at Cal State San Bernardino (12-34, 10-26 CCAA)
Thursday, May 1 • 3 p.m.
Fiscalini Field • San Bernardino
Friday, May 2 • 3 p.m.
Fiscalini Field • San Bernardino
vs. Cal State San Bernardino (12-34, 10-26 CCAA)
Saturday, May 3 • 2 p.m. (DH)
Triton Ballpark • La Jolla
Live Video • Live Stats
The 20th-ranked UC San Diego baseball team wraps up the 2014 regular season with one final California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) series against Cal State San Bernardino this week. The four-game, split-venue set begins with single meetings at Fiscalini Field in San Bernardino on Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, both at 3 p.m. The series then shifts to Triton Ballpark in La Jolla for a Senior Day doubleheader on Saturday, May 3, beginning at 2 p.m. During the approximate 40-minute break between a regulation nine-inning opener and seven-inning nightcap will be a ceremony recognizing UCSD's seven seniors.
The Tritons swept a non-conference twin bill at home over Azusa Pacific last Saturday. They are 22-7 over their last 29 games and 15-3 over the last 18. UCSD is 14-6 at home in 2014 and 15-7 on the road, including a 14-4 mark in its CCAA travels. The Coyotes are 6-14 at home and 6-20 outside of San Bernardino.
BACK IN THE POSTSEASON
UCSD's 6-4 victory at SF State on Saturday, April 19, combined at almost the exact same time with Cal State Dominguez Hills wrapping up a 7-0 home shutout of Cal State East Bay, put the Tritons back in the CCAA Championship after a one-year hiatus which came on the heels of four straight tourney titles. The four-team field for this next edition is now set. At 29-13 overall and 23-9 (.719) in the CCAA, UCSD remains alone in third place in the league standings, behind Sonoma State (22-6, .786) and sixth-ranked Chico State (27-8, .771). Sonoma State and Chico State conclude the regular season against each other this Friday through Sunday, with the first three games in Rohnert Park, and the Sunday finale at Raley Field in Sacramento. Cal Poly Pomona (23-12, .657), ranked 21st nationally and in fourth place, is idle this week.
UCSD needs one win over CSUSB to clinch a top-three seed ahead of CPP, but will need a series victory and likely a sweep, to move up. The only way in which the Tritons can secure a fifth CCAA regular-season crown is if they do sweep the Coyotes, and Sonoma State and Chico State split. UCSD would then share the title with the Seawolves, with an as-yet undetermined tiebreaker determining the top seed at the CCAA Championship. The double-elimination conference tournament will be held for a second straight year at Stockton's Banner Island Ballpark, May 8-11. The park is home to the Stockton Ports, the Class A Advanced minor-league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. UCSD will travel by bus to Stockton on Wednesday, May 7. Follow all of the action during this final week via the live CCAA baseball scoreboard here.
General admission tickets to all regular-season home games at Triton Ballpark are $5, and are available for purchase beginning one hour prior to start time. All UCSD students are admitted FREE with valid identification. Parking on the UCSD campus is free on weekends, but a permit is required and strongly recommended for weeknight 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 when parking vehicles.
All UCSD home games at Triton Ballpark feature a live online video stream and live stats. Weeknight CCAA contests additionally have audio commentary, provided again by former Triton pitcher Tim Strombel (2007-08). The audio/video is free, but does require registration and a login. Some road contests also have video, though there will only be live stats for this week's activity in San Bernardino. Fans can access all live coverage for home and away dates from the Schedule/Results page. Finally, starting lineups, live between-inning updates and other in-game news and notes can be found during home contests and some road games by following Triton Baseball all season long on the UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons).
CALLING ALL TRITON BASEBALL ALUMNI
All former UCSD baseball players are invited to stay for a postgame tailgate celebration following the final day of the 2014 regular season this Saturday, May 3. UCSD will host CCAA rival Cal State San Bernardino in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. on Senior Day at Triton Ballpark. In addition to honoring our seven seniors, a reception will be held at the conclusion of the action on the field, for Triton baseball players of the past, as we usher in a new era on East Campus. UCSD Baseball will soon say goodbye to the current configuration of Triton Ballpark. Renovations and enhancements to the facility are imminent in the coming offseason, intended to be completed in time for the start of the 2015 campaign. To RSVP for the May 3 event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org on Thursday.
