For the second consecutive year, Coach Dan O’Brien’s Baseball team has been left waiting on the doorstep by the NCAA Division II selection committee...The Tritons likely needed to win last week’s CCAA Championship tournament and the automatic bid that went with it to reach post-season...Instead, UCSD went 1-2 in the tourney to finish 35-24 overall after taking second in the CCAA regular season...Chico State, the conference champ and Cal State L.A., third in the regular season and the first team out of the tournament, were awarded NCAA berths.
In Thursday’s CCAA Tournament opener, UCSD parlayed eight Cal State L.A. errors into seven unearned runs and an 8-4 victory...The Tritons broke open a 4-4 ballgame with four runs in the sixth, capped by second baseman Garrett Imeson’s two-run dinger...Jose Navarro got the start and the win, but it was fellow senior T.C. Geach’s three shutout innings of relief that were the key for O’Brien’s mound corps...Center fielder Damian Fante had two of UCSD’s six hits.
Friday afternoon, the Tritons dropped a 7-5 winner’s bracket decision to eventual champion Chico State in a game they led late...Down, 2-1, through six, UCSD, which had won five of its last six against the Wildcats, took a 3-2 lead in the seventh when Fante singled to extend his hitting streak to 18 games and freshman Matt Cantele launched a ball over the right centerfield fence...The lead was short-lived, however, as Chico State hammered four extra base hits and scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning...The 7-3 margin was still in place when pinch hitter Chris Hom hit a one-out ninth inning single...The bags were soon loaded for DH Scott Clement and he stroked a two-run single off Chico reliever Marcus Martinez who had 12 straight saves and had surrendered just one run all season...Unfortunately for UC, Martinez then closed the door and put the Tritons one loss away from elimination...Freshman Trevor Decker started and went six-plus for the blue and gold.
UCSD was knocked out that evening in another topsy-turvy contest as top-seeded Cal State Dominguez Hills prevailed, 11-9...Catcher David Morehead hit a home run and drove in four and Clement accounted for three hits but it was not enough to hold off a 17-hit Toro attack that included four round trippers...The Tritons led early courtesy of Morehead’s two-run blast and moved back in front, 5-3, in the fifth when doubles by David Gomez, Josh Tanner and Clement keyed a three-run outburst...But Dominguez Hills came right back and was in control, 10-5, after seven and a half...As usual, UCSD refused to go away and RBI singles by Clement and Morehead pulled the Tritons to within a run after eight...The Toros got an insurance run in the top of the ninth and UCSD was unable to mount a final rally in the bottom half...Grubman started and freshman Jon Durket absorbed the loss in defeat...Fante ended his career with a 19-game hitting streak intact.
Six players were awarded All-CCAA status earlier in the week...Team home run leader Clement and Imeson were first team picks with Imeson also collecting CCAA Freshman of the Year honors...Fante gained second team status while freshman first baseman Cantele and pitchers Byron Grubman and Decker were all accorded honorable mention.
MEN’S TENNIS OUSTED IN FIRST ROUND AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The 2006 season concluded last Wednesday for Coach Eric Steidlmayer’s Men’s Tennis team with a 5-3 loss to No. 5 Lynn (FL) in the first round of the 16-team NCAA Division II Championships in Kansas City...The 18th-ranked Tritons wound up 14-10 on the year.
In the Lynn match, UCSD trailed, 2-1, after doubles with the No. 3 pair of Eric Rubens and Kazumi Negishi garnering the only point...The Tritons knotted things at three after getting singles victories from Brent Molden at No. 1 and Ramesh Thondapu at No. 6...Molden’s triumph, perhaps his best performance of the season, came against Lynn freshman Lorenzo Cava, one of the top 10-ranked D-II players in the nation... The Fighting Knights clinched it with decisions at Nos. 5 and 2...Rubens forced the No. 2 singles match to three sets and was actually up a break early in that contest...Erik Oijala, at No. 4, was also in the third set when the outcome was decided.
