The seventh-ranked University of California San Diego baseball program rounds out a stretch of six straight weeks against California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) North Division opposition when it welcomes top-ranked rival Chico State into Triton Ballpark for a marquee three-game showdown. The Tritons (22-6, 14-4 CCAA) and Wildcats (27-5, 20-1 CCAA) first contest a doubleheader on Saturday, April 8, beginning at 1 p.m. Both games are scheduled for the regulation nine innings, with about a 30- to 40-minute break in between. Sunday's single finale starts at 12 p.m. Chico State is the reigning CCAA champion and preseason coaches' favorite. The Tritons are 13-3 at home in 2017.
For the third straight week, UCSD's series will pit two top-10 pitching staffs nationally in the NCAA Division II in terms of team ERA, with the 'Cats third (2.41) and Tritons eighth (2.72). They are 1-2 in the CCAA. The sides continue to maintain comfortable leads in their respective divisions, with the Tritons up 3.5 games over two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona (12-9), and the Wildcats a full seven games ahead of Cal State Monterey Bay (12-7). Chico State also holds a 4.5-game advantage over UCSD in the race for the top seed at the CCAA Championship, and thus the league's regular-season crown. This weekend, all six North squads visit the South for three-gamers, with six doubleheaders on Saturday and six single matchups on Sunday.
ADMISSION POLICIES FOR TRITON BALLPARK
General admission tickets to all regular-season home games at Triton Ballpark are $5. UCSD students are admitted FREE with valid identification. Dogs and other pets are not allowed, nor are coolers. UCSD Concessions is on site for all home contests.
Parking on the UCSD campus is free on weekends, but a permit is required for weekday contests. They can be purchased at the machine near the entrance to the Triton Ballpark parking lot. Please be aware of the danger of foul balls to your vehicle when parking.
UCSD home games at Triton Ballpark feature live online video at our streaming portal, UCSDtritons.tv. Local radio personality Ted Mendenhall (@TedMendenhall) is on the call for the Chico State series. Fans also have the option of listening online to longtime Wildcat play-by-play announcer and sports director at Chico's Newstalk1290 KPAY, Michael Baca (@KPAYBacaSports), through Stretch Internet here. Some road contests also have video. All games have live stats. Fans can access live coverage from the Schedule/Results page, or by clicking on the links above. Starting lineups, live between-inning updates and other in-game news and notes can be found by following Triton Baseball all season long on the UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons). Also be sure to follow the team @UCSDbsb. Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
TRITON BASEBALL ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
UCSD Athletics and local technology giant ViaSat bring you Triton Baseball on UCSDtritons.tv, an online streaming platform. All broadcasts are in high definition, and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets. Viewing is subscription-based, though it is free from UCSD campus IP addresses. A package that gives viewers access to all streamed events through the 2016-17 academic year is available for $34.99. A single-day option can be purchased for $5.99, meaning doubleheaders are two-for-one. The channel also carries all Triton home basketball and volleyball contests, a majority of soccer, softball and water polo games, and a variety of other home events featuring virtually every one of UCSD's 23 intercollegiate sports at least once. Events are archived.
Triton Ballpark on East Campus at UCSD was given a brand-new look outside the foul lines in 2015. Some of the main features of the extensive renovation included a permanent grandstand to seat just over 500, a press box, new sunken dugouts, an area for food trucks, and restrooms, among several other amenities. Read details here. Perhaps most significant is the Marye Anne Fox Clubhouse down the right field line, which was introduced to the players on March 17, 2015. The official Triton Ballpark re-opening and clubhouse dedication took place on April 10, 2015. View photo galleries from the ballpark construction, Opening Day and dedication.
