Thursday, May 11 • 3 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Friday, May 12 • TBD
Game 51 - Final
Saturday, May 13 • 12 p.m. (4 p.m. if necessary)
The 21st-ranked University of California San Diego baseball program is headed back to Stockton for a fourth successive May, for the 2017 edition of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship. The six-team, double-elimination event runs Wednesday through Saturday, May 10-13, at Banner Island Ballpark, home of the minor-league Stockton Ports. The third-seeded Tritons (32-15, 24-13 CCAA) travel north by bus on Tuesday, May 9, departing East Campus early that morning, and take on No. 4 seed Stanislaus State (34-16, 23-15 CCAA) to begin the tournament in primetime at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10. UCSD placed second in the CCAA South Division for a second straight year. Stan State was second in the North.
UCSD is making a fourth consecutive CCAA Championship appearance. If the Tritons win on Wednesday night, they would play again at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 11. If they lose their opener, they would face an elimination game on Thursday at 3 p.m. Saturday's final is set for a 12 p.m. start, with an if-necessary second meeting slated for 4 p.m. The CCAA tournament champion once again earns the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship. Wednesday will mark the second CCAA tournament matchup between the Tritons and Warriors. Stanislaus State walked off a 6-5 victor in 10 innings in a 2008 elimination game in Chico to knock UCSD out.
The Tritons are third in the CCAA in batting (.310) and team ERA (3.69), and second in fielding percentage (.974). Stan State is 10th in hitting (.266), second in ERA (3.17) and third in fielding (.967). UCSD is now tied with Cal State LA for the most home runs in the league at 38 apiece.
General admission tickets for the 2017 CCAA Baseball Championship at Stockton's Banner Island Ballpark are $9. Students with identification and seniors (65 and over) can gain entry for $5, and children (3-12) for $3. Tickets are good for an all-day pass (three games, with two at the most on Saturday, May 13), and will be available on game days at Banner Island Ballpark. The ballpark was built in 2005 with a capacity of 5,200. Details here.
For UCSD's opener at the 2017 CCAA Championship on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., Stanislaus State will provide a video stream, with commentary, here. The broadcast will be free in standard definition, with a pay-per-view high-definition option. Separate audio coverage can be found here, and the game can be heard locally in the Turlock area on KEFC 100.5 FM. Veteran Chico State play-by-play voice Michael Baca will also be on hand for the top-seeded Wildcats' activity (audio/video here). Cal State Monterey Bay will have a video stream with Corey Neal on the call, for a fee of $9.95. All games in Stockton will have live stats. Fans can access all live coverage from the UCSD Schedule/Results page. Starting lineups, live updates and other gameday news and notes can be found by following Triton Baseball on the UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons).
CCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
UCSD is making its 13th appearance at the CCAA Championship in its 17th season as a league member. The Tritons are record six-time champions, having most recently earned the banner at Banner Island Ballpark in 2014. They also won titles for four straight years from 2009-12, after an initial success in 2005. They have posted a record of 25-16 (.610) at the event. Stanislaus State (1-4, .200) is making its third trip (2003 and 2008), with its only CCAA tourney success in fact against UCSD, 6-5 in 10 innings in a 2008 elimination game in Chico. One-time champion (2015) Cal Poly Pomona (12-9, .571) is making its sixth appearance, and like the Tritons, fourth in a row. Cal State Monterey Bay (2-6, .250) has earned its fourth berth, the others coming in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Defending champion Chico State is a four-time winner (2000, 2004 and 2006), and Cal State LA the 2013 winner. The first of 18 previous editions of the event took place in 1999. This week will mark the seventh time the city of Stockton has hosted it, and fourth at Banner Island Ballpark. The 2010, 2011 and 2015 installments were at the University of the Pacific's Klein Family Field, with UCSD the champion in 2010 and 2011. The Tritons went 6-2 over those two title runs, and are 11-6 (.647) at the event in Stockton, including 4-2 at Banner Island Ballpark. Three of the five times that the Tritons qualified for a CCAA tourney in Stockton, they have returned to La Jolla with the banner.
