THIS WEEK’S EVENTS:
Thu., May 14---Baseball---UCSD at NCAA West Regional---2:00 PM
Fri., May 15---Baseball---UCSD at NCAA West Regional---TBD
Sat., May 16---W-Crew---UCSD at Pacific Coast Rowing Championships---8:00 AM
Sat., May 16---Baseball---UCSD at NCAA West Regional---TBD
BASEBALL ADDS CCAA TOURNEY TITLE TO 2009 RESUME; NCAA NEXT
Winning in virtually every fashion---pitcher’s duel, blow out and last chance comeback---the fourth-ranked Baseball team ran the table in capturing its second CCAA Championship Tournament last week in Palm Springs...Not that it was needed, but the triumph emphatically validated the Tritons’ first ever regular season conference title which they clinched the previous weekend...It’s now on to the NCAA Division II Playoffs for Coach Dan O’Brien’s club which will be the No. 1 seed and take a sparkling 36-12 ledger into its third consecutive West Regional appearance...The double elimination format tournament will be hosted by Western Oregon at the 4,200-seat Volcanoes Stadium (home of the Class A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes)...The Tritons open NCAA play against CCAA rival Cal State Dominguez Hills, the same team they defeated in the first round of the CCAA Tournament...The winner heads to Cary, NC for the Division II College World Series, May 23-30.
Sophomore right hander Tim Shibuya, with relief help from Guido Knudson put down Cal State Dominguez, 2-1, in the tournament opener Thursday...The Tritons scored their only two runs in the second inning, the first plated on center fielder Robert Sedin’s sacrifice fly and the second by a Vance Albitz single...Shibuya scattered seven hits over seven innings as the Toros got their marker on a solo homer by CCAA regular season MVP Jon Alia in the sixth...The win was Shibuya’s seventh of the year and Knudson accrued save No. 9...Sedin and first baseman Brandon Gregorich each had two of UCSD’s nine hits.
The Tritons wore out Sonoma State pitching to the tune of 20 hits, scoring at least one run in eight-of-nine innings while crushing the No. 12 Seawolves, 16-1, in Friday’s winner’s bracket meeting...Heroes were strewn throughout the lineup and senior Trevor Decker tossed a complete game six-hitter, hurling eight shutout innings before being nicked for a solo homer in the ninth...First baseman Brandon Gregorich and Albitz accounted for four hits (including a home run) each and combined for 10 RBIs with the former knocking in six...UCSD scored singletons in the first four frames before putting it away with a six-run fifth...A three-run bomb by Albitz was the big blow.
Defending champion Sonoma State righted itself to win the final elimination game and gain a rematch with the Tritons in the championship round...O’Brien’s charges almost let one slip through their hands but as they’ve done all season, faced down disaster for an 8-7 win...Junior Kirby St. John got the call on the mound and left in the middle of the sixth with a 4-2 lead...UCSD had increased its cushion to 6-3 after eight, but Knudson, starting his third inning out of the bullpen, couldn’t close the door this time...The always tough Seawolves plated four runs to push ahead, 7-6...That didn’t last long, though, as junior catcher Kellen Lee greeted SSU closer Taylor Lewis with a home run to right, his second of the tournament and team-leading 12th of the season, tying the score...Lewis recorded one out, but then a singles trifecta from Albitz, Tanner and Imeson produced the deciding run and wrote another chapter in an historic season...Albitz was named tournament MVP while teammates Tanner, Imeson, Gregorich, Sedin and Decker joined him on the all-tourney team.
Earlier in the week, Albitz was one of eight UCSD players named to the all-conference team, grabbing first team honors along with Tanner, Shibuya, Knudson, Evan Kehoe and Matt Rossman...Imeson and Decker were second team choices while O’Brien snagged Coach of the Year accolades...It was the third year in a row that at least seven Tritons were recognized with All-CCAA status.