UCSD was at No. 24 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II preseason top 40 (Dec. 21), and surged up to No. 7 in the first in-season edition on Feb. 27. The Tritons were a season-best No. 5 on March 20, and are No. 7 this week. They did not appear in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Perfect Game preseason listings, but are currently No. 15 and No. 16, respectively, in those polls. UCSD was No. 24 in the D2 Baseball News preseason ranking, and are up to No. 3 as of April 4. Regionally speaking, UCSD is listed No. 2 in the West by D2 Baseball News and No. 3 by the NCBWA.
|Tritons in the Polls|
|Publication||UCSD Rank||Date||Link||West||Chico State|
|Collegiate Baseball Newspaper||No. 7||April 3||Poll||N/A||No. 1|
|D2 Baseball News||No. 3||April 4||Poll||No. 2||No. 2|
|NCBWA||No. 15||April 4||Poll||No. 3||No. 1|
|Perfect Game||No. 16||April 5||Poll||N/A||No. 3|
TRITONS VS. 'CATS: PROJECTED ROTATIONS
Subject to change.
Saturday G1: So. LHP Preston Mott (6-1, 2.39 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Hunter Haworth (4-1, 2.75 ERA)
Saturday G2: Jr. RHP Jack Rupe, Jr. (0-1, 3.46 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Casey Costello (7-0, 1.04 ERA)
Sunday: RSr. RHP Adrian Orozco (5-0, 3.03 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Cam Greenough (5-0, 1.80 ERA)
TRITONS VS. 'CATS: SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE
Both UCSD and Chico State are unbeaten in a series during this 2017 season. The Tritons have eight wins and a shortened two-game split at Cal State East Bay. The Wildcats have seven victories and a four-game split in their previous trip this year to San Diego, at Point Loma for starters. The teams have three and six sweeps, respectively, with a remarkable four of the four-game variety for the 'Cats. Barring weather casualties, somebody will lose this three-game set.
TRITONS VS. 'CATS: BY THE NUMBERS
Chico State (2.41, .986) and UCSD (2.72, .971) are 1-2 in the CCAA in both pitching and fielding ... No team in the NCAA Division II has completed a season fielding at a clip of .980 or better since UCSD set a national record with a .984 mark back in 2010 ... Chico State paces all of Division II in fielding percentage, sacrifice bunts and WHIP (1.06) ... In fact, be ready for a lot of bunting this weekend, as Chico State (50) and UCSD (38) are also 1-2 in the CCAA in that category, with the Tritons fifth nationally ... Chico State paces the CCAA in runs (216), triples (13), hit-by-pitches (56) and shutouts (6) ... The 'Cats (74/81/220/73) and Tritons (75/100/228/81) have allowed the fewest and second-fewest earned runs, total runs, hits and walks in the conference.
TRITONS VS. 'CATS: MOST RECENTLY
UCSD swept a four-game set from Chico State in the 'Cats' last visit to La Jolla in 2015. Chico State took all three games of last year's series at Nettleton Stadium. The most recent matchup came on day two of the 2016 CCAA Championship last May 12 in Stockton, when JD Hearn tied the game with a two-run double to the wall in left center and scored the walk-off winner on Steven Coe's single, both on 1-2 pitches with two outs in the ninth inning. That kept the Tritons' season alive for one more day. The Wildcats went on to win their first CCAA tournament title since 2006 and gain the league's automatic entry into the NCAA West Regional.
FACING NO. 1
UCSD will be playing the top-ranked team in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll for the first time since 2009, when the No. 23 Tritons produced a four-game sweep over No. 1 Cal State Stanislaus at Triton Ballpark, March 13-15. Scores were 3-2 (11), 8-3, 6-0 and 6-5. UCSD last played a top-10 side a year ago, knocking off No. 10 Cal Poly Pomona, 6-2, in a non-conference meeting in La Jolla on Feb. 14.
LAST TIME OUT
UCSD rallied to win a three-game series for the third time in four weeks, at Stanislaus State. After allowing a four-run seventh and falling 6-3 in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, the Tritons used a five-run fourth and four innings of shutout relief out of winner Troy Cruz to take the nightcap, 8-5. Fellow fifth-year senior right-hander Adrian Orozco then provided a season-long 7.1 frames with seven strikeouts in a great start for a 7-3 triumph in Sunday's decider. Seniors Jack Larsen and JD Hearn each hit home runs. Tyler Durna produced three hits from the cleanup spot.
