Friday, March 17 • 11 a.m. (DH)
Maloney Field • San Francisco
The 10th-ranked University of California San Diego baseball program flies to the Bay Area Wednesday evening for its second of three regular-season Northern California trips. The Tritons (15-4, 7-2 CCAA) are at another California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) North Division foe, SF State (4-16, 2-10 CCAA), for a three-game series that will be contested on Thursday and Friday so that UCSD can make it home for winter quarter final exams which begin Saturday. The single opener on Thursday is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch at Maloney Field, with Friday's doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Both games of the twin bill are scheduled for the regulation nine innings, with about a 30- to 40-minute break in between. The Tritons are 4-2 on the road.
UCSD currently tops the CCAA South by percentage points over two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona. SFSU sits in last place in the six-team North. Defending CCAA champion Chico State is a perfect 12-0 in the North. CPP and Chico State match up for three games this Saturday and Sunday in Chico.
UCSD home games at Triton Ballpark feature live online video at our streaming portal, UCSDtritons.tv. Some road contests also have video, though there is no video this week at SF State. All games have live stats. Fans can access live coverage from the Schedule/Results page, or by clicking on the links above. Starting lineups, live between-inning updates and other in-game news and notes can be found by following Triton Baseball all season long on the UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons). Also be sure to follow the team @UCSDbsb. Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
TRITON BASEBALL ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
UCSD Athletics and local technology giant ViaSat bring you Triton Baseball on UCSDtritons.tv, an online streaming platform. All broadcasts are in high definition, and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets. Viewing is subscription-based, though it is free from UCSD campus IP addresses. A package that gives viewers access to all streamed events through the 2016-17 academic year is available for $34.99. A single-day option can be purchased for $5.99, meaning doubleheaders are two-for-one. The channel also carries all Triton home basketball and volleyball contests, a majority of soccer, softball and water polo games, and a variety of other home events featuring virtually every one of UCSD's 23 intercollegiate sports at least once. Events are archived.
Triton Ballpark on East Campus at UCSD was given a brand-new look outside the foul lines in 2015. Some of the main features of the extensive renovation included a permanent grandstand to seat just over 500, a press box, new sunken dugouts, an area for food trucks, and restrooms, among several other amenities. Read details here. Perhaps most significant is the Marye Anne Fox Clubhouse down the right field line, which was introduced to the players on March 17, 2015. The official Triton Ballpark re-opening and clubhouse dedication took place on April 10, 2015. View photo galleries from the ballpark construction, Opening Day and dedication.
1987 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES ANNIVERSARY
This season marks the 30th-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, for the College World Series, before being eliminated in extra innings by eventual national champion Montclair State.
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 are No. 10 this week. They did not appear in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Perfect Game preseason listings, but are currently No. 13 and No. 19, respectively, in those polls. UCSD was No. 24 in the D2 Baseball News preseason ranking, and are up to No. 10 as of March 13. Regionally speaking, UCSD is listed No. 2 in the West by both D2 Baseball News and the NCBWA.
|Tritons in the Polls|
|Collegiate Baseball Newspaper||No. 10||March 13||Poll||N/A|
|D2 Baseball News||No. 10||March 13||Poll||No. 2|
|NCBWA||No. 13||March 14||Poll||No. 2|
|Perfect Game||No. 19||March 15||Poll||N/A|
LAST TIME OUT
UCSD rallied to win a three-game home series over Cal State Monterey Bay after dropping a difficult 8-6 decision in 10 innings to begin Saturday's doubleheader. The Tritons took the nine-inning nightcap, 3-2, thanks to three unearned runs on just one hit and two Otter errors in the seventh, alongside 4.0 shutout innings in relief from redshirt freshman right-hander Blaine Jarvis. They then poured it on late for a 10-1 triumph in Sunday's decider, tallying four in the sixth and six more in the eighth. Jack Larsen led off that eighth with his second home run, with fellow senior JD Hearn adding his second home run of the season later in the frame, that one a grand slam. Adrian Orozco struck out a career-high 12 over his six complete innings.
LARSEN CLOSING IN ON 200 HITS
Jack Larsen has appeared in 83 consecutive games, all of them starts in either right or center field. He is just four hits shy of 200 for his four-year Triton career. Larsen's first home run of 2017, the 13th of his college days, was a three-run shot at Concordia Irvine on Feb. 11, pushing him over the 100 RBI mark. He now has 112. Larsen successfully stole second base on his first attempt of 2017 on Feb. 12, to make him a perfect 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 on Feb. 16.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
UCSD is 15-1 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 last Saturday's 8-6 defeat to CSUMB in 10 innings. Conversely, they are 0-3 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 14 of their 15 wins in the current campaign.