ONE-RUN REGIONAL LOSS ENDS SOFTBALL SEASON
Two maddening one-run losses to second-seeded Hawaii Pacific at the NCAA Division II West Regional brought an earlier-than-hoped-for end to the 2009 season for the Softball team last weekend in St. George, UT....Coach Patti Gerckens’ squad, which finished 30-25, knocked off CCAA rival Cal State Monterey Bay, 2-1, in a de facto conference championship game between the two Hawaii Pacific contests.
Game one, Friday, had a familiar refrain for UCSD as the Tritons outhit HPU, 7-5, but could not come up with the clutch knocks, dropping a 2-1 decision...Freshman Camille Gaito went the distance on the bump and no-hit the Sea Warriors over the final four frames but HPU got two of its hits in the first and the other three in the third, accounting for a run in each...With their seven hits, five walks and an HPU error, UCSD had ample chances but left nine runners on base...A Jenni Habib single to center in the fifth put Kristyn Lesovsky across the plate with the Tritons’ only run.
Saturday’s first elimination game saw UCSD send Cal State Monterey Bay home, playing out the previous week’s CCAA Tournament championship match-up that was canceled due to rain (CSUMB was awarded the league crown by virtue of taking the winner’s bracket)...Gaito was more gutty than brilliant in this one, surrendering 11 hits but keeping the Otters at bay while being bailed out by several big defensive plays ...Habib rocked Monterey Bay early with her third home run of the season, a two-run blast over the right field fence with Lesovsky aboard...The Otters cut the lead in half with three third inning singles but that was the end of the scoring, not that there weren’t chances...Both teams stranded nine base runners and UCSD needed two big plays at the plate in the final inning to escape with the victory...Lesovsky and third baseman Sarah Woofter cut down Otter runners at home for the second and third outs to put UCSD into its rematch with Hawaii Pacific...Habib and Woofter had two hits apiece.
Throwing her third complete game in two days, Gaito was again tough Saturday afternoon, giving up just six hits...But two of them were two-run homers, providing just enough for Hawaii Pacific to claim a 4-3 victory and curtail the Tritons’ hopes of a Regional championship...The first of the round trippers came in inning No. 1 but UCSD responded in kind, getting run-scoring singles from catcher Nicole Saari and Woofter to knot the score at two...The Tritons surged into the lead in the third as back-to-back one out walks to junior Mandi Eliades and Habib set up an RBI single by senior Allison May...UCSD clung to its, 3-2, advantage until the sixth when HPU’s Krystal Plunkett tagged Gaito for the two-run dinger that left the Tritons five outs short of a date with host Dixie State in the title round...UCSD went down in order in the sixth and seventh to close out 2009...The Tritons finished with five hits, two by May.
TOO MUCH HAWAII PACIFIC FOR TENNIS TEAMS IN NCAA PLAYOFFS
Two days and 2,500 miles apart, the 2009 NCAA West Regionals were over in the first round for the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams, both falling at the hands of Hawaii Pacific.
Thursday, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Coach Eric Steidlmayer’s young, underdog Men’s Tennis team had its upset hopes thwarted by No. 6 Hawaii Pacific, 5-1...A victory by sophomore Naveen Dixit and freshman Samuel Ling at No. 3 doubles gave UCSD hopes but the Sea Warriors zipped to straight set wins at Nos. 1-4-6 singles to clinch the outcome...Dixit, at No. 3, was the only UCSD singles player in command at the time HPU was determined the winner...Steidlmayer and Co. finished up 12-11.