DURNA LOCKED IN
Sophomore first baseman Tyler Durna, the lone two-time CCAA Player of the Week (March 7 and March 28) thus far in 2017, has upped his batting average to a season-high .413 to lead the league. After beginning the year 1-for-11 to see that mark at .091, the Chino Hills native has really turned it on, going 32-for-69 (.464) with six doubles, five home runs and 20 RBI over the Tritons' last 19 games, all of them starts at first. He has reached base in all 19 and produced at least one hit in 18, including the last 14 straight for the top hit streak of his career and longest by a Triton so far in 2017. Durna had multiple hits in 10 of those 14 contests.
HOME SWEET HOME
UCSD is 13-3 in La Jolla in 2017. The Tritons reached 20 home wins for the second time under sixth-year head coach Eric Newman a season ago. The Tritons were 22-9 in La Jolla in 2016 and are 108-50 (.684) at Triton Ballpark under Newman.
LARSEN JOINS 200-HIT CLUB
Jack Larsen has appeared in 92 consecutive games, all of them starts in either right or center field. His third home run of 2017, a solo blast with two outs in the second inning of the March 17 doubleheader nightcap at SF State, gave him 200 hits for his four-year Triton career. Larsen, who has worn the No. 16 jersey throughout his days on the La Jolla campus, thus became the 16th player in program history to achieve that milestone. He now has 208 hits, 17 of them home runs. Larsen's first long ball of the year was a three-run shot at Concordia Irvine (2/11), pushing him over the 100 RBI mark. He now has 121. Larsen successfully stole second base on his first attempt of 2017 (2/12), to make him 21-for-21 in steals as a Triton, prior to finally getting caught for the first time in the fourth inning of a doubleheader nightcap against Western Oregon (2/16). He also leads the team with four outfield assists, increasing his career total to 17.
UCSD has yet to lose a series this season, having won eight and split one. The Tritons have sweeps over Western Oregon (shortened 2-0), Cal State San Marcos (4-0) and SF State (3-0). They began the year with back-to-back 3-1 series victories over Concordia (OR) and Concordia Irvine. UCSD also topped Cal State Monterey Bay and Sonoma State at home and Stanislaus State on the road, 2-1, all three after having lost game one. The lone split (1-1) came in a shortened series at Cal State East Bay.
TRITONS PERFECT IN AO STARTS
UCSD is 7-0 in Adrian Orozco starts, with five of them in series clinchers and three in rubber games. He has earned the winning decision in four consecutive starts, now at 5-0 on the year with a team-best 35 strikeouts. The Chula Vista product has gone at least 5.0 innings in every outing.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
UCSD is 22-2 in 2017 in games in which it scores three or more runs, after finishing the 2016 season at 30-6 in such contests. The Tritons won their first 16 games a year ago when tallying at least three, and first 13 this season prior to an 8-6 defeat to CSUMB in 10 innings on March 11. Conversely, they are 0-4 in 2017 when managing fewer than three runs. UCSD was 1-15 with two runs or less last season. The Tritons have produced five runs or more in 21 of their 22 wins in the current campaign.
MOTT EMBRACING ACE ROLE
Sophomore left-hander Preston Mott has parlayed his first career Opening Day start into a strong introduction as the Triton ace. He is 6-1 through nine outings after having gone 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA over a team-best 14 starts in his rookie campaign. The Clovis product has a 2.39 ERA over 49.0 innings, with 28 strikeouts against 17 walks. Opponents are hitting just .229. Mott extended a streak of consecutive complete shutout innings all the way to 22 from Feb. 3 to March 4. He is second in the CCAA behind only Casey Costello (7-0) of Chico State.