UCSD AGAINST THE CCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD
|1. CSUC||2. CPP||4. STAN||5. CSUMB||6. CSULA|
|Series||(41-8, 34-4)||(31-18, 27-11)||(34-16, 23-15)||(28-22, 20-18)||(26-22, 19-19)|
STILL FOURTH IN SECOND NCAA REGIONAL LISTING
The second release of the all-important NCAA regional rankings occurred on Wednesday, May 3, with UCSD staying fourth in the West behind Chico State, Azusa Pacific and Dixie State. The Tritons are ahead of California Baptist, Point Loma, Stanislaus State and Cal Poly Pomona. The top seven are unchanged from the initial poll. The third edition will come this Wednesday, May 10. The top six teams in the final version on May 14, make up the NCAA Division II Championship West Regional. The winner of the 2017 CCAA Championship, May 10-13, earns an automatic berth into the West Regional, as does the regular-season champion of the Pacific West Conference. APU (25-7) and Dixie State (24-7-1) are vying for that spot, separated by just half a game. A four-game showdown in Azusa, May 8-10, will decide that race. The expanded (from 48 in 2015) 56-team field for the 2017 NCAA Division II Championship will be unveiled at 7 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 14, and will be streamed live on NCAA.com.
UCSD was at No. 24 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II preseason top 40 (Dec. 21), and surged up to No. 7 in the first in-season edition on Feb. 27. The Tritons were No. 5 on March 20, a season-best No. 4 on April 10, and now at No. 21. They did not appear in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Perfect Game preseason listings, and are currently receiving votes and No. 19, respectively, in those polls. UCSD was No. 24 in the D2 Baseball News preseason ranking, up as high as No. 2 on April 10, and now No. 13.
|Tritons in the Polls|
|Collegiate Baseball Newspaper||No. 21||May 8||Poll||N/A|
|D2 Baseball News||No. 13||May 9||Poll||N/A|
|NCBWA||RV||May 9||Poll||No. 6|
|Perfect Game||No. 19||May 10||Poll||N/A|
LAST TIME OUT
UCSD won its last series of the regular season, three games to one over Cal State San Bernardino. The Tritons outscored the Coyotes, 55-10, in taking the first three meetings, but dropped the shortened finale, 11-3, after surrendering an eight-run eighth. UCSD batted around seven times in all over the first three blowouts, by scores of 19-5 and 16-4 in San Bernardino, and then 20-1 to begin Saturday's Senior Day doubleheader in La Jolla. They did so on 55 hits, producing a nine-run fifth in Thursday's opener and 11-run fifth on Friday. UCSD blasted multiple home runs in each contest, and 11 in all for the series, including a season-best five in game one. JD Hearn hit three for the weekend, with Jack Larsen and Brandon Shirley adding two apiece. The Tritons added 17 doubles, slugging at a .702 clip.
POSTSEASON TICKET PUNCHED
The results of Saturday, April 22, clinched a fourth straight CCAA Championship berth for UCSD, and fifth postseason appearance in head coach Eric Newman's six years in charge. The Tritons will thus open the six-team, double-elimination tournament this Wednesday, May 10, at Stockton's neutral-site Banner Island Ballpark. Defending champion Chico State, the 2017 regular-season victor, is the top seed. The third-seeded Tritons are also joined by second seed Cal Poly Pomona, No. 4 seed Stanislaus State, fifth-seeded Cal State Monterey Bay and sixth seed Cal State LA.
DURNA LOCKED IN
Sophomore first baseman Tyler Durna is second in the league and 57th nationally with his .399 batting average. After beginning the year 1-for-11 to see that mark at .091, the Chino Hills native has really turned it on, going 60-for-142 (.423) with nine doubles, two triples, six home runs and 33 RBI over the Tritons' last 38 games, all of them starts at first. He has reached base in all 38 and produced at least one hit in 36, including 28 straight from March 4-April 29 for UCSD's best hit streak of the NCAA Division II era, going back at least through the 2001 season. Durna had multiple hits in 16 of those 28 contests. He is third in the CCAA in both slugging (.614) and on-base percentage (.478).
