KEIZER, Ore. - A grand slam by Tyson Littlewood lifted Dixie State to a 7-3 win over 27th-ranked UC San Diego Thursday in the opening game of the NCAA Division II Baseball West Regional at Volcanoes Stadium.
Third-seeded UCSD, appearing in its sixth consecutive regional, fell to 32-23 with the loss. DSC, the No. 2 seed, improved to 33-18. The Tritons will face host and No. 1 seed Western Oregon Friday at 1 p.m. in an elimination game. In the winner's bracket, Dixie State will take on fourth-seeded Chico State, which defeated Western Oregon, 7-6, in Thursday's late game.
"We gotta come back tomorrow and play our style baseball - we gave away too many opportunities early in the game with errors and that led to runs," said first-year UCSD head coach Eric Newman. "We didn't get the outs, we were given outs."
Dixie State led 2-0 after three innings of play and 6-0 after five before UC San Diego got on the board in the top of the sixth. The Tritons ended up out-hitting the Red Storm, 8-7, but left 10 runners stranded on base.
"I think offensively we were pretty good today, I don't know if we could
hit balls any harder than we did, at people," said Newman. "Our guys stayed with it and when we got down, they
didn't quit. I give our offense a lot of credit, they kept coming, they
kept playing and having quality at-bats throughout the game."
UCSD freshman starting pitcher Trevor Scott (5-6) took the loss, surrendering six runs (four earned) on six hits while striking out seven and walking three. He threw 94 pitches on the afternoon. Reliever Justin Burns gave up one run over two innings in relief.
For DSC, starter Mike Dedrick (6-4) earned the win, allowing two runs on six hits over 6.2 innings of work. He struck out one and walked three while throwing 125 total pitches.
At the plate, second baseman Spencer Frazier and catcher Nick La Face each had two hits and a run scored for the Tritons. Frazier doubled and La Face hit a solo home run.
Center fielder Garrett Nash and right fielder Cedric Johnson also had two hits apiece for the Red Storm. Nash and left fielder Jordan Hanley each scored two runs.
"Obviously they are a great team, they play quality baseball and don't make too many mistakes, but like coach Newman said, we gave them too many runs," said La Face. "I think when we play our game and our style, we're the best team in the region."
The opening run of the game went to Dixie State in the bottom of the
first inning. Hanley drew a leadoff walk and
eventually came in to score on a sacrifice fly ball to center field by
catcher Joe Andrade. The run was unearned due to an infield error earlier in the inning.
The Red Storm took a 2-0 lead with another
unearned run in the third. Nash singled through
the left side with one out and moved to second on a single by Johnson. Triton first baseman Richard Seigel then made a tough catch on a foul fly ball for the second out. However, with both runners tagging up on the play, Seigel attempted to get Johnson at second base but his throw was errant, allowing Nash to come around and score.
A walk and back-to-back singles loaded the bases before Littlewood mashed his grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the Red Storm up 6-0. The right-handed first baseman drilled a one out, 0-1 offering from Scott over the left field fence and onto the grassy knoll for his team-leading sixth long ball of the season.
The Tritons got a run back in the top of the sixth. With two outs and no runners on base, La Face homered to left on a 2-0 pitch from Dedrick. It was La Face's fifth home run of the season, the most by any Triton.
The teams traded runs in the seventh. With two outs, Triton third baseman Sam Michaels singled through the left side of the infield and took third on a single up the middle by Frazier. Center fielder Danny Susdorf walked to load the bases and the pitch was mishandled by Andrade behind the plate, allowing Michaels to come in and cut Dixie State's lead to four at 6-2. Seigel drew a second consecutive free pass from Dedrick to load up the bases again, but UCSD couldn't plate any more runs. DSC's run came when Johnson hit a two-out home run to right off of Burns.
Following a scoreless eighth inning, Frazier led off the ninth with a double down the right field line. The next two batters were retired with Frazier taking third on a ground ball out. Shortstop Garrett Tuck drove in Frazier with an infield single, but reliever Daniel Zapata got the next batter to end the game.
"It's always nice to come out and get a lead, but we've been down runs before against Sonoma (in the conference championship game last week) and came back to tie the game," said Frazier. "Even though we got down, we were never worried, never panicked. We knew we could come back and we tried our best to do it."
It was the first time UC San Diego and Dixie State had ever met.
UCSD is 1-3 against Western Oregon this season. The Wolves are currently ranked 11th in the nation.
- UCSDtritons.com -