
With the results, UC San Diego moves to 2-1. Concordia, from Portland, Ore., is now 1-2.
UCSD and Concordia conclude their four-game weekend series with a single finale on Super Bowl Sunday. First pitch at Triton Ballpark in La Jolla is set for 11 a.m. Parking is free. All home games can be viewed in high definition on UCSDtritons.tv.
Game One - UCSD 14, CU 2
Sophomore right-hander Kyle Mora (1-0) tossed five shutout innings, while fourth-year senior outfielder Christian Leung hit two home runs and drove in five runs as the Tritons cruised in the first game.
UCSD jumped right on the Cavaliers with a four-run first, as Leung made starter Ryan Caylor (0-1) pay for a pair of one-out walks by lifting a two-out, three-run shot over the wall in right. Brandon Shirley then also drew a free pass ahead of Steven Schuknecht's single to center, which put Tritons at the corners. Schuknecht broke for second in an effort to get in a rundown and enable to Shirley to score, but when the CU catcher sailed his throw into center field, both runners advanced for 4-0. It was Shirley's first steal of 2017, and Schuknecht's team-leading second.
The Tritons sent 14 to the plate in the huge fifth. JD Hearn led things off with an infield single and later added an RBI single. Jack Larsen laid down a perfect bunt single after Hearn's first hit, and with one away, Shirley ripped a ball into center that Andrew Barrera misjudged initially. The ball went over his head, and Shirley turned on the afterburners for a stand-up two-run triple.
Schuknecht dumped an opposite-field single into left center for his first career RBI. An infield error was followed by an RBI Steven Coe single, a single by Keenan Brigman, a Justin Flatt sacrifice fly, and Hearn's RBI single. After a pitching change, Larsen laced a two-run double into the right field corner. That's when Leung lifted his second blast well over the wall and inside the right field foul pole. Six of the 10 runs were unearned due to the lone Cavalier error.
Mora fanned three and allowed just an infield single and one walk, both with one gone in the fourth. He got out of that jam with a called third strike and a groundout. Mora retired the first six batters for starters, and also had a 1-2-3 fifth before exiting. Fellow sophomore right-hander Kyle Lucke set down all six he faced.
Defensively, Hearn made a strong throw from deep in his third base spot down the line in the first. Shirley tracked back on a deep ball to center in the second. Brigman, a redshirt freshman transfer from the University of the Pacific making his college debut as the starting second baseman, announced his arrival with a spectacular play in the third, diving behind the bag to his right to corral a sharply-hit ball and flipping from his knees to shortstop Tyler Howsley to turn a single up the middle into a fielder's choice groundout. Redshirt junior catcher Steven Coe (Valley Center/Valley Center HS) then chalked up his first caught stealing of the new season, and for the third out, Brigman charged in and made the accurate throw to first.
Shirley followed up in the fourth with a difficult basket catch running toward his left. Finally, freshman right-hander Ted Stuka athletically sprinted his 6-foot-7 frame right up against his own dugout in the ninth to snatch a foul popup.
Game Two - CU 4, UCSD 1
Junior right-hander Jack Rupe, Jr. (San Marcos/Mission Hills HS) tossed 4.0 shutout innings in his first start of 2017, but the Triton offense could not solve the CU tandem of Scott Schepige and James Brooks (1-0).
UCSD managed just five hits. The Tritons struck first with their lone tally in the fourth as Leung sent an opposite-field single into left center just one pitch after a check-swing call went in his favor to keep him alive to see a 3-2 offering. Junior Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/San Diego Mesa College/La Jolla HS) then followed with an RBI double that fell in front of a diving Conner Jackson toward the foul line after the leftfielder took a suspect angle on the fly ball.
Concordia tied the game in the fifth on back-to-back-to-back singles to begin the frame. To his credit, sophomore right-hander Jonah Dipoto, who had just come on for Rupe, Jr., wriggled out of the situation without any further damage.
The Cavaliers would go on to tally two more in the seventh, however, to grab the lead, and add an insurance score in the ninth. They finished with 12 hits, including four by rightfielder Mitch Bevacqua.
Redshirt sophomore right-hander Erik Amundson (0-1) was pinned with the loss after replacing Dipoto. Redshirt junior left-hander Travis Roberts needed one pitch to get Cole Crosby to ground out to end the seventh with a runner at second.
Brooks tossed 4.2 shutout frames for CU with four strikeouts.
White had a nice play in the eighth as he dove to his left and threw from his knees, with Tyler Durna providing the stretch to get leadoff man Justin Walsh just in time. White and Brigman actually started in middle infield and both flashed some leather in the very first frame. It was initially White with another diving stop to his left on the first pitch of the contest, but was just a touch late to retire Tanner Williams. Then shortstop Brigman made a tough play to turn a single into a fielder's choice.
Triton Notes: Tyler Howsley drew his 111th consecutive start, all at shortstop dating back to the 2015 opener, in Saturday's first game before coming off the bench in the nightcap to snap that streak ... UCSD's 10 runs in the fifth inning of game one was its most in a single frame since it tallied 11 in the ninth in a 17-3 win at SF State on April 18, 2014 ... The 14 runs were the Tritons' most since a 14-4 win to begin a doubleheader at Cal State Dominguez Hills on March 13, 2016 ... True freshmen Chad Crosbie and Ted Stuka, and redshirt freshmen Keenan Brigman, Blaine Jarvis and Nick Kitzmann, drew their college debuts on Saturday, with Brigman starting the first game at second base and the nightcap at shortstop ... Crosbie notched a double in his first career at-bat, with Brigman producing a pair of singles and a run scored in game one ... Stuka and Jarvis registered their first strikeouts ... Junior college transfers earning their UCSD debuts were Alex Eliopulos and Jesse Moore, both of them coming off the bench in game one before staring the nightcap at designated hitter and left field, respectively.