SENIOR DAY SATURDAY
The career contributions of seven Triton baseball seniors will be celebrated in between games of this Saturday's doubleheader against Cal State San Bernardino. Those seniors are Blake Fassler, Spencer Frazier, David Hart, Nick La Face, Justin Rahn, Garrett Tuck and Scott Zeman. The nine-inning first game is set for a 2 p.m. start. The break in between will be approximately 40 minutes long, with the senior recognition ceremony slated to begin about 20 minutes after the conclusion of the opener.
STILL FOURTH IN NCAA REGIONAL LISTING
The second release of the all-important NCAA regional rankings occurred on Wednesday, with the top five teams in the West remaining the same, and UCSD still in fourth behind California Baptist, Chico State and Cal Poly Pomona. The top six teams in the final version make up the NCAA Division II Championship West Regional. The winner of the 2014 CCAA Championship, May 8-11, earns an automatic berth into the West Regional. The NCAA Division II Championship selection show is set for 7 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 11, and will be streamed live on NCAA.com. The field will again consist of 48 teams being separated into eight six-team regionals.
UCSD appeared at No. 39 in the preseason edition of Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's NCAA Division II top-40 poll released back on Dec. 24. The Tritons returned to the top 30 at No. 30 on March 17. UCSD got as high as No. 18 on April 14, and after a one-week dip down to No. 25, are now back up to No. 20 in that poll. The Tritons are at their highest spot of the year of No. 16 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll, and are at No. 2 in the NCBWA West Region.
ABOUT THE COYOTES
Cal State San Bernardino (12-34, 10-26 CCAA) suffered a four-game sweep on the road at Cal State Monterey Bay last weekend, getting no-hit in the seven-inning Sunday finale by NCBWA Division II National Pitcher of the Week Josh Eagle. In doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, scores were 8-2, 11-2, 3-2 and 4-0, as CSUSB managed just six runs on the whole. The Coyotes dropped a home series to Chico State, three games to one, in the previous weekend, and have lost five straight. William Ouellette is CSUSB's leading hitter at .327 (56-for-171), with Kevin Meriwether also above .300 at .301 (53-for-176). The Coyotes are batting .268 as a team. On the mound, they have a 5.42 team ERA. Senior left-hander Kerry Kelley (4-6, 3.81 ERA, 82.2 IP, 15 BB, 65 SO) has been the most effective starter, with one shutout among three complete games. Don Parnell is in his 23rd season at the helm.
UCSD holds a commanding 47-23 advantage over Cal State San Bernardino in the all-time series, and is 38-17 against the Coyotes since 2001, when the Tritons moved up to the NCAA Division II and joined the CCAA. This includes an 18-6 edge over the last 24 meetings since 2007. UCSD won last year's series, 3-1, splitting two games in La Jolla before pounding out 27 runs on 24 hits in a doubleheader sweep in San Bernardino, 11-4 and 16-5 in seven innings. The teams split the four-game set in 2012, each winning twice on its home diamond.
LAST TIME OUT
UCSD is coming off of a dominating doubleheader sweep of non-conference foe Azusa Pacific at home last Saturday. The Tritons upended the Cougars in the first game, 11-7. Trevor Scott went five innings in picking up his fifth victory and left with an 8-2 lead. Central in UCSD’s 14-hit attack was Nick La Face, who went 4-for-4 and reached base five times, scoring four runs and driving in four. He had a single, two doubles and a home run. Fellow senior Justin Rahn added three hits. The Tritons got off to another quick start in the second game, scoring six runs in the first two frames and going on to blitz APU, 16-0. Sophomore Troy Cruz got the start, logged six shutout innings and earned win No. 7 on the year. UCSD produced another 14 hits with four players posting multi-hit efforts. Rahn and freshman Jack Larsen blasted home runs.