IRON MAN TY
Fourth-year senior Tyler Howsley has appeared in 137 consecutive games for UC San Diego, dating back to Opening Day in 2015. He had started 111 straight contests, all at shortstop, before coming off of the bench in the doubleheader nightcap with Concordia (OR) on Feb. 4. In the fifth inning of game one of the March 17 doubleheader at SF State, Howsley was credited with his first error since Feb. 5, snapping a string of 75 consecutive defensive chances handled cleanly. He is tied for second in the CCAA and sixth nationally with nine sacrifice bunts. Howsley's 30 career sacrifice bunts tie him with another great Triton shortstop, Vance Albitz, for the most in UCSD's Division II era (since 2001).
UCSD's starters' ERA over the opening weekend was a miniscule 0.47, as, in order, Preston Mott, Kyle Mora, Jack Rupe, Jr., and Adrian Orozco combined to allow a solitary earned run over their 19.0 innings pitched. Now through 28 games, the Triton starters' ERA stands at 2.51, with 39 earned runs over 140.0 innings and a 13-2 record.
UCSD has 22 home runs this season, including eight over the past five games. The Tritons rank second in the category in the CCAA, behind only Cal State LA's 26. Coming over just 28 games thus far, this is the most home runs by a UCSD squad since the Tritons blasted 25 over 50 contests in 2012. Tyler Durna and Jack Larsen share the team lead with five apiece, tied with three others for fourth in the CCAA.
UCSD AMONG STATISTICAL LEADERS
The UCSD pitching staff currently ranks eighth in the NCAA Division II in ERA (2.72), 21st in WHIP (1.26), 30th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.27), 35th in shutouts (3) and 41st in walks allowed per nine innings (3.08). The Tritons are fifth in sacrifice bunts (38), 10th in win-loss percentage (.786), 21st in sacrifice flies (18), 22nd in fielding percentage (.971) and 42nd in triples (10). UCSD leads the CCAA in scoring (7.0 runs per game), slugging percentage (.438) and sacrifice flies.
LOTS OF STRIKEOUTS
Redshirt senior Adrian Orozco's 12-strikeout performance on March 12 against visiting Cal State Monterey Bay, was the best of his career at any level. It was the most strikeouts by a Triton, and in fact the first double-digit output, since former All-American ace Justin Donatella also had a dozen in a home meeting with CSUMB on April 10, 2015. The total fell one shy of matching Donatella's single-game record for the program's Division II era (since 2001), from 2014. Four Triton arms combined for 16 punchouts against the Otters, the team's first double-digit effort of 2017 and most since another 16 in the 2012 opener in La Jolla against Western Oregon on Feb. 3.
NINE-GAME WIN STREAK
The 6-1 loss in game two of the March 4 doubleheader at Cal State East Bay snapped UCSD's nine-game win streak, its longest since a 19-gamer in 2011, from April 9 to May 13.
Fifth-year senior Troy Cruz made his return to the diamond in the Feb. 5 series finale with Concordia (OR). The 2014 All-American and three-time All-CCAA pick out of Chula Vista, who was limited to just three appearances in 2016 before being shut down due to injury, flamed through the top of the ninth inning, striking out the side before earning the win as UCSD rallied with three runs in the home half. Cruz threw just 12 pitches, nine of them for strikes. He picked up another winning decision in his second relief outing at Concordia Irvine (2/11). On Feb. 24, Cruz tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save since his freshman year back on Feb. 28, 2013. He added a second save with two shutout frames at Cal State East Bay (3/4), and wins at SF State (3/17) and Stanislaus State (4/1), the latter through four complete innings of scoreless relief.