LARSEN JOINS 200-HIT CLUB
Jack Larsen has appeared in 111 consecutive games, all of them starts in either right or center field. The series finale against CSUSB on May 6 marked his 200th game played. His third home run of 2017, a solo blast with two outs in the second inning of the March 17 doubleheader nightcap at SF State, gave him 200 hits for his four-year Triton career. Larsen, who has worn the No. 16 jersey throughout his days on the La Jolla campus, thus became the 16th player in program history to achieve that milestone. He now has 231 hits, 10th-most in program history, with 21 of them home runs, eighth all-time. Larsen's first long ball of the year was a three-run shot at Concordia Irvine (2/11), pushing him over the 100 RBI mark. He now has 140, No. 10 at UCSD. He is also third all-time with 125 walks, including a league-best 37 this season. Larsen successfully stole second base on his first attempt of 2017 (2/12), to make him 21-for-21 in steals as a Triton, prior to finally getting caught for the first time in the fourth inning of a doubleheader nightcap against Western Oregon (2/16). He has four outfield assists, increasing his career total to 17. Larsen has handled all 118 defensive chances cleanly in 2017, and 149 straight going back to his last error on April 23, 2016.
Tyler Durna's 28-game hit streak that was snapped in the seven-inning doubleheader nightcap and series finale against Cal State LA, tied for third-longest in the unofficial CCAA record book. He was intentionally walked in his final at-bat of that contest, however, in the seventh, and has since extend his reached-base streak to 38, UCSD's best since Jeff Riddle's 41-gamer in 2004, which is the longest of the program's Division II era. Jack Larsen, meanwhile, had his career-best 12-game hit streak also ended in that same game with CSULA. He, too, advanced his reached-base streak, via walk, and is now at 29 straight.
TRITONS STRONG IN AO STARTS
UCSD is 10-2 in Adrian Orozco starts, with six wins in series clinchers and four in rubber games. He had earned the winning decision in five consecutive starts prior to taking a no decision in the Tritons' 2-1 loss in the seven-inning doubleheader nightcap at Cal Poly Pomona on April 15. Orozco is 8-0 over his 12 starts and 68.0 innings, with a 2.91 ERA and 54 strikeouts. Orozco paces the team in wins, innings, strikeouts and strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.15). The Chula Vista product has gone at least 5.0 innings in every outing. Check out the April 7 San Diego Union-Tribune feature on him here.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
UCSD is 32-8 in 2017 in games in which it scores three or more runs, after finishing the 2016 season at 30-6 in such contests. The Tritons won their first 16 games a year ago when tallying at least three, and first 13 this season prior to an 8-6 defeat to CSUMB in 10 innings on March 11. Conversely, they are 0-7 in 2017 when managing fewer than three runs. UCSD was 1-15 with two runs or less last season. The Tritons have produced five runs or more in 31 of their 32 wins in the current campaign.
IRON MAN TY
Fourth-year senior Tyler Howsley has appeared in 156 consecutive games for UC San Diego, dating back to Opening Day in 2015. He had started 111 straight contests, all at shortstop, before coming off of the bench in the doubleheader nightcap with Concordia (OR) on Feb. 4. The first game of the May 6 doubleheader against CSUSB marked his 200th career appearance. In the fifth inning of game one of the March 17 doubleheader at SF State, Howsley was credited with his first error since Feb. 5, snapping a string of 75 consecutive defensive chances handled cleanly. He is second in the CCAA and tied for 11th nationally with 12 sacrifice hits. Howsley's 33 career sacrifices have moved him ahead of another great Triton shortstop, Vance Albitz, for the most in UCSD's Division II era (since 2001). His first career home run was in fact a grand slam (watch) to erase a 3-0 deficit in the fourth inning of a come-from-behind 10-8 win over CSUDH (4/22).
UCSD has 38 home runs this season, including eight over a stretch of five games ahead of the Chico State series, and a remarkable 11 in the four-game series against CSUSB, May 4-6. The Tritons now rank in a tie for first in the category in the CCAA with Cal State LA. Coming over 47 games, this is the most home runs by a UCSD squad since the Tritons blasted 60 over 62 contests in 2010. Jack Larsen leads the team and is fourth in the CCAA with his career-best nine home runs, with JD Hearn at seven and Tyler Durna at six.