FACE ON FIRE
Nick La Face is having an incredible final year in a Triton uniform. He has played in 41 of 42 games, starting all 41, and is hitting a team-best .368, third in the CCAA. La Face leads the league in doubles (17-tied), triples (4-tied), walks (37) and on-base percentage (.511), and is second in RBI (41) and slugging percentage (.583). He also paces UCSD in home runs (2-tied) and total bases (84). La Face has posted single-season career highs in batting average, triples, RBI, walks, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, with his 34 runs and 17 doubles matching his bests. He had one career triple before belting a pair in the series vs. Chico State, one in the finale vs. Cal State Monterey Bay (3/16), and one at SF State (4/17). His two home runs have come at home against Chico State (2/15) and Azusa Pacific (4/26). La Face had reached base in 35 straight contests, the longest such streak by a Triton in 2014, when that streak was snapped by four flyouts in the April 18 nightcap at SF State (0-for-3, SF, RBI). He reached base in six straight plate appearances prior to a strikeout in the third inning of the doubleheader opener with CSUMB (3/15). Read a Triton Q&A with La Face here.
UCSD LEADING LEAGUE IN RUNS
UCSD is the No. 1 offensive team in the CCAA, having scored 286 times. That is an average of 6.8 runs per game over 42 contests. The Tritons have reached double figures in runs 12 times, with eight coming during this current stretch of 15 wins in their last 18. UCSD is 21-3 this year when it produces six runs or more in a game. Seven Tritons have tallied more than 20 runs in 2014, paced by CCAA leader Erik Lewis' 47, with five at 30-plus RBI. In fact, five of the top 11 run producers in the conference are from UCSD. In possibly their biggest inning in program history, the Tritons recently used 11 hits to tally 11 runs in the ninth inning of a 17-3 rout in game one of an April 18 doubleheader at SF State.
LA FACE APPROACHING WALKS MARK
With a league-best 37 walks thus far on the year, Nick La Face has increased his career total to 124. He is 18 away from tying the program record for career walks of 142, set by Matt Cantele between 2006-09. La Face's 37 free passes are a new single-season best for the fifth-year senior, who walked 35 times in 2013. He is eight walks from matching Aaron Bauman for the program's single-season record of 45 (2010). La Face has at least six games left in his pursuit of Cantele and Bauman. He ranks fourth in the entire nation in the NCAA Division II in walks per game, at 0.90, and is tied for eighth in total walks. La Face drew at least one walk (15 total) in 11 straight games prior to the finale with CSUMB, and had walked in another seven contests in a row entering the SF State series. La Face has earned a free pass a career-high three times on two occasions in 2014, with nine multi-walk games in all.
UCSD's .975 fielding percentage (1074-452-39) ranks second in the CCAA, behind only Chico State (.980), and eighth in the entire country in Division II. Nine times over the last 18 games in which the Tritons are 15-3, they have played error-free baseball. In the last 22 games, UCSD has committed more than one error on three occasions, twice in wins. The program record for single-season fielding percentage is .984 from 2010.
LA FACE CLIMBING MORE CAREER CHARTS
In addition to his pursuit of UCSD walk marks, Nick La Face is also up to sixth on the program's all-time chart in doubles (56) and ninth in RBI (133). He is one double away from former teammate Danny Susdorf (2010-13) in fifth.
UCSD has a current team ERA of 3.19. That number rates fourth in the CCAA and 30th nationally in the NCAA Division II. The Tritons are 20th in walks allowed per nine innings (2.56), 26th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.27), 14th in WHIP (1.2) and 23rd in shutouts. UCSD's six shutouts this season are its most in the Division II era (since 2001). The 3.19 mark is the program's best under third-year pitching coach Rob Avila.
Justin Donatella (6-2) has won six of his eight conference starts, only taking a no-decision at Cal State East Bay (3/28) and finally his first loss at SF State (4/17). He has the ninth-best ERA in the CCAA at 2.35, and is seventh with 53 strikeouts. The sophomore right-hander put together a shutout stretch of 17.1 innings from Feb. 20 to a March 24 relief stint at Azusa Pacific. Donatella allowed two runs on four hits and three walks over 7.0 innings at No. 15 Cal Poly Pomona, retiring 11 straight Broncos at one point. He gave up one hit over six shutout innings in an 8-1 victory over No. 12 Chico State (2/14), walking two with six strikeouts while outdueling Chico State ace and then-reigning CCAA Pitcher of the Week Nick Baker. Donatella set down 10 batters in a row during one stretch. That win was his second as a college pitcher and first as a starter. At home on March 6, Donatella put it all together for 6.2 no-hit frames and 8.1 shutout innings in all, setting a new program record for the Division II era with 13 strikeouts while scattering three hits without a walk. He achieved a new career long in each of his first four appearances of 2014. The big 6-foot-6 product of Saugus who saw just 13.2 innings of work as a freshman in 2013 (11.20 ERA), wrapped up the exhibition season with nine shutout frames over two starts with six hits allowed, all singles, no walks, and 14 strikeouts.
