Preston Mott Has Big Day but No. 8 UC San Diego Swept in Doubleheader at Stanislaus State
TURLOCK, Calif. - Eighth-ranked University of California San Diego was upended twice by Stanislaus State during a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) doubleheader at Warrior Baseball Field on Sunday. Final scores were 4-2 and 7-3 in seven innings.
In snapping a four-game win streak, UC San Diego dropped to 21-7 overall and 16-7 in the CCAA. Stanislaus State improved to 22-13 overall and 18-11 in the CCAA. The Tritons took a 5-1 decision in the opener on Saturday night. The four-game series shifted due to weather concerns from Friday night through Sunday, to Saturday through Monday.
Senior left-hander Preston Mott was the highlight for the Tritons, as he struck out a career-high 12 over 6.0 innings of stellar relief to close out the first game. The Clovis product allowed just a solo home run in the seventh among three hits, and one walk, not figuring in the decision. The fourth of his strikeouts, of the called variety for the second out in the fifth, marked milestone strikeout No. 200 for Mott's career, as he became just the eighth Triton arm to reach that number, finishing the day at 208.
Mott struck out the Warriors' 4-5-6 batters, Alexis Paz, Jack Large and Grant Bunker, in succession three times. The first instance came after allowing a double to his first hitter, Vinny Margiotta, to begin the third. He then got Paz to end the fifth and Large and Bunker to begin the sixth. Mott fanned them once more in a perfect eighth. All nine were swinging strikeouts. The fourth and sixth were also 1-2-3 frames.
UC San Diego and Stanislaus State conclude their series on Monday, April 8. The getaway-day first pitch is set for 12 p.m. at Warrior Baseball Field in Turlock.
Game One - STAN 4, No. 8 UCSD 2
Sophomore shortstop Shay Whitcomb led off a third straight game with a double, to center on a 3-1 pitch, and moved to third as left-sided infield mate Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/La Jolla HS) sent a single to center. Senior right-hander Tyler Murphy looked like he may still get out of the early jam unscathed, with back-to-back swinging strikeouts, but a passed ball was then credited to allow Whitcomb to open the scoring.
After falling behind 3-1, sophomore right-hander Cameron Leonard got leadoff man Braeden Oki to fly out to right, but a subsequent double into the left field corner and single up the middle, tied the game at 1-1 in the home half.
The bottom of the second began with back-to-back singles and a successful sacrifice. The Warriors tried to squeeze across a run with another bunt. Triton first baseman Blake Baumgartner gathered the ball and contemplated coming home, but opted instead to throw to first, and that got away to allow both runners to score for 3-1.
The home third opened with a double by Margiotta as Mott took over for Leonard. He got Paz to swing through a 3-2 offering. He then also got Large to swing at and miss three consecutive breaking balls in the dirt, and finished off the trifecta with Bunker.
UC San Diego loaded the bases in the fourth on a leadoff Keenan Brigman single, two-out Brandon Stewart walk and a slow ground ball up the middle by Whitcomb for an infield single. Murphy threw a 3-2 pitch high to Eliopulos to force in a run for 3-2.
Grant Victor's first home run as a Warrior with one away in the seventh, as the No. 9 batter in the order, gave the home side an insurance run.
In the second start of his return from a summer injury, Leonard (0-1) went just the first two innings. He allowed three runs, two of them earned, on four hits, and struck out one. Mott retired eight straight after the Margiotta double to start his day.
Whitcomb was 2-for-4 with his team-best 14th double, a walk and a run scored.
Murphy (5-2) went 6.0 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits and six walks. He struck out eight, wiping out a one-out walk in the third with the game's only double play. Murphy's only perfect frame was his last, with fellow senior right-hander Matt Pulos taking over and turning away all nine batters he faced, seven on strikes.
Stewart made a tough, sliding grab toward the wall and gap in left center for the first out of the home fourth on Jayce Gardner. Eliopulos made a spectacular play on the ground down the line for the final out of the seventh with a man on, firing across the diamond in time to Baumgartner.
Game Two - STAN 7, No. 8 UCSD 3
The third inning blew up on the Tritons in the nightcap, as the Warriors scored all seven of their runs on five hits and one big defensive miscue. The frame began with three straight singles to load the bases, the last two of them on bunted sacrifice attempts. A two-run Margiotta double opened the scoring, and was followed by a Paz sacrifice fly as the inning kept going and going with 11 coming to bat.
Sophomore right-hander Noah Conlon (0-1) went the first 3.0 innings and took the loss. Five of the seven runs against him were earned. Freshman Michael Mitchell tossed a pair of shutout frames in relief, with Zach Tresemer handling the sixth.
Freshman left-hander Rylan Tinsley (7-2) came one out away from tossing a seven-inning shutout, but was hit on the leg on a hard, one-hop comebacker, and exited the game before UC San Diego struck for three tallies, two on a single through the left side by Christopher Schasteen. True freshman Blake FitzGerald had preceded him by dropping an opposite-field single inside the left field line for his first collegiate RBI.
Triton Notes: UC San Diego still leads the all-time series, 52-30, including 52-23 since joining the CCAA for the 2001 campaign ... The Tritons are 27-11 against the Warriors in Turlock ... UC San Diego had won eight straight meetings with Stan State ... UC San Diego is an even 4-4 on the road ... Alex Eliopulos started his 103rd and 104th straight games, all at third base ... Game One: Cameron Leonard drew his second career mound start ... Brandon Stewart's second-inning steal was his fourth on five tries ... Shay Whitcomb's double to lead off the game gave him a team-best 14 on the year, 11 of them coming over a 12-game span, and 26 for his college days ... Whitcomb began a third consecutive contest with a double ... With 12 strikeouts, Preston Mott got to 208 for his career, passing Byron Grubman (198), Trevor Scott (199) and Matt Rossman (201) and moving from 10th all-time in program history, now up to seventh by himself ... The 12 strikeouts by Mott are the most by a Triton since Mitch Hickey got to that number against Point Loma last May 17, 2018, at the NCAA West Regional in Azusa ... Mott now has two efforts of 10-plus strikeouts for his college career, previously with 10 over 7.0 frames at home against Cal Poly Pomona on March 2, 2018 ... Freshman second baseman Ryan McNally's reached-base streak was snapped at 13 games, tied for the team's longest this year ... Second Two: Noah Conlon drew his sixth start of the season and seventh of his college career on the hill ... The loss was UC San Diego's first this season when scoring at least three runs, with all three of those runs coming with two outs in the seventh ... The Tritons are thus 20-1 in 2019 when scoring at least three times.
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.
Follow the Tritons
For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons). For more information on UC San Diego Baseball, follow on Twitter (@UCSDbsb) and Instagram (@ucsd_baseball). Head coach Eric Newman is also on Twitter (@CoachEricNewman).