BIG SERIES, BIG SENIOR SEASON FOR SHIRLEY
Fifth-year senior centerfielder Brandon Shirley went 10-for-19 and posted multiple hits in all four games of the Cal State San Marcos series, Feb. 23-25, scoring six times with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. He is currently hitting .323, leads the team with a career-best 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts, and has handled all but one of his 115 chances cleanly in center (career-high .991), including a team-best five outfield assists. Shirley in fact has produced single-season career bests in a number of categories, including average, runs (40), hits (54), home runs (4), RBI (29) and steals.
Fifth-year senior Troy Cruz made his return to the diamond in the Feb. 5 series finale with Concordia (OR). The 2014 All-American and three-time All-CCAA pick out of Chula Vista, who was limited to just three appearances in 2016 before being shut down due to injury, flamed through the top of the ninth inning, striking out the side before earning the win as UCSD rallied with three runs in the home half. Cruz threw just 12 pitches, nine of them for strikes. He picked up another winning decision in his second relief outing at Concordia Irvine (2/11). On Feb. 24, Cruz tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save since his freshman year back on Feb. 28, 2013. He added a second save with two shutout frames at Cal State East Bay (3/4), and wins at SF State (3/17) and Stanislaus State (4/1), the latter through four complete innings of scoreless relief. Cruz threw up four more zeroes for a save and combined shutout against No. 1 Chico State (4/8). He returned to the rotation on April 20, and of his three starts, has won the last two, first scattering two hits over a season-long 7.0 scoreless frames at Cal State LA (4/27).
MORE HAPPY RETURNS
During game one of the March 11 doubleheader against Cal State Monterey Bay, Kyle Goodbrand made his return to the mound, having been hit in the face by a hard liner in the Feb. 16 nightcap versus Western Oregon. He then tossed 3.2 no-hit frames, retiring 11 of 12 batters faced, again in relief at SF State (3/16), before notching his first winning decision as a Triton with five more shutout innings in a starting role versus Sonoma State (3/25). Fellow redshirt junior right-hander John Erhardt took the hill in the finale at SF State (3/17) for 0.2 innings, having made just two appearances, both starts, in 2016 before being shut down and eventually having Tommy John surgery. Erhardt was the Tritons' Opening Day starter a season ago. He had not pitched in a game since a short stint at Cal Poly Pomona on March 21, 2016.
UCSD AMONG STATISTICAL LEADERS
The UCSD pitching staff currently ranks 27th in the NCAA Division II in ERA (3.69), 37th in WHIP (1.37) and 25th in walks allowed per nine innings (2.97). The Tritons are sixth in sacrifice flies (31), seventh in sacrifice bunts (55), ninth in fielding percentage (.974), 18th in double plays (44) and double plays per game (0.94), 28th in walks (212), 30th in win-loss percentage (.681), 43rd in scoring (7.4 runs per game), 47th in on-base percentage (.401) and 50th in runs (346). UCSD leads the CCAA in home runs (tied-38), home runs per game (0.81), runs, sac flies, scoring and slugging percentage (.455).
UCSD finished with a series record in 2017 of 11-2-1. The Tritons had sweeps over Western Oregon (shortened 2-0), Cal State San Marcos (4-0) and SF State (3-0). They began the year with back-to-back 3-1 victories over Concordia (OR) and Concordia Irvine, added one of the come-from-behind variety against Cal State Dominguez Hills, and another most recently against CSUSB. UCSD topped Cal State Monterey Bay, Sonoma State and Chico State at home and Stanislaus State on the road, 2-1, all four after having lost game one. The lone split (1-1) came in a shortened set at Cal State East Bay, with 3-1 losses to CCAA South foes Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State LA. The Tritons are the only team to have beaten repeat league champion Chico State (11-1-1) in a series in 2017.
HOME SWEET HOME
UCSD finished 18-9 in La Jolla in 2017. The Tritons reached 20 home wins for the second time under sixth-year head coach Eric Newman a season ago, going 22-9. The Tritons are 113-56 (.669) at Triton Ballpark under Newman.