MORE HAPPY RETURNS
During game one of the March 11 doubleheader against Cal State Monterey Bay, Kyle Goodbrand made his return to the mound, having been hit in the face by a hard liner in the Feb. 16 nightcap versus Western Oregon. He then tossed 3.2 no-hit frames, retiring 11 of 12 batters faced, again in relief at SF State (3/16), before notching his first winning decision as a Triton with five more shutout innings in a starting role versus Sonoma State (3/25). Fellow redshirt junior right-hander John Erhardt was on the active roster for the CSUMB series, but was not utilized. He took the hill at SF State for 0.2 innings in the finale (3/17), having made just two appearances, both starts, in 2016 before being shut down and eventually having Tommy John surgery. Erhardt was the Tritons' Opening Day starter a season ago. He had not pitched in a game since a short stint at Cal Poly Pomona on March 21, 2016.
BIG SERIES FOR SHIRLEY AGAINST SAN MARCOS
Fifth-year senior centerfielder Brandon Shirley went 10-for-19 and posted multiple hits in all four games of the Cal State San Marcos series, Feb. 23-25, scoring six times with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. He is currently hitting .286, leads the team with nine stolen bases in 11 attempts, and has handled all 66 of his chances cleanly in center, including three assists.
UCSD has one walk-off victory in 2017, courtesy of redshirt senior Brandon Shirley's two-out, two-run double to plate Chad Crosbie and Steven Coe on Feb. 5. It was Shirley's first career walk-off hit. Coe now has been involved in five, as the winning run in three, and the deciding hit in two.
• Feb. 5: UCSD 9, CU 8 (Watch)
Shirley walked off Concordia (OR) to clinch the season-opening series, his two-out, two-run double finding the base of the wall in left center and chasing freshman pinch-runner Crosbie home ahead of Coe from first for the winner. Coe's RBI single had moved the Tritons back within a run.
UCSD's 10-run fifth against Concordia (OR) on Feb. 4 was its largest since an 11-run ninth in a 17-3 win at SF State on April 18, 2014 ... Concordia's (OR) six-run seventh on Feb. 5 has been the biggest frame against UCSD this year ... The Tritons' five errors on Feb. 5 were there most since being charged with 11 in a 21-10 loss at Cal State East Bay on March 1, 2015 ... Ten players have made their college and/or Triton debuts in 2017, all but one over the opening weekend, in Keenan Brigman, Chad Crosbie, Alex Eliopulos, Kyle Goodbrand, Blaine Jarvis, Nick Kitzmann, Jesse Moore, Steven Schuknecht and Ted Stuka, with J.T. Williams returning from injury on March 26 ... UCSD is 5-1 in season openers under Eric Newman and 14-3 since moving to Division II in 2001 ... UCSD is 5-1 in CCAA openers with Newman in charge, with five straight wins after a 4-1 loss to Chico State in La Jolla on Feb. 17, 2012 ... The Tritons are 10-7 in CCAA openers all-time (since 2001), and 10-1 with six splits in sets to begin the league season ... UCSD was picked to place third overall and second in the South in the 2017 CCAA race by the league's head coaches, as announced on Jan. 27, with defending CCAA tournament champion Chico State the favorite for the fifth time in six years.
DURNA A TWO-TIME CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tyler Durna was named for the first time as the CCAA Player of the Week on March 7, going 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run, two runs and three RBI in the doubleheader split at Cal State East Bay. The sophomore first baseman picked up his second award on March 28. In the series win over Sonoma State, Durna hit a team-best .545 (6-for-11) and slugged 1.273 with team highs of six runs, two home runs and five RBI. He was 2-for-3 with two home runs, one walk, a career-high four runs and career-high-matching four RBI in the doubleheader nightcap on March 26. It was his first career multi-home run game.
LARSEN NAMED CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jack Larsen on Feb. 14 was named UCSD's first CCAA Player of the Week for 2017, earning the award for the fourth time. He hit .429 (6-for-14) with six runs and five RBI in a 3-1 series victory over Concordia. Larsen launched his first home run of the year, a three-run shot, in a 7-6 win on Feb. 11, and reached base safely in all five plate appearances in a 5-4 decision the next day.