Saturday, on UCSD’s North Courts, Coach Liz LaPlante’s relatively inexperienced outfit, which had somewhat surprisingly risen to No. 10 nationally, did not have enough in its tank to hold off No. 15 Hawaii Pacific, falling, 5-3...The Tritons had upended the Sea Warriors, 5-4, at mid-season, but knew they would have to be letter perfect to handle HPU’s foreign-dominated lineup the second time around...Things looked promising after Ina Dan and Taskeen Bains and Natalie Varnay and Anita Athevale prevailed at No. 1 and 2 doubles to give UCSD a 2-1 edge going into the six singles matches...But Hawaii Pacific took the first set on five of the six courts and quickly registered the three points needed to sew up the victory...Sophomore Valerie Tang at No. 5 garnered UCSD’s lone singles point...LaPlante’s club, which won its sixth straight CCAA title in 2009, posted a 15-6 record for the year.
Listen to Saturday post-match comments from senior Ina Dan.
WOMEN’S CREW FACES STERN TEST IN SACRAMENTO
It’s now-or-never time for Coach Pattie Pinkerton’s Women’s Crew which will be back on Sacramento’s Lake Natoma Saturday for the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships... Still hoping to latch onto one of the four berths in the NCAA Division II Championships, the Tritons will need to seriously impress the selection committee at the PCRC’s...Two weeks ago at the same site, UCSD’s varsity eight was relegated to the petite final, while key D-II foes Western Washington and Humboldt State, among others, were battling in the grand final...An early season loss to the same pair at the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Championships puts UCSD behind the eight ball this weekend...In the interim, Pinkerton has tinkered with her lineup looking for additional speed and figures to have a few changes Saturday...According to her calculations, UCSD will have to defeat Humboldt in the varsity eight and finish within eight seconds of WWU to have a shot at the NCAAs...The Tritons will also be fielding a JV eight, two fours, a lightweight four, a novice four and two single scullers.
GOLFERS CONCLUDE ’09 CAMPAIGN AT NCAA REGIONAL
Playing as individuals at the NCAA Division II Central/West Regional Golf Tournament in Lincoln, NB, UCSD’s Keith Okasaki, Raj Samra and Billy Olsen were unable to advance to the NCAA Division II Championships which will be held at Loomis Trail Golf & Country Club in Bellingham, WA.
At the par 72 Wilderness Ridge Golf Course, sophomore Okasaki was the Tritons’ best finisher, placing in a tie for 31st with a 13-over 226 for the 54 holes...His second round 71 was UCSD’s best 18 of the tourney...Samra, a junior, fired an opening round 74 but averaged 79.5 over the final two days, slipping to a tie for 71st in the individual standings ...Olsen, a senior, playing in his second NCAA event, was tied for 89th at 238... Colorado-Colorado Springs won the team title.
BIG MARKS POSTED IN REGULAR SEASON TRACK & FIELD FINALE
It’s promoted as a “last chance” (as in final opportunity to reach national qualifying figures) and the Track & Field team made the most of the occasion, copping four likely NCAA Division II Championship marks as well as a school record at Saturday’s Occidental Invitational.
Freshman Nick Howe found the limelight, topping Brad Libuit’s school record in the javelin with a toss of 201-3 ...Teammate Leon Baham clocked 52.83 in the 400 hurdles and, like Howe, it’s expected his mark will be good enough to take him to the NCAA meet, May 21-23 in San Angelo, TX...On the women’s side, senior Laiah Blue appears to have punched her NCAA ticket in the 400 hurdles (60.81), meaning that if form holds true, she would add that to the 100 hurdles on the individual side as well as likely spots on two relays... Joining her should be junior quarter miler Anna Lee McGregor, whose 56.04 in the one lap race could put her in the NCAA meet for the second time...The field for the national meet will be announced Monday night or early Tuesday...Coaches Tony Salerno and Darcy Ahner expect the final numbers to be approximately 14 women and three men...The Triton women, finished fourth in the team standings a year ago with 14 competitors.
This week's edition of Triton Talk, UCSD's weekly online radio show will feature UCSD Baseball Coach Dan O'Brien, CCAA Baseball Tournament MVP Vance Albitz and CCAA Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year Christine Merrill...Check it out starting Tuesday afternoon at ucsdtritons.com.
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