Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Alex Eliopulos produced a three-run single in the first and added a home run to lead off the fifth.

No. 14 UC San Diego Gets Nine in First, Combined Shutout in 13-0 Exhibition Romp Over Royals

UC San Diego

Please note that being an exhibition, with all stats unofficial, UC San Diego granted HIU's request to have 10 batters in its lineup for season preparation purposes. Therefore, all numbers in attached box scores for HIU hitters are inaccurate. Triton batting statistics and both teams' pitching numbers are correct.

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 14 University of California San Diego baseball team scored nine runs in the first and had six pitchers combine on an eight-hit shutout in overpowering Hope International University, 13-0, in its exhibition opener Saturday afternoon at Triton Ballpark.

HIU, from Fullerton, is from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). The Royals had defeated the Tritons in exhibitions ahead of each of the past two seasons, with UC San Diego going on to back to back NCAA Division II West Region titles.

The nine first-inning runs came on just three hits, with the HIU starter aiding UC San Diego to the tune of five walks, two hit-by-pitches and a pair of wild pitches.

On the mound, newcomers Luke Mattson, Brandon Weed (Lemon Grove/Southwestern College/Grossmont HS) and Lonnie Morris provided two scoreless innings apiece, each allowing two hits while totaling eight strikeouts against three walks. Mattson (Orange/Golden West College), who started and was granted the unofficial winning decision, and Weed, are junior right-handers and junior college transfers, with Morris a true freshman left-hander. Mattson and Morris are both graduates of Orange Lutheran High School.

True freshman Michael Mitchell, redshirt junior Blaine Jarvis and fourth-year senior Kyle Lucke, all right-handers, cleaned up with one frame apiece. Lucke fanned the first two batters in the ninth before UC San Diego's only two errors of the contest muddied things up a bit, but a lineout to first baseman Blake Baumgartner ended it.

The first four Triton batters all reached base in the opening frame, with two walks around a Keenan Brigman single loading the bags for Baumgartner. The redshirt sophomore first baseman was hit by a pitch to force in the first score. With two gone but six runs already across, redshirt senior third baseman Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/La Jolla HS) returned to the plate and dropped a three-run single in front of the charging centerfielder for the early 9-0 bulge. All told, 13 Tritons came to bat.

UC San Diego added single tallies in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings. Eliopulos led off the fifth by pulling a 2-2 pitch out to right for a long home run. He finished 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs and four RBI.

Brigman was 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs and one RBI. Baumgartner went 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch, run scored and two RBI. Senior rightfielder R.J. Prince added two hits of his own, including a double, with a run and an RBI. Brandon Stewart walked twice, was hit by a pitch, scored twice and knocked in a run.

Mattson and Weed bookended the only two perfect frames of the afternoon around getting out of jams in the second and third, respectively. Weed in the third needed a huge stab by Baumgartner ranging off the bag, to start a tough 3-6-1 inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, the pitcher himself getting over to cover.

Morris gave up two one-out singles in the fifth before back-to-back swinging strikeouts, and walked a pair of Royals in the sixth ahead of a flyout. All three of his strikeouts came in succession over his two innings of work.

The result went down as 13-0, but the teams did play the bottom of the ninth for a little extra prep, with Baumgartner launching a two-run home run to left field.

UC San Diego hosts a second preseason exhibition this Tuesday night, Jan. 22, against city foe San Diego Christian College. First pitch at Triton Ballpark is set for primetime at 6 p.m. Admission is free, though parking permits are required. The Hawks, like the Royals, are NAIA members from the GSAC.

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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