UCSD placed second in the CCAA in 2016 behind now-two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona (26-11) with a league mark of 20-17, qualifying for a third consecutive CCAA Championship. The fourth-seeded Tritons had a 31-21 record after a 1-2 showing in Stockton.
UCSD's 39-player 2017 roster features 21 letterwinners, four returning redshirts and 14 newcomers. The Tritons return all but two primary position player starters and all but one starter on the mound. Among those back are fourth-year starters Jack Larsen in the outfield and Tyler Howsley at shortstop. Larsen is a two-time All-CCAA First Team selection who added NCBWA All-West Region honorable mention as a junior, while Howsley has a pair of All-CCAA honorable mentions. Joining them are the likes of senior infielder JD Hearn, veteran outfielders Brandon Shirley and Christian Leung, catcher Steven Coe, Justin Flatt, Tyler Durna and Tim White.
In his sixth season in charge, Eric Newman welcomes back a large bulk of a pitching staff that saw 35 of 52 starts made by true freshmen in 2016. All are in the stable with a full year of college baseball under their belts, that group being made up of Brent Bell, Jonah Dipoto, Kyle Lucke, Kyle Mora and Preston Mott. Bullpen options are Jack Rupe, Jr., Erik Amundson, Cameron Kurz and Tim Nelson.
UCSD will be bolstered by the fifth-year return of Troy Cruz, a 2014 All-American and three-time All-CCAA selection in a dual role as a pitcher and hitter who was only able to make three appearances in 2016 before being shut down due to injury.
There is plenty of excitement for a group of transfers which includes Keenan Brigman (Pacific), Alex Eliopulos (San Diego Mesa College), Kyle Goodbrand (Irvine Valley College), Jesse Moore (Edmonds CC), Adrian Orozco (San Diego State) and J.T. Williams (Mt. Hood CC). Orozco is a former two-year Triton reliever (2013-14) who spent the past two seasons at Southwestern College and SDSU.
UCSD's 2017 schedule consists of 47 regular-season games, including 27 at home within the friendly confines of Triton Ballpark. Three have been lost to weather. After contesting eight of 10 non-conference dates in La Jolla, the Tritons started league play with a split-venue, four-game sweep over crosstown rival Cal State San Marcos. UCSD hosts defending CCAA tournament champion and league favorite Chico State in a three-gamer this weekend, April 8-9. The Tritons then face two-time reigning region champion and CCAA South favorite Cal Poly Pomona in another split-venue, four-game series, April 13-15. The CCAA Championship will be held in the neutral-site city of Stockton for the fifth year in a row, returning to Banner Island Ballpark of the minor-league Stockton Ports, May 10-13. UCSD has earned three successive trips.
YOUNG PITCHING FROM 2016 BACK WITH EXPERIENCE
In 2016, 35 of 52 games for UCSD were started on the mound by true freshmen, including all three games of the CCAA Championship. Despite that, the Triton pitching staff compiled an earned-run average of 3.91, good enough for second in the CCAA and 30th nationally in Division II. UCSD has thus placed among the top three in the CCAA in ERA in four of the past five years. All of those arms return, in the form of Brent Bell, Jonah Dipoto, Kyle Lucke, Kyle Mora and Preston Mott.
UCSD continues a tradition of being strong defensively. The Tritons posted a .970 fielding percentage for the second straight year in 2016, leading the CCAA and ranking 20th in Division II. They were second in the CCAA, behind only Cal Poly Pomona (.971), and 21st in Division II, in 2015. UCSD has been in the top 30 nationally and top three in the conference in fielding for each of the past seven seasons. The Tritons were also second in the CCAA (behind Chico State) in 2014 with a .974 clip, and fifth in the country. In 2013, they were second in the league behind Chico State and 11th nationally (.972). They were 29th in Division II in 2012 (.966) and third in the conference. UCSD led the nation with a Division II- and school-record mark of .984 (1611-673-38) in 2010 and was fifth in 2011 (.972), pacing the CCAA both years. No program in the country has even fielded at a .980 rate since 2010.
