SAN DIEGO, Calif. - UC San Diego took a 2-0 lead on a third-inning Richard Seigel home run, but Point Loma Nazarene University rallied for the 3-2 triumph in non-conference baseball Tuesday afternoon at Carroll B. Land Stadium.
With the result, the Tritons dropped to 17-15 overall, while the Sea Lions are 15-17. The three-game season series between the crosstown rivals is thus tied as UCSD had taken a come-from-behind decision of its own, 6-5 in 11 innings, at Triton Ballpark on Feb. 12. The set concludes in La Jolla next Tuesday night, Apr. 9, at 6 p.m.
Making his first collegiate start, Adrian Orozco set the home side down in order in the first inning with a pair of groundouts around a flyout. In a staff game for UCSD, the right-hander navigated around a one-out single in his second of three frames.
Offensively, the Tritons produced a trio of singles over the first two innings after Danny Susdorf had reached via error to begin the contest, but a pair of caught stealings aided in keeping them scoreless.
UCSD finally got to PLNU starter Mickey Dunleavy in the third. Troy Cruz, like Orozco a true freshman out of Chula Vista, singled up the middle with two away. Seigel then fouled off three 3-2 offerings before roping his team-leading eighth home run of the year over the wall in right center.
The two-out rally continued as Nick La Face and Dillon Moyer worked walks around a single through the right side by a third Triton junior, Justin Rahn, but Dunleavy got senior third baseman Sam Michaels to fly out on the first pitch.
With two gone in the home third, DH Mark Marcoux doubled into the gap in right center. As Susdorf ran over to collect and throw, he mishandled the ball, allowing Marcoux to scoot over to third and ending his lengthy errorless streak. Orozco then plunked Marcus Heisner to put Sea Lions at the corners before getting Trey Hunt III to fly out to Susdorf in short center.
A walk, infield error and sacrifice bunt put two PLNU runners in scoring position to begin the home fourth against new Triton pitcher David Hart. Tanner Handa narrowly beat out an infield single to Hart to load the bases. The next batter, Tyler Hanzawa, bounced a ball to second baseman Cruz, who spun and flipped to Moyer flashing across the second-base bag, the shortstop in turn completing the tough double play to Seigel as UCSD maintained its 2-0 advantage.
Two more solid defensive plays back-to-back to open the PLNU fifth came from Seigel with some deft footwork at first on a wide throw and a gather-and-fire from Moyer in the hole. The Sea Lions, however, still proceeded to load the bases on Sean Rowan on two singles, the first of the bunt variety by Heisner, and a walk, before a sharp Tyler Nordgren single to left field knotted the score at 2-2.
In the sixth, successive one-out singles put the Sea Lions back in business. Sophomore left-hander Chad Rieser came on for the Tritons and got Marcoux looking before springing off the mound to glove Heisner’s grounder, with Seigel picking his low throw out to end the inning.
Corbin Wirta was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh, and Susdorf then out-sprinted Point Loma pitcher Chad Etchison to first for a bunt single. Wirta was picked off of second ahead of Cruz reaching on an infield error. Seigel worked a walk to load the bases, but freshman pinch-hitter Andrew Hobson’s fielder’s choice grounder knocked out Susdorf at the plate, and a second straight fielder’s choice grounder from Rahn kept it at a 2-2 deadlock.
Point Loma took its first lead of the contest in its half of the seventh as Bryan Burkhead walked with one out and scored on Nordgren’s double into the right field corner. The run would prove to be the game-winning tally as Sebastian Santos and Garret Levsen combined to retire the final six Tritons in order, all on the infield.
Orozco went the first three innings, allowing just two hits. UCSD used six pitchers in all on the afternoon. Rieser (0-1) took the loss.
Dunleavy gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks over 5.0 innings for the Sea Lions. He struck out four. Etchison (1-2) earned the win in relief and Levsen picked up his fifth save with the 1-2-3 ninth.
Susdorf, Seigel and Rahn finished with two hits apiece for the Tritons. Nordgren was 3-for-4 with all three RBI for the hosts.
UCSD resumes its conference schedule with a crucial four-game set at home beginning Friday, Apr. 5, against San Francisco State. The series opener that night is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch.
Triton Notes: Nick La Face has started 89 straight games … Richard Seigel has started 69 games in a row, all at first base … Seigel’s third-inning home run pulled him even with James Wharton of Cal State L.A. atop the conference leaderboard and was the 12th long ball of his Triton career … With one more putout in the second inning today, Danny Susdorf’s defensive streak without an error extended to his last 98-plus games and 240 chances dating back to Apr. 29, 2011, before being snapped in the third … Susdorf was thrown out both times he was attempting to steal second base, in the first and fourth innings, marking just the second and third times he has been cut down in 2013 in 22 tries … Dillon Moyer’s second-inning stolen base was his 11th in 13 attempts … Through the one-out walk he issued in the home seventh, Chad Rieser had retired the last eight batters he faced over three-plus outings since Mar. 15, with four strikeouts, three of them coming against left-handers … Rieser matched his season-long outing at 1.2 innings.