FIRST WIN OVER NO. 1 SINCE 2009
UCSD's 7-0 shutout of Chico State in game two of the April 8 doubleheader in La Jolla marked its first win over the top-ranked team in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll since March 15, 2009, when the No. 23 Tritons completed a four-game home sweep over No. 1 Cal State Stanislaus, 6-5. Scores of the first three games on March 13 and 14 were 3-2 (11), 8-3 and 6-0. UCSD had last played a top-10 side a year ago, knocking off No. 10 Cal Poly Pomona, 6-2, in a non-conference meeting in La Jolla on Feb. 14.
LOTS OF STRIKEOUTS
Redshirt senior Adrian Orozco's 12-strikeout performance on March 12 against visiting Cal State Monterey Bay, was the best of his career at any level. It was the most strikeouts by a Triton, and in fact the first double-digit output, since former All-American ace Justin Donatella also had a dozen in a home meeting with CSUMB on April 10, 2015. The total fell one shy of matching Donatella's single-game record for the program's Division II era (since 2001), from 2014. Four Triton arms combined for 16 punchouts against the Otters, the team's first double-digit effort of 2017 and most since another 16 in the 2012 opener in La Jolla against Western Oregon on Feb. 3.
NINE-GAME WIN STREAK
The 6-1 loss in game two of the March 4 doubleheader at Cal State East Bay snapped UCSD's nine-game win streak, its longest since a 19-gamer in 2011, from April 9 to May 13.
UCSD has one walk-off victory in 2017, courtesy of redshirt senior Brandon Shirley's two-out, two-run double to plate Chad Crosbie and Steven Coe on Feb. 5. It was Shirley's first career walk-off hit. Coe now has been involved in five, as the winning run in three, and the deciding hit in two.
• Feb. 5: UCSD 9, CU 8 (Watch)
Shirley walked off Concordia (OR) to clinch the season-opening series, his two-out, two-run double finding the base of the wall in left center and chasing freshman pinch-runner Crosbie home ahead of Coe from first for the winner. Coe's RBI single had moved the Tritons back within a run.
UCSD's 11-run fifth at Cal State San Bernardino on May 5 was its largest since an 11-run ninth in a 17-3 win at SF State on April 18, 2014 ... CSUSB's eight-run eighth (5/6) has been the biggest frame against UCSD this year ... The Tritons' five errors on Feb. 5 were there most since being charged with 11 in a 21-10 loss at Cal State East Bay on March 1, 2015 ... UCSD's starters' ERA over the opening weekend was a miniscule 0.47, as Preston Mott, Kyle Mora, Jack Rupe, Jr., and Adrian Orozco combined to allow a solitary earned run over their 19.0 innings ... Ten players have made their college and/or Triton debuts in 2017, all but one over the opening weekend, in Keenan Brigman, Chad Crosbie, Alex Eliopulos, Kyle Goodbrand, Blaine Jarvis, Nick Kitzmann, Jesse Moore, Steven Schuknecht and Ted Stuka, with J.T. Williams returning from injury on March 26 ... UCSD is 5-1 in season openers under Eric Newman and 14-3 since moving to Division II in 2001 ... UCSD is 5-1 in CCAA openers with Newman in charge, with five straight wins after a 4-1 loss to Chico State in La Jolla on Feb. 17, 2012 ... The Tritons are 10-7 in CCAA openers all-time (since 2001), and 10-1 with six splits in sets to begin the league season ... UCSD was picked to place third overall and second in the South in the 2017 CCAA race by the league's head coaches, as announced on Jan. 27, with defending CCAA tournament champion Chico State the favorite for the fifth time in six years.
BRIG'S BIG HITS EARN HIM WEEKLY DISTINCTION
Keenan Brigman went just 2-for-6 in the Chico State series, but those two hits couldn't have been much bigger, driving in five runs and netting the redshirt freshman utility his first CCAA Player of the Week award on April 11. Both knocks came with two outs, to the opposite field in right. Brigman produced a two-run single to round out a five-run first inning in the doubleheader nightcap on April 8, a 7-0 shutout. Then in the rubber game on April 9, his pinch-hit, three-run triple turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 advantage in the fifth. UCSD went on to win, 6-4. The San Jose native more than doubled his season RBI output that weekend, from four to nine. Brigman has started at four defensive positions during his first on-the-field season of college baseball (2B, LF, SS, RF).