GET ON BASE THE TRITON WAY
UCSD ranks first in the CCAA in walks (211) by a wide margin and second in hit-by-pitches (69), behind only Chico State (70) in the latter category. Sonoma State is closest in walks, way behind with 157. Tritons Nick La Face (37) and Erik Lewis (34) are 1-2 in the league individually in bases on balls, with Justin Rahn tied for fifth (25). UCSD is 12th nationally in the category. Fourteen different Tritons have been hit at least once, led by Michael Mann with 13 and Brett Levy with 11. Mann leads the conference, with Levy tied for third.
CRUZ DOING IT ALL
Triton sophomore Troy Cruz has been a jack of all trades once again this season. The 2013 All-CCAA First Team selection at utility is the only Triton who has started all 42 games, at either third base (28), pitcher (10) or designated hitter (four). UCSD is 7-1 in league games in which he has been the starting pitcher (8-2 overall), including six straight wins. In his first mound start of the season on Feb. 16, Cruz went 7.0 innings (6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) to earn the win and the series split for UCSD against Chico State. He threw seven more innings without a decision against Cal State Monterey Bay (3/16) to help the Tritons gain another series split. Cruz tossed the first complete game by a UCSD pitcher in 2014, going 6.0 innings in a 12-4 win at CSUDH (3/8). He then twirled the first nine-inning complete game by a Triton since Ryan Goodbrand on May 18, 2012, to clinch the series victory at Cal State East Bay (3/30). The nine innings and six strikeouts that day both marked career bests. Cruz produced his second career seven-inning shutout at Cal State L.A. (4/5), and threw another seven effective frames in a victory at Cal State Stanislaus (4/13). He accounted for the Tritons' lone complete game in 2013, and has four for his career. Cruz hit in the leadoff position in each of the first eight games, and is now batting .328 with 27 runs, eight doubles, three triples, 32 RBI and a team-best seven steals on nine attempts. He has also made two relief appearances.
UCSD overturned a three-run deficit to come from behind and win in four of nine games between April 3-13. To begin their split-venue series with Cal State L.A., on April 3 and April 4, the Tritons trailed 3-0 before scoring six and four unanswered runs, respectively. They posted a four-run seventh to take a 5-3 lead in the first meeting, before striking for three runs to walk off in the ninth inning the following night. At Cal State Stanislaus, UCSD opened the April 12 doubleheader with a 5-4 triumph after trailing 4-1 heading into the ninth. Garrett Tuck's 10th-inning RBI single proved to be the winner. The Tritons fell behind 3-0 after four innings in the Sunday finale on April 13 before a four-run sixth spurred them on to a 4-3 victory.
Senior Justin Rahn is third on the team with a .348 batting average. He is second on the team and third in the league with 38 RBI. Rahn tops the UCSD chart with 54 hits and two home runs (tied), and is second with 10 doubles and 72 total bases. He is third in the CCAA in on-base percentage (.457), seventh in hitting and ninth in slugging (.465). Rahn is one of three Tritons to appear in all 42 contests, with 41 starts in the outfield. He has two of eight UCSD home runs in 2014, both coming at home. Rahn homered on Opening Day in the nightcap vs. Holy Names (2/2), a two-run shot to center in the second, and added another two-run blast that cleared the scoreboard in right in the nightcap vs. Azusa Pacific (4/26). Rahn reached base in each of the first 23 games prior to the series opener at Cal State East Bay (3/28). His current hit streak of 13 games is the longest by a Triton in 2014, and the best of his UCSD career.
E-LEW PROVIDING A BIG SPARK
Erik Lewis has been a revelation in his first season at UCSD. The former Long Beach State (2011-12) and Fullerton College (2013) player has appeared in all 42 games, starting 41 at second base. He is second on the team with a .353 batting average, and ranks first in the CCAA by 12 runs with 47. Lewis is fifth in the league in hitting, and second in both walks (34) and on-base percentage (.485) behind teammate Nick La Face. Lewis has a team-best 17 multi-hit games (tied with La Face), including one four-hit effort. Defensively, he has been charged with just two errors in 232 defensive chances for a .991 fielding percentage, and has contributed to 34 double plays. He handled 103 plays in a row cleanly before his first error on March 13, and 111 straight until his second on April 19.