The CCAA baseball landscape remains largely the same for 2017, with two geographically-balanced, six-team divisions. The top three squads in the final standings of each division will again make up the CCAA Championship field. Second-year member Cal State San Marcos, UCSD's crosstown foe and South opponent, is still ineligible for postseason play. The CCAA maintains a 38-game league slate, made up of a four-game series within divisions, and three-gamers across divisions. The automatic qualifier into the NCAA Championship is still the winner of the CCAA tournament, which remains a six-team, double-elimination event over four days. New this year, however, is that the top seed in that tourney will be crowned regular-season champion.
UCSD returns five all-conference performers from 2016 in fourth-year standouts Jack Larsen (first team for second straight year), Tyler Howsley (honorable mention for second straight year) and Steven Coe (honorable mention), and sophomore right-handers Kyle Mora (second team) and Tim Nelson (honorable mention) ... Larsen also picked up NCBWA All-West Region honorable mention in 2016 ... Howsley and Larsen played together at Mission Viejo's Capistrano Valley High School, as did Nelson and Tyler Durna at Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills ... All but three players on the 39-man 2017 roster, redshirt junior Tim White (Stratford, CT) and newcomers Jesse Moore (Port Orchard, WA) and J.T. Williams (Eagle, ID), are California natives ... There are seven San Diego products in Steven Coe (Valley Center/Valley Center HS), Troy Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS), Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Garrett Henkel (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Cameron Kurz (Encinitas/La Costa Canyon HS), Adrian Orozco (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch HS) and Jack Rupe, Jr. (San Marcos/Mission Hills HS) ... Sophomore right-hander Jonah Dipoto is the son of Jerry Dipoto, who pitched eight seasons for three Major League Baseball organizations, and is the general manager of the Seattle Mariners ... Redshirt freshman transfer Keenan Brigman (UOP) is the younger brother of former USD infield standout and current Seattle Mariners minor leaguer Bryson Brigman, a third-round selection in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft who enters the 2017 season as the club's No. 17 prospect.
HEAD COACH ERIC NEWMAN
Eric Newman is in his sixth season as the UCSD head coach. The 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year has a 186-112 record (133-78 CCAA) in charge of the Tritons and 281-184 overall in his eight-plus seasons as a head coach. Newman guided UCSD to the 2012 CCAA regular-season and tournament titles in his first go-around in La Jolla, and a subsequent trip to the NCAA Division II West Regional. His Tritons won a record sixth conference tourney crown in May of 2014 in Stockton, to again nab the CCAA's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. With UCSD earning the region's top seed, Triton Ballpark played host to the 2014 NCAA West Regional. Newman has led the Tritons to three CCAA banners and three NCAA postseason berths in his five years, including back-to-back appearances in West Region finals (2014-15), as well as five plus-.500 and four 30-win campaigns. He won his 100th CCAA contest at home against Cal State San Bernardino, 9-4, on Feb. 26, 2016. Newman previously went 95-72 in three seasons at the helm of Dallas Baptist University from 2005-07. He was the fifth-round draft choice of the San Diego Padres out of Texas Tech in 1994, pitching professionally for eight years with four different organizations.
