LA JOLLA, Calif. - A split against Sonoma State Saturday won UC San Diego its fourth consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Baseball Tournament title Saturday at Triton Ballpark. More importantly, the Tritons earned the league's automatic berth in next week's NCAA Division II West Regional.
UCSD (32-22) entered the day with a 2-0 record in the double elimination tourney, picking up a win over Sonoma State Thursday and another versus Chico State Friday to advance to Saturday's championship round. Sonoma State (28-25) fought its way through the losers' bracket . The Tritons lost the first game, 9-7, but rebounded to down the Seawolves, 7-3, in the clinching contest.
"It's a great feeling," said first-year UC San Diego head coach Eric Newman. "I'm so proud of our players. They really had to battle for it today. Sonoma State made us earn it, and [we give] credit to them for coming all the way through the losers' bracket the way they did."
Seven Tritons were named to the All-Tournament Team, including sophomore Nick La Face, who was also tabbed the Most Outstanding Player. The designated hitter/catcher was 7-for-15 (.467) at the plate with three runs scored, four RBIs, three doubles and three walks. He finished the tourney with a .667 slugging percentage and a .556 on-base percentage.
The participants, pairings and host school for the West Regional will be announced at 7 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 13 at NCAA.com.
Game One (Sonoma State 9, UC San Diego 7): Sonoma State, the tournament's No. 3 seed, defeated the top-seeded Tritons in a 9-7 thriller in the championship game to force a second contest to decide the tourney's champion.
Down 7-4 after seven innings of play, the Tritons tied the game up with three runs in the top of the eighth, but the resilient Seawolves came right back to score a pair in the bottom half when Steven Filippi knocked a two-out, two-run double to right. UCSD had two runners on base in the ninth but weren't able to plate any more runs.
Jackson Stogner led the Seawolves on offense, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a fourth-inning, three-run home run. The second baseman also scored a run. Jeff Johnson also had three hits and scored twice.
For the Tritons, center fielder Danny Susdorf had a team-high three hits while collecting two RBIs and contributing a run. Left fielder Justin Rahn was 2-for-4 with a run scored and third baseman Sam Michaels finished with a run, two RBIs and two walks.
The teams traded single runs in the third inning before the Seawolves exploded for five runs in the fourth to take a 6-1 advantage. Joel Thys had a two-run single before Stogner went yard down the right field line.
UCSD got three runs back in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Susdorf, a failed pick off attempt that went for an error and an RBI ground out by first baseman Richard Seigel.
A lone run in the bottom of the seventh put the Seawolves up 7-4.
UCSD loaded the bases in the eighth with one out on two walks and a hit by pitch. Michaels singled to drive in two and a sacrifice fly by second baseman Spencer Frazier tied the game at 7-7.
Reliever Taylor Herbert earned his second win of the tournament to climb to 4-5 on the season. Senior Elias Tuma (0-3) took the loss. The senior came on in the seventh inning to make his 81st career appearance, tying the UCSD record.
Game Seven (UC San Diego 7, Sonoma State 3): Garrett Schwartz banged a two-run homer in the first inning of game two for Sonoma State, but UCSD responded with three runs in the bottom half and would never trail again.
Senior Greg Selarz (5-5) turned in a strong start for the Tritons. He went eight innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking none. Richard Kilbury and Tony York held the Seawolves scoreless over the final two innings.
Susdorf and shortstop Garrett Tuck each had two hits and an RBI for the Tritons. Tuck scored twice and stole two bases, while Seigel also crossed the plate twice.
In the bottom of the first, Susdorf led off with a single to center. Seigel walked and Tuck had an RBI single to center that scored Susdorf. A walk issued to La Face loaded the bases. Left fielder Gregg Ringold was hit by a pitch, forcing in Seigel from third to tie the game at 2-2. Right fielder Scott Liske then put the Tritons ahead for good with a sacrifice fly to left that plated Tuck.
Still leading 3-2 after three innings of play, the Tritons put together three-straight frames in which they scored at least one run. The highlight of the stretch occurred in the fifth when La Face doubled down the right-field line to score Seigel, giving UCSD a 5-2 lead.
After giving up a single to lead off the ninth, York got Filippi to line into a double play and retired the next batter on a fly out to end the game and send UCSD to its sixth straight NCAA Division II West Regional.
Joey Van Cleave (1-2) was credited with the loss after giving up six runs (five earned), five hits and three walks while striking out two. At the plate, Schwartz was 3-for-4, while Thys had two hits.
All-CCAA Tournament Team
Pitcher: Greg Selarz - UCSD
Pitcher: Harmen Sidhu - SSU
Catcher: Brett Levy - UCSD
First Base: Jeff Johnson - SSU
Second Base: Jackson Stogner - SSU
Shortstop: Garrett Tuck - UCSD
Third Base: Sam Michaels - UCSD
Outfield: Steven Filippi - SSU
Outfield: Scott Liske - UCSD
Outfield: Danny Susdorf - UCSD
Designated Hitter: Nick La Face - UCSD
Most Outstanding Player: Nick La Face - UCSD
- UCSDtritons.com -