UCSD has three walk-off wins in 2014. In the first game of a Feb. 22 doubleheader with Cal Poly Pomona, UCSD produced its first such triumph, 6-5, as Garrett Tuck's single to center drove in Troy Cruz from second base. Gradeigh Sanchez had stolen home as a pinch-runner to level the score just moments before as the Tritons erased the 5-4 ninth-inning deficit. Then in the March 16 series finale with Cal State Monterey Bay, Sanchez provided the pinch-hit, two-out single through the left side of the infield on an 0-2 pitch to plate Brett Levy from second base in the 4-3 triumph. Watch it here. Most recently, freshman centerfielder Jack Larsen's two-run single up the middle with one away completed a three-run ninth and comeback from a 3-0 deficit as UCSD edged Cal State L.A., 4-3. Watch that hit here.
HE'S THE MANN
In his first season at UCSD following a transfer from Diablo Valley College, junior Michael Mann has made an immediate impact on the program, starting 41 of 42 games at first base. He is third on the team and fourth in the league with 35 RBI. Mann is hitting .278 with 26 runs, seven doubles, one home run and a CCAA-best 13 hit-by-pitches. He missed just the series opener at Cal Poly Pomona (2/20). Mann has both a four-hit game, coming in the opener of a doubleheader at Cal State Dominguez Hills (3/8), and a pair of four-RBI performances. The first was in the nightcap of that same twin bill, with the latter more recently to open the double dip at Cal State L.A. (4/5). His first home run in a Triton uniform came in the series opener at Cal State East Bay (3/28).
UCSD entered its series with Cal Poly Pomona Feb. 20-22 with six double plays over its first nine games. The Tritons turned nine during the four-game weekend split, with four in the opener and three the next day. Four different CPP batters hit into the four double plays in that first game, with the first two started by Tyler Howsley, a true freshman making just his fourth start at shortstop. The last two came in the eighth and ninth, with a pair of Broncos on base each time as UCSD held on for a 4-2 victory. The Tritons had last turned four double plays at San Francisco State on April 30, 2010. That 2010 squad that went 54-8 and lost in the national championship game, set a school record with 68 twin killings on the year. The Tritons have now turned 41 double plays in 42 games in 2014, 32nd nationally in Division II. They are 17th in double plays per game.
DOUBLE DIP CYCLE FOR SANCHEZ
Sophomore outfielder Gradeigh Sanchez hit for the cycle during the March 28 doubleheader at Cal State East Bay. He led off the opener with an inside-the-park home run, marking the first round-tripper of his college career. Sanchez then added a leadoff triple in the seven-inning nightcap and a fourth-inning double to complete the feat, with a single in each contest. Having entered that series with one career extra-base hit in the form of a double on March 15, Sanchez now has four. During his career-best six-game hit streak from March 16-30, Sanchez was 9-for-21 (.429) with eight runs, three RBI, a double, a triple, a home run, five walks and a stolen base. He also played a key role in the first two walk-off victories for the Tritons in 2014.
STANISLAUS SERIES SUPERLATIVES
UCSD drew 30 walks in 35 innings played in its four-game sweep at Cal State Stanislaus, April 11-13 ... The Triton bullpen threw 11 complete innings of shutout baseball (6 H, 1 BB, 12 SO) over the four contests, courtesy of Javier Carrillo, Jr. (1.0), Dean Friedberg (1.0), David Hart (4.0), Dan Kolodin (1.0), Chad Rieser (1.0) and Scott Zeman (3.0) ... Most impressive among that group was Hart, who retired 12 of 13 batters faced in his three appearances, with five on strikes and six more on ground balls ... Blake Fassler needed just 54 pitches to get through five effective innings in his victorious start in the nightcap of the Saturday doubleheader (4/12).