DURNA A TWO-TIME CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tyler Durna was named for the first time as the CCAA Player of the Week on March 7, going 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run, two runs and three RBI in the doubleheader split at Cal State East Bay. The sophomore first baseman picked up his second award on March 28. In the series win over Sonoma State, Durna hit a team-best .545 (6-for-11) and slugged 1.273 with team highs of six runs, two home runs and five RBI. He was 2-for-3 with two home runs, one walk, a career-high four runs and career-high-matching four RBI in the doubleheader nightcap on March 26. It was his first career multi-home run game.
LARSEN NAMED CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jack Larsen on Feb. 14 was named UCSD's first CCAA Player of the Week for 2017, earning the award for the fourth time. He hit .429 (6-for-14) with six runs and five RBI in a 3-1 series victory over Concordia. Larsen launched his first home run of the year, a three-run shot, in a 7-6 win on Feb. 11, and reached base safely in all five plate appearances in a 5-4 decision the next day.
UCSD placed second in the CCAA in 2016 behind now-two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona (26-11) with a league mark of 20-17, qualifying for a third consecutive CCAA Championship. The fourth-seeded Tritons had a 31-21 record after a 1-2 showing in Stockton.
UCSD's 39-player 2017 roster features 21 letterwinners, four returning redshirts and 14 newcomers. The Tritons return all but two primary position player starters and all but one starter on the mound. Among those back are fourth-year starters Jack Larsen in the outfield and Tyler Howsley at shortstop. Larsen is a two-time All-CCAA First Team selection who added NCBWA All-West Region honorable mention as a junior, while Howsley has a pair of All-CCAA honorable mentions. Joining them are the likes of senior infielder JD Hearn, veteran outfielders Brandon Shirley and Christian Leung, catcher Steven Coe, Justin Flatt, Tyler Durna and Tim White.
In his sixth season in charge, Eric Newman welcomes back a large bulk of a pitching staff that saw 35 of 52 starts made by true freshmen in 2016. All are in the stable with a full year of college baseball under their belts, that group being made up of Brent Bell, Jonah Dipoto, Kyle Lucke, Kyle Mora and Preston Mott. Bullpen options are Jack Rupe, Jr., Erik Amundson, Cameron Kurz and Tim Nelson.
UCSD will be bolstered by the fifth-year return of Troy Cruz, a 2014 All-American and three-time All-CCAA selection in a dual role as a pitcher and hitter who was only able to make three appearances in 2016 before being shut down due to injury.
There is plenty of excitement for a group of transfers which includes Keenan Brigman (Pacific), Alex Eliopulos (San Diego Mesa College), Kyle Goodbrand (Irvine Valley College), Jesse Moore (Edmonds CC), Adrian Orozco (San Diego State) and J.T. Williams (Mt. Hood CC). Orozco is a former two-year Triton reliever (2013-14) who spent the past two seasons at Southwestern College and SDSU.
UCSD's 2017 schedule consists of 47 regular-season games, including 27 at home within the friendly confines of Triton Ballpark. Three have been lost to weather. After contesting eight of 10 non-conference dates in La Jolla, the Tritons started league play with a split-venue, four-game sweep over crosstown rival Cal State San Marcos. UCSD bested defending CCAA tournament champion and league favorite Chico State in a three-gamer at home, April 8-9. The Tritons faced two-time reigning region champion and CCAA South favorite Cal Poly Pomona in another split-venue, four-game series, April 13-15. The CCAA Championship will be held in the neutral-site city of Stockton for the fifth year in a row, returning to Banner Island Ballpark of the minor-league Stockton Ports, May 10-13. UCSD has clinched its fourth successive trip.
YOUNG PITCHING FROM 2016 BACK WITH EXPERIENCE
In 2016, 35 of 52 games for UCSD were started on the mound by true freshmen, including all three games of the CCAA Championship. Despite that, the Triton pitching staff compiled an earned-run average of 3.91, good enough for second in the CCAA and 30th nationally in Division II. UCSD has thus placed among the top three in the CCAA in ERA in four of the past five years. All of those arms return, in the form of Brent Bell, Jonah Dipoto, Kyle Lucke, Kyle Mora and Preston Mott.
