No. 4 Tritons Begin Road Back to Cary At Home This Week; Open West Regional #2 Friday at 3:30 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS - Fourth-ranked University of California San Diego's quest for a third successive West Region crown will begin at home this week, as selections were announced Sunday night for the 2019 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship.
As the West's No. 2 seed, UC San Diego (35-12) will host the West Regional #2. The format is new this year, with super regionals added in to mirror the Division I tournament. As such, the Tritons will welcome in just two teams this week, with the West Regional #1 taking place in Azusa at top seed Azusa Pacific. Both three-team, double-elimination sub-regionals run Thursday through Saturday, May 16-18.
The two advancing teams will face off in the West Super Regional, May 24-25, at the venue of the highest remaining seed, provided that school has submitted a bid. Should Azusa Pacific advance past Saturday, it is assured of hosting that next round.
The Tritons, regular-season victors of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) for the first time since 2012 and fifth time overall, are at-large entrants this year as two-time reigning West Region champions.
UC San Diego will play host to third-seeded city rival Point Loma Nazarene University (30-19), and sixth-seeded Montana State University Billings (33-18). Point Loma is likewise an at-large qualifier, with MSU Billings earning a first-ever NCAA Championship berth as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship winner. This is the first year that the GNAC tourney champion earns an automatic bid, and the Yellowjackets did so in Portland, Ore., on Friday.
The opening game of the West Regional #2 will pit Point Loma and MSU Billings in primetime at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 16. The loser turns around and gets the host Tritons at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17. UC San Diego will play the winner of that Thursday night contest, at 7 p.m. on Friday, regardless of what happens earlier.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to host a regional," remarked eighth-year UC San Diego head coach Eric Newman, the CCAA Coach of the Year for a second time. "We are hosting two really great programs, and are excited to bring NCAA tournament baseball to San Diego! It will be a great weekend of college baseball!"
Point Loma, the third-place finisher in the Pacific West Conference (PacWest) standings, will bring plenty of familiar faces back to Triton Ballpark. First-year head coach Justin James, a 2004 PLNU graduate and former Sea Lion pitcher, was the pitching coach under Newman the past two years, during the program's back-to-back runs to the NCAA Championship through 40-plus-win campaigns. James brought three-year Triton assistant coach and first base coach Jeff Calhoon over with him. Two UC San Diego graduates are also in that dugout in former star pitcher, 2017 graduate and 2018 assistant coach Adrian Orozco, and 2018 graduate Michael Palos. Palos was a four-year student-athlete as a catcher, who is using his final season of college eligibility at Point Loma as a graduate student in kinesiology. His pinch-hit, bases-loaded, walk-off single with one out in the ninth inning at APU sent the Tritons to Cary last May 21. Orozco is also a current PLNU graduate student. He twirled a magnificent, one-hit shutout at Azusa Pacific at the 2017 West Regional.
Azusa Pacific (36-13) is an automatic qualifier as the champion of the PacWest regular season for the third year in a row. The Cougars served as host of the then-six-team West Regional the past two years, with UC San Diego advancing both times via perfect 4-0 runs through the tourney.
APU will entertain No. 4 seed Cal State Monterey Bay (35-21), another at-large entrant out of the CCAA as its regular-season and tournament runner-up. The Otters begin with the No. 5 seed Cal Poly Pomona (29-26), an automatic qualifier through its second CCAA Tournament crown. CSUMB and CPP in fact played twice just this past Saturday in Stockton, the Broncos taking the winner-take-all rematch.
UC San Diego, Cal State Monterey Bay and CPP are representing the CCAA, with Azusa Pacific and Point Loma from the PacWest, and MSU Billings the first GNAC participant since 2012. The 'Jackets are also GNAC regular-season champs.
The most recent Collegiate Baseball Newspaper national poll on May 6 had UC San Diego at No. 4, APU at No. 21, and Point Loma receiving votes outside the top 30.
Whether at 3:30 or 7, UC San Diego will face off with Point Loma on Friday, for the first time since a 22-3 triumph on the first night of the 2018 NCAA West Regional in Azusa. That game was the Tritons' first against the Sea Lions since an elimination game of the 2015 NCAA West Regional in Walnut on May 15, 2015, a contest that UC San Diego also won, by the final score of 7-5 en route to the final. The Tritons are 46-39-1 all-time against the Sea Lions. UC San Diego has never met MSUB.
Single-day ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for college students with identification, seniors 65 and older, and children aged three to 12. Children two and under are admitted free. Tickets are good for day-of-games only, and will be available for purchase 60 minutes prior to the start of the first game each day. Parking will only be free on Saturday, May 18, with permits required for Thursday night and all day Friday.
All games of the West Regional #2 will feature a live video stream, free of charge with no subscription required, here, as well as live stats.
Of the 56 teams selected to participate on Sunday evening, 23 were automatic qualifiers. The winners of eight super regionals will be crowned regional champions and advance to Cary, N.C., for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons, back to the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The final round takes place June 1-8.
UC San Diego is making its 11th NCAA Division II Championship appearance and third straight, with a record of 34-20 (.630). The Tritons are in the field for the sixth time in head coach Eric Newman's eight years. They made six successive regionals from 2007-12, and then advanced into back-to-back West Region finals in 2014 and 2015. UC San Diego lost out to Chico State in 2014 at Triton Ballpark, and Cal Poly Pomona in 2015 at Mt. SAC's Mazmanian Field in Walnut.
UC San Diego is serving as a host of Division II West Regional activity for the third time, but first since the 2015 renovation of Triton Ballpark, with the additions of sunken dugouts, a permanent grandstand, press box, bathrooms, and a clubhouse down the right field line, among other amenities. The Tritons hosted in 2011 and 2014, with CCAA foes Sonoma State and Chico State advancing, respectively.
After a one-year NCAA hiatus in 2016, the Tritons have won the last two West Region trophies, both through perfect 4-0 runs in Azusa, to give them four in all, having made prior trips to Cary in 2009 and 2010. UC San Diego was the 2010 and 2017 national runner-up.
UC San Diego went 9-15 (.375) over five trips (1986-87-89-92-94) to the NCAA Division III Championship, with a pair of regional crowns in 1987 and 1994.
UC San Diego is a stellar 22-4 at home in 2019.
2019 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship West Regional #2 Schedule
Thursday, May 16
Game 1: No. 3 Seed Point Loma vs. No. 6 Seed MSU Billings - 7 p.m.
Friday, May 17
Game 2: No. 2 Seed UC San Diego vs. Loser Game 1 - 3:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 2 Seed UC San Diego vs. Winner Game 1 - 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 18
Game 4: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3 - 3:30 p.m.
Game 5: Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 4 (if necessary) - 7 p.m.
*If the No. 1 Seed wins Game 2, then Game 3 will become the first of a best-of-three series between the No. 1 Seed and the winner of Game 1.
*If the winner of Game 2 is the loser of Game 1, the loser of Game 2 will play the winner of Game 1.
*If three teams remain after Game 3, refer to alternate bracket to determine matchups.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
Follow the Tritons
For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons). For more information on UC San Diego Baseball, follow on Twitter (@UCSDbsb) and Instagram (@ucsd_baseball). Head coach Eric Newman is also on Twitter (@CoachEricNewman).