IMPROVING WOMEN’S CREW TEAM AWAITS NCAA FATE
Coach Pattie Pinkerton’s Women’s Crew team did its part last weekend at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships...Now it will wait until Tuesday to see if that effort was enough to earn an at-large berth in the NCAA Division II Championships, May 25-28, in West Windsor, NJ.
Defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Western Washington had to go all-out to top UCSD in the varsity eight...The Tritons led in the early going and were engaged throughout but the Bulldogs moved ahead in the second half of the race and a late surge produced a one-length victory...The UCSD boat, comprised of coxswain Arianna Pilram, Mel Kaelberer, Meghan Kelly, Cara Kuebert, Katie Murray, Leah Llach and recently promoted novices Alissa Kispersky, Anna Simeon and Jen Myers, clocked 6:59.0 to finish 4.1 seconds behind Western Washington.
UCSD and Western also locked horns in an even closer varsity four race...Senior Phoebe Lee coxed the quartet of Kelsey Thomas, Katie Morris, Kali Webb and Megan Hagquist to a second place finish in a school record 7:07.8, just 2.8 seconds short of WWU...Third place Humboldt State was 24 seconds back...Meanwhile, Monica Switick and Megan Hatlen teamed up for a second place finish in the pairs and a mixed group came back to win the open eight by eight seconds over River City with Sonoma State third.
NOVICE EIGHT SECOND AT ECAC CHAMPIONSHIPS
In windy, rainy and generally miserable 42-degree temperatures in Worcester, MA, the Men’s Crew team finished up its 2006 campaign with a solid performance at the ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championships Sunday.
Coach Mark Davis’s varsity eight placed 11th in a 24-boat field, taking fifth in Sunday’s petite final, a race so competitive that the gap between first place Marist (NY) and UCSD was a mere four seconds...UC was just one second short of third...The Triton JV eight also reached the petite final and ended up eighth overall out of 18 entries.
The top UCSD performance came from the novice eight which grabbed silver, clocking for the 2,000 m., behind only Trinity (CT) a perennial East Coast power...In the grand final, the Tritons were dead last off the line but rowed through four other boats, including third place Orange Coast College which had won the same race at the WIRA Championships two weeks back...Michigan was fourth and George Washington fifth Sunday...Comprising the novice eight lineup were Jonathan Lynch, Bryan Dieffenbach, James Parrish, Zach Hearns, Raymond Melikian, Aydin Golabgir, Karam Badran, Ryan Andre and coxswain Jordan Jozwick.
MEN’S 4X400 RELAY SETS SCHOOL MARK; NCAA BERTHS ANNOUNCED TODAY
By tonight, the Track & Field team should know who’s in and who’s out of the 2006 NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships...Qualifiers will be announced for the May 25-27 event in Emporia, KS and UCSD Coach Tony Salerno is expecting between seven and nine women and three-to-four men to earn their way into the field...On the “solid” list are senior Briana Hinga, top-ranked nationally in the javelin, freshman thrower Jillian Sola and sophomore hurdler Laiah Blue for the women and the men’s senior hurdle duo of Jon Patton and Mike Cunningham.
Patton firmed up his position with a career best 51.49 in the 400 intermediate hurdles at Saturday’s Occidental Invitational...He also ran the third leg on the 4x400 relay team that eclipsed the school record with a time of 3:13.73...He and teammates Matt Borzage, Todd Bettisworth and Cunningham are hopeful the relay unit, currently ranked 11th in the country, will also be extended an invitation by the NCAA...The women’s 4x400 squad, ranked 10th, is also on the bubble, largely because none of its members are individual qualifiers...The Tritons also posted provisional qualifying times in both 800 races at Oxy—senior Mimi Hodgins speeding to a 2:11.98 time in the women’s event and freshman Daniel Anderson hitting the line in 1:52.73.
GOLF FUND-RAISER SET FOR THURSDAY
The 13th annual Triton Athletic Associates (TAA) Golf Tournament will be played Thursday, May 18 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla...A full field of 144 is slated to tee it up on the South Course, site of the 2008 U.S. Open...For more information, call (858) 534-8460.
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