UCSD continues a tradition of being strong defensively. The Tritons posted a .970 fielding percentage for the second straight year in 2016, leading the CCAA and ranking 20th in Division II. They were second in the CCAA, behind only Cal Poly Pomona (.971), and 21st in Division II, in 2015. UCSD has been in the top 30 nationally and top three in the conference in fielding for each of the past seven seasons. The Tritons were also second in the CCAA (behind Chico State) in 2014 with a .974 clip, and fifth in the country. In 2013, they were second in the league behind Chico State and 11th nationally (.972). They were 29th in Division II in 2012 (.966) and third in the conference. UCSD led the nation with a Division II- and school-record mark of .984 (1611-673-38) in 2010 and was fifth in 2011 (.972), pacing the CCAA both years. No program in the country has even fielded at a .980 rate since 2010.
The CCAA baseball landscape remains largely the same for 2017, with two geographically-balanced, six-team divisions. The top three squads in the final standings of each division will again make up the CCAA Championship field. Second-year member Cal State San Marcos, UCSD's crosstown foe and South opponent, is still ineligible for postseason play. The CCAA maintains a 38-game league slate, made up of a four-game series within divisions, and three-gamers across divisions. The automatic qualifier into the NCAA Championship is still the winner of the CCAA tournament, which remains a six-team, double-elimination event over four days. New this year, however, is that the top seed in that tourney will be crowned regular-season champion.
UCSD returns five all-conference performers from 2016 in fourth-year standouts Jack Larsen (first team for second straight year), Tyler Howsley (honorable mention for second straight year) and Steven Coe (honorable mention), and sophomore right-handers Kyle Mora (second team) and Tim Nelson (honorable mention) ... Larsen also picked up NCBWA All-West Region honorable mention in 2016 ... Howsley and Larsen played together at Mission Viejo's Capistrano Valley High School, as did Nelson and Tyler Durna at Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills ... All but three players on the 39-man 2017 roster, redshirt junior Tim White (Stratford, CT) and newcomers Jesse Moore (Port Orchard, WA) and J.T. Williams (Eagle, ID), are California natives ... There are seven San Diego products in Steven Coe (Valley Center/Valley Center HS), Troy Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS), Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Garrett Henkel (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Cameron Kurz (Encinitas/La Costa Canyon HS), Adrian Orozco (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch HS) and Jack Rupe, Jr. (San Marcos/Mission Hills HS) ... Sophomore right-hander Jonah Dipoto is the son of Jerry Dipoto, who pitched eight seasons for three Major League Baseball organizations, and is the general manager of the Seattle Mariners ... Redshirt junior transfer Kyle Goodbrand is the younger brother of former Triton ace Ryan Goodbrand (2012-13) ... Redshirt freshman transfer Keenan Brigman (UOP) is the younger brother of former USD infield standout and current Seattle Mariners minor leaguer Bryson Brigman, a third-round selection in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft who enters the 2017 season as the club's No. 17 prospect.
HEAD COACH ERIC NEWMAN
Eric Newman is in his sixth season as the UCSD head coach. The 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year has a 196-121 record (143-87 CCAA) in charge of the Tritons and 291-193 overall in his eight-plus 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 trip to the NCAA Division II West Regional. His Tritons won a record sixth conference tourney crown in May of 2014 in Stockton, to again nab the CCAA's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. With UCSD earning the region's top seed, Triton Ballpark played host to the 2014 NCAA West Regional. Newman has led the Tritons to three CCAA banners and three NCAA postseason berths in his first five years, including back-to-back appearances in West Region finals (2014-15), as well as five plus-.500 and four 30-win campaigns. He won his 100th CCAA contest at home against Cal State San Bernardino, 9-4, on Feb. 26, 2016. Newman previously went 95-72 in three seasons at the helm of Dallas Baptist University from 2005-07. He was the fifth-round draft choice of the San Diego Padres out of Texas Tech in 1994, pitching professionally for eight years with four different organizations.