MOTT EMBRACING ACE ROLE
Sophomore left-hander Preston Mott has parlayed his first career Opening Day start into a strong introduction as the Triton ace. He is 5-0 through six outings after having gone 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA over a team-best 14 starts in his rookie campaign. The Clovis product has a 1.29 ERA over 35.0 innings, with 18 strikeouts against nine walks. Opponents are hitting just .190. Mott extended a streak of consecutive complete shutout innings all the way to 22 from Feb. 3 to March 4.
LOTS OF STRIKEOUTS
Redshirt senior Adrian Orozco's 12-strikeout performance last Sunday, March 12, at home against 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.
UCSD's starters' ERA over the opening weekend was a miniscule 0.47, as, in order, Preston Mott, Kyle Mora, Jack Rupe, Jr., and Adrian Orozco combined to allow a solitary earned run over their 19.0 innings pitched. Now through 19 games, the Triton starters' ERA stands at 2.34, with 25 earned runs over 96.0 innings and an 8-1 record.
HOME SWEET HOME
UCSD is 11-2 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. The Tritons were 22-9 in La Jolla in 2016 and are 106-49 (.684) at Triton Ballpark under Newman.
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.
SHIRLEY SIZZLING AS SENIOR
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 .319, leads the team with six stolen bases in seven attempts, and has handled all 50 of his chances cleanly in center, including three assists.
Fifth-year senior Troy Cruz made his official 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 winning decision 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 on Feb. 11. On Feb. 24, Cruz tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save since his true freshman season, back on Feb. 28, 2013. He added a second save with two shutout frames at Cal State East Bay on March 4.
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. Fellow redshirt junior right-hander, John Erhardt, was on the active roster for the CSUMB series, but was not utilized. He could be back this weekend at SF State, having made just two appearances, both starts, in 2016 before being shut down due to injury. Erhardt was in fact the Tritons' Opening Day starter a season ago. He has not pitched in a game since March 21, 2016, at Cal Poly Pomona.
IRON MAN TY
Fourth-year senior Tyler Howsley has appeared in 128 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.
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 10-run fifth against Concordia (OR) on Feb. 4 was its largest since an 11-run ninth in a 17-3 win at SF State on April 18, 2014 ... Concordia's (OR) six-run seventh on Feb. 5 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 ... Nine players have made their college and/or Triton debuts so far in 2017, all over the opening weekend, in Keenan Brigman, Chad Crosbie, Alex Eliopulos, Kyle Goodbrand, Blaine Jarvis, Nick Kitzmann, Jesse Moore, Steven Schuknecht and Ted Stuka ... 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.
DURNA NAMED CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore Tyler Durna was named for the first time as the CCAA Player of the Week on March 7, for the week of Feb. 27-March 5. He went 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored and three RBI during the doubleheader split at Cal State East Bay. Durna is 11-for-22 (.500) with 10 RBI over the last seven games, all starts at first base.
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 distinction for the fourth time in his career. 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 record of 20-17, qualifying for a third consecutive CCAA Championship. The fourth-seeded Tritons had a 31-21 overall record following a 1-2 showing in Stockton.
UCSD's 40-player 2017 roster features 21 letterwinners, five 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 hosts defending CCAA tournament champion and league favorite Chico State in a three-gamer, April 8-9. The Tritons then face 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 earned three successive trips.
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 Tim Durna at Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills ... All but four players on the 40-man 2017 roster, redshirt junior Tim White (Stratford, CT), redshirt freshman Nick Balley (Austin, TX) 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 freshman transfer Keenan Brigman (UOP) is the younger brother of former USD standout and current Seattle Mariners prospect Bryson Brigman, a third-round selection in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
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 179-110 record (126-76 CCAA) in charge of the Tritons and 274-182 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 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 returns for a 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 back for their second year. Bloodworth coaches third base and Calhoon is at first base.
ABOUT THE GATORS
SF State (4-16, 2-10 CCAA) is coming off of a 3-1 series loss at home to Stanislaus State last weekend. The Gators were swept in Saturday's doubleheader, 9-2 and 6-4 in 10 innings, before splitting Sunday's twin bill, winning 12-5 and dropping an 8-2 decision in seven frames. They are last in the CCAA in batting average (.224) and runs scored (56), among several other offensive categories. SF State is 2-4 at home in 2017. Tony Schifano is in his second season in charge.
UCSD is 44-17 against SF State since joining the CCAA for the 2001 season, and 27-8 over the past 35 meetings. This includes a 20-8 mark in San Francisco and a 24-9 record in La Jolla, with four-game sweeps in 2007 and 2009, and a three-game sweep a year ago. The teams split their four games the last time around in San Francisco in April of 2014, as well as at Triton Ballpark in 2013. UCSD won the previous series in the Bay Area in March of 2012, three games to one. The only time that SF State has bested the Tritons in a series was in UCSD's first year in the league, 2001, sweeping a shortened two-game set in La Jolla.
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!
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After final exams, UC San Diego returns to home action with another three-game series against a CCAA North foe in Sonoma State. The primetime opener is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch on Saturday, March 25, and will be followed by a doubleheader on Sunday at 11 a.m.