GOLDEN EAGLES SWEPT ASIDE
UCSD swept a split-venue, four-game series from Cal State L.A., April 3-5. The Tritons overturned 3-0 deficits in each of the first two primetime meetings in La Jolla, winning 6-3 and then 4-3 in walk-off fashion. They scored three in the ninth in the latter affair, capped by a two-run single by Jack Larsen. UCSD then took both ends of the Saturday doubleheader in Los Angeles. A season-high 19 hits led to a 13-2 demolition in the opener. Troy Cruz then tossed his second career seven-inning shutout in the nightcap as the Tritons won, 2-0. It marked the second of three CCAA sweeps for UCSD in 2014.
LA FACE NAMED CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nick La Face was selected on March 10 as the CCAA Baseball Player of the Week for the week of March 3-9. La Face, a native of North Hollywood (Notre Dame HS), continued his hot start to his fifth and final season as a Triton, leading UCSD to a four-game, split-venue CCAA series sweep over Cal State Dominguez Hills. He hit .545 (6-for-11) with eight walks for a .737 on-base percentage and two doubles for a .727 slugging percentage. La Face started all four games, scored four runs and drove in seven. He was the second Triton to earn a weekly conference honor after Justin Rahn on Feb. 3.
DIVISION II ERA SINGLE-GAME STRIKEOUT KING
Sophomore right-hander Justin Donatella struck out a career-high 13 over a career-long 8.1 innings (3 H, 0 BB) in a 1-0 home victory against Cal State Dominguez Hills on Thursday, March 6. The strikeout total was a UCSD program record in the NCAA Division II era (since 2001). Matt Rossman struck out 12 over a remarkable 11.0 innings against Central Missouri at the 2010 NCAA Division II Championship in Cary, N.C., on May 24, 2010, and Jeff Rauh set down 12 on strikes in six complete frames vs. Western Oregon on 2012 Opening Day (2/3). Donatella tossed 6.2 no-hit innings before allowing a double.
UCSD put together a five-run second inning and benefitted from four errors in posting a second successive shutout victory against Cal State Dominguez Hills, 7-0, at Triton Ballpark on March 7. The Tritons thus produced back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1995, having blanked the Toros in the opener of their four-game CCAA series the previous night, 1-0. In 1995, UCSD had shutout wins on the road at Concordia, 5-0, on April 3, and Southern California College (now Vanguard), 6-0, on April 5. UCSD has six shutouts in 2014, the others a 9-0 decision vs. Holy Names on Opening Day (2/2), a 12-0 road rout of Cal State East Bay (3/30), a 2-0 success in seven innings at Cal State L.A. (4/5), and a 16-0 destruction of Azusa Pacific (4/26) at home.
WEEKLY AWARD FOR RAHN
Justin Rahn's stellar Opening Day netted him the season's first CCAA Baseball Player of the Week award on Feb. 3. It was the first of his career. Rahn put UCSD on the scoreboard in both victories over Holy Names, clearing the bases with a three-run double to left in the first inning of game one and adding the first home run by a Triton in 2014, a two-run shot to center, in the second inning of the nightcap.
The Tritons are 22-1 when out-hitting the opposition, the lone loss coming at SF State, 7-6 on April 17, when they managed 13 hits to just nine by the Gators ... UCSD has yet to lose a league series in 2014, with three sweeps, a 3-1 win, and four splits ... Senior right-hander Blake Fassler, who walked just nine in 64.2 innings against 50 strikeouts for a stellar strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.56 in 2013, has gone at least 5.0 innings in 16 of his 19 starting assignments as a Triton, including eight of 10 in 2014 ... Fassler retired 16 straight SF State batters from the first to the sixth in a losing effort in game two of an April 18 doubleheader on the road... Junior left-hander Trevor Scott threw his first career complete game in the March 28 doubleheader nightcap at Cal State East Bay, tossing the full seven frames ... Redshirt freshman outfielder Brandon Shirley laced a 2-2 pitch down the left field line for a double in the eighth inning of game one of the Opening Day doubleheader with Holy Names (2/1) to punctuate the first at-bat of his Triton career ... UCSD ended then-15th-ranked and previously undefeated Cal Poly Pomona's perfect 10-0 start to the campaign with a 4-2 victory behind seven strong innings from Justin Donatella and four clutch double plays defensively in Pomona (2/20) ... UCSD is 2-1 in season openers under Eric Newman and 11-3 since moving to Division II status for 2001 ... UCSD is 2-1 in CCAA openers with Newman in charge, with back-to-back wins after a 4-1 loss to Chico State in La Jolla on Feb. 17, 2012 ... The Tritons are an even 7-7 in CCAA openers all-time (since 2001), and 7-1 with six splits in sets to begin the league season ... Having earned a third straight split with a 7-3 win in the Sunday finale on Feb. 16, UCSD still has not lost its regular-season four-game series with rival Chico State since 2007, when it dropped three of four in Chico ... Troy Cruz was named on Jan. 29 to the utility position on the 15-player NCBWA Preseason All-West Region First Team ... UCSD was picked to place sixth in the 2014 CCAA regular-season race by the league's 11 head coaches, also as announced on Jan. 29, with 2013 West Region runner-up Chico State favored for the third time in as many years to finish first, and reigning CCAA regular-season champion Cal State Monterey Bay projected for second ... All but two players on the 37-man 2014 roster, junior pitcher Alon Leichman (Kibbutz Gezer, Israel) and redshirt outfielder Tim White (Stratford, CT), are California natives ... Besides Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS), the four remaining San Diego products are fellow sophomore Adrian Orozco (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch HS), redshirt freshman Austin Hensley (San Diego/Valhalla HS) and redshirts Steven Coe (Valley Center/Valley Center HS) and Gabe Simpson (Encinitas/Cathedral Catholic HS).