Eric Newman added Justin James to his staff as the new pitching coach this off-season. James came over from his alma mater, Point Loma. J.T. Bloodworth is in his fifth season in the UCSD dugout, now in his third year as the Tritons' recruiting coordinator. Jeff Calhoon and former Triton relief pitcher (2011-12) Tony York are in their second year. Bloodworth coaches third base and Calhoon is at first base. York pursued a professional baseball career after his UCSD days and upon returning, resumed work on his bachelor's degree in psychology, completing it in March.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS
Stanislaus State (34-16, 23-15 CCAA), like UCSD, is coming off of a 3-1 series triumph to conclude the regular season. The Warriors did that on the road to end 2016 North winner, CCAA tourney finalist and NCAA West Regional participant Cal State East Bay's season in Hayward. They swept the Saturday doubleheader, 10-1 and 3-1 in seven innings, and thus enter the postseason on a two-game win streak. Stan State won its last four sets in a row after dropping back-to-back three-gamers to UCSD and Cal State San Marcos in early April. The Warriors have taken 14 of their last 16 in all, and are 15-8 outside of Turlock. Kenny Leonesio is in his 15th season as the Stan State head coach.
UCSD is 46-28 all-time against Stanislaus and 46-21 since joining the CCAA for the 2001 campaign, including 20-11 in La Jolla (5-2 with one split in CCAA sets), 26-9 in Turlock (8-1 in league sets), and 0-1 in Chico (2008 CCAA tournament). The Tritons rallied to win this year's regular-season series in Turlock, 2-1 (3-6, 8-5, 7-3), after dropping the opener. They had won nine straight before the Warriors narrowly salvaged the finale of the four-game set in Turlock in 2015, 2-1. UCSD won two out of three in La Jolla a year ago, sweeping the doubleheader (11-10, 10-2) and dropping the finale (11-8). In 2015 they had blanked Stan State in the first three tilts, by scores of 11-0, 10-0, and 2-0 in seven innings. The Tritons have taken the season series in each of the last 10 years, with a four-game sweep in Turlock in 2014 (13-4, 5-4, 10-1, 4-3) following back-to-back 3-1 successes. The 2013 matchup in La Jolla featured a pair of shutouts, 4-0 and 3-0 (seven innings), an 8-7 Triton triumph in the finale, and a 4-3 loss in 10 innings. The Warriors picked up the seven-inning finale of the 2012 set in Turlock, 7-6, after UCSD had clinched the win by final scores of 3-2, 11-4 and 12-8. The lone loss snapped a 15-game win streak for the Tritons against Stanislaus going back to May 9, 2008. UCSD swept in 2009 and 2011 in La Jolla, around a sweep in Turlock in 2010. The Tritons last dropped a series to the Warriors in Turlock in 2006, 3-1.
1987 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES ANNIVERSARY
This season marks the 30-year anniversary of the 1987 squad that advanced to the program's first College World Series, that at the NCAA Division III level. Members of that team were back at Triton Ballpark to be recognized prior to the March 11 doubleheader against Cal State Monterey Bay. The 1987 Tritons posted a then-program-best 32-13 record under the direction of head coach Lyle Yates, sweeping through La Verne in the West Regional on their way to Marietta, Ohio, before being eliminated in extra innings by eventual national champion Montclair State.
TRITONS IN THE PROS
Justin Donatella (2013-15) is back with the Visalia Rawhide, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks whom he aided to the 2016 California League North title. He is the organization's No. 26 prospect, and in fact was the Rawhide's Opening Day starter in Lancaster on April 6. Tim Shibuya (2008-11) is in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization again and been assigned to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. Shibuya is in the starting rotation. A third former right-handed pitcher, Guido Knudson (2008-11), is a free agent and in his native San Diego to rehabilitate an injury.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UCSD Athletics' online partner, Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are in eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
SOCIAL MEDIA (#AllForOne)
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Regardless of what occurs in Stockton this week UC San Diego will stand by to learn its fate for the 2017 NCAA Championship. The 56-team NCAA field will be unveiled on Sunday evening, May 14, live at 7 p.m. PT on NCAA.com.