Eric Newman added Justin James to his staff as the new pitching coach this off-season. James came over from his alma mater, Point Loma. J.T. Bloodworth returns for a fifth season in the UCSD dugout, now in his third year as the Tritons' recruiting coordinator. Jeff Calhoon and former Triton relief pitcher (2011-12) Tony York are back for their second year. Bloodworth coaches third base and Calhoon is at first base. York pursued a professional baseball career after his UCSD days and upon returning, resumed work on his bachelor's degree in psychology, completing it in March.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
No. 3 Chico State (27-5, 20-1 CCAA) comes to La Jolla boasting the CCAA's longest current win streak, at six. The Wildcats outscored visiting Cal State San Marcos, 37-7, in a three-game sweep last weekend by scores of 10-3, 18-4 and 9-0. They are 12-4 away from home this season. Senior first baseman Jimbo Pernetti is the reigning CCAA Player of the Week. Josh Falco (22), Cameron Santos (20) and Dillon Kelley (15) all have lengthy reached-base streaks. Sonny Cortez leads the league with 35 runs scored. After missing the postseason entirely in 2015, Chico State, the nine-time West Region champion with its most recent title coming in La Jolla in 2014, won its third CCAA tournament crown last May. Dave Taylor is in his 11th season in charge at Chico State, and on March 25, earned his 500th career win.
UCSD holds a 40-36 edge over Chico State, all since 2001, when the Tritons moved up to the NCAA Division II and joined the CCAA. This includes a 28-18 advantage over the last 46 meetings since 2008. UCSD is 31-29 against Chico State in regular-season league contests, 9-3 at the CCAA Championship and 0-4 in NCAA Championship play. The Tritons are 19-16 in La Jolla, 15-18 in Chico and 6-2 at neutral venues. They were swept in three games in Chico in 2016 (7-0, 7-6, 7-2), before rallying from 6-2 down after four to walk the 'Cats off with three in the ninth on day two of the CCAA Championship in Stockton (5/12). UCSD never trailed in sweeping the four-game set in La Jolla in 2015 (6-0, 10-7, 4-3 and 4-2), after splits in each of the previous three years. The teams shared eight decisions evenly at 4-4 in 2014. The CCAA set finished 2-2 in La Jolla before UCSD earned a pair of wins at the conference tournament in Stockton en route to a record sixth banner. Chico State returned the favor, however, to win the West Regional at Triton Ballpark and advance on to Cary, N.C. The Tritons went 3-2 against the 'Cats in 2012, with the games all taking place in La Jolla. The teams split their four-game series before UCSD posted a 9-1 victory on its way to a fourth straight CCAA Championship crown. In 2005, UCSD fought all the way back after losing its tournament opener at Chico's Nettleton Stadium to Cal Poly Pomona, to win its first CCAA tourney title. Needing to beat the host Wildcats twice on the final day, the Tritons did just that, taking a pair of narrow one-run decisions, both in extra innings, 5-4 in 11 and 7-6 in 12.
1987 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES ANNIVERSARY
This season marks the 30-year anniversary of the 1987 squad that advanced to the program's first College World Series, that at the NCAA Division III level. Members of that team were back at Triton Ballpark to be recognized prior to the March 11 doubleheader against Cal State Monterey Bay. The 1987 Tritons posted a then-program-best 32-13 record under the direction of head coach Lyle Yates, sweeping through La Verne in the West Regional on their way to Marietta, Ohio, before being eliminated in extra innings by eventual national champion Montclair State.
TRITONS IN THE PROS
Justin Donatella (2013-15) is beginning the 2017 season back with the Visalia Rawhide, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks whom he aided to the 2016 California League North title. He is the organization's No. 26 prospect, and in fact the Rawhide's Opening Day starter in Lancaster on Thursday night, April 6 (6:35 p.m.). Donatella is projected to make his second start in Lake Elsinore on Tuesday, April 11 (6 p.m.). Tim Shibuya (2008-11) has returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and been assigned to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, who also begin their campaign on the road on April 6, at Midland. Shibuya is the expected starter for Tulsa's third game on Saturday, April 8 (5 p.m. PT). A third former right-handed pitching standout, Guido Knudson (2008-11), is a free agent and back in his native San Diego to rehabilitate an injury.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UCSD Athletics' online partner, Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are in eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
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UC San Diego returns to CCAA South action against two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona. The four-game set begins with single primetime matchups at 6 p.m. in La Jolla on Thursday, April 13, and Friday, April 14. The series then shifts to Pomona and ends with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 15.