UCSD's 2014 schedule consists of 46 regular-season games (following four rain cancellations with Sonoma State), including 22 at home within the friendly confines of Triton Ballpark. The Tritons have the luxury of facing the two projected favorites in the CCAA, Chico State and Cal State Monterey Bay, a combined eight times in La Jolla. UCSD plays 16 of its first 21 at home, but closes with 19 of 25 on the road. For the second year in a row, the CCAA Championship will be held at Stockton's neutral-site Banner Island Ballpark, home of the Stockton Ports, the Class A Advanced affiliate of Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics. The four-team tournament takes place May 8-11, with UCSD a five-time champion (2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).
PLENTY OF TALENT BACK
UCSD's 36-player 2014 roster features 17 letterwinners, two returning redshirts and 17 newcomers. The Tritons bring back six of nine position starters, as well as three of four starting pitchers from a year ago. Troy Cruz was the 2013 CCAA Freshman of the Year and an All-CCAA First Team honoree after a standout rookie campaign as a multiple threat on the mound, in the field and at the plate. The senior tandem of fifth-year catcher Nick La Face and fourth-year left-sided infielder Garrett Tuck were both All-West Region selections in 2012, and are each former All-CCAA First Team picks in their own right, with Tuck in 2012 and La Face in 2011. Tuck earned that distinction at shortstop, and looks to be back at that position after spending 2013 at third base. Spencer Frazier and Justin Rahn are two more senior veterans who garnered All-CCAA honorable mention in 2012. On the mound, right-handers Cruz, Blake Fassler and Dan Kolodin were in the rotation in 2013. Senior right-hander Scott Zeman and junior left-hander Chad Rieser are again available out of the bullpen.
There are 17 players new to the Triton roster. Junior transfers Erik Lewis and Michael Mann are everyday starters at second and first base, respectively. Lewis spent the 2013 season at Fullerton College after beginning his college career at Division I Big West Conference power Long Beach State. Mann is from Diablo Valley College. Tyler Howsley, Jack Larsen and Christian Leung are three true freshmen who have earned their college debuts and started several games. Larsen and Howsley were teammates at Capistrano Valley High School. Three new arms to see the mound this season have been Eric Moersen, a sophomore left-handed specialist who transferred from the University of Utah, and junior right-handers Javier Carrillo Jr., and Dean Friedberg. Moersen, who redshirted at Utah in 2012, needed 12 pitches to retire the first three batters he faced over three appearances, with two on strikes. Eight newcomers are taking a redshirt year.
HEAD COACH ERIC NEWMAN
Eric Newman is in his third season as the UCSD head coach. The 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year has an 88-61 record (69-43 CCAA) in charge of the Tritons and 183-133 overall in his five 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 berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional. He previously spent three years at the helm of Dallas Baptist University from 2004-07.
UCSD Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for UCSD apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.
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With this week's series against Cal State San Bernardino signalling the end of the 2014 regular season, UCSD will travel all day by bus to Stockton on Wednesday, May 7, for the CCAA Championship at Banner Island Ballpark, May 8-11.