LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 21st-ranked UC San Diego baseball team rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to post an 8-7 victory over Cal State Stanislaus Sunday at Triton Ballpark and take the four-game series to begin California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play, three games to one.
In completing a five-game homestand this week with a 4-1 mark, the Tritons improved to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the CCAA. UCSD had won Friday night's opener and Saturday's doubleheader nightcap, both in shutout fashion, 4-0 and 3-0, respectively. Cal State Stanislaus, which won the first game of Saturday's twin bill, 4-3 in 10 frames to snap a 12-game winless streak in La Jolla, dropped to 4-7 overall and 1-3 in league action with Sunday's defeat.
UCSD achieved its third successive series victory over the first three weekends of the 2013 campaign.
Troy Cruz, a true freshman out of Chula Vista (Bonita Vista HS), connected on his first collegiate home run, a two-run shot to key a four-run fourth inning that gave the Tritons their first lead of the afternoon at 6-5. The two-way standout moved from second base to the mound to start the ninth and weaved his way out of some trouble to earn his second save of 2013. Cruz finished 2-for-4 at the plate with the home run, two runs scored and two driven in.
The top of the UCSD batting order, senior centerfielder Danny Susdorf and junior shortstop Dillon Moyer, combined to go 6-for-9 with four runs scored, five runs driven in and a pair of stolen bases.
Cal State Stanislaus struck for three runs in the second off of sophomore left-hander Trevor Scott, who was unable to complete the frame in the shortest start of his college career. The inning began with a double by catcher Clint Brill and back-to-back singles to put the Warriors on the board. After a pair of Scott strikeouts around a double steal, third baseman Tynan Pedretti came up with a clutch two-run single to left center to pick up both teammates in scoring position.
Scott had retired Stanislaus in order on three flyouts in a nine-pitch opener after starting off leadoff batter Skippy Ferreria with three straight balls.
In the home third, UCSD cut into the deficit. Susdorf beat out an infield single, stole second, and scored on Moyer's hit up the middle. Having wound up on second after the throw home, Moyer then stole third on a critical play for the Tritons, as Justin Rahn then followed with an RBI groundout to the right side for 3-2.
UCSD gave both runs back in the following half with Pedretti placing an RBI double down the left field line and scoring on a two-out single by Matt Chaidez.
This time, it was Stanislaus who was unable to produce the shutdown inning, as the Tritons struck for their four in the fourth. After Cruz had slapped a 1-2 pitch and watched it carry over the wall in left field, the visitors unraveled a little bit. Corbin Wirta was hit by a Rafael Vasquez offering, and landed safely at second a short time later as Stanislaus mangled a pickoff opportunity. Susdorf singled through the left side and his aggressive nature was rewarded with second base as the leftfielder's throw skipped away from the cut-off target, with Wirta holding at third. Moyer knocked both Tritons in when he singled to left.
Two-strike doubles by Craig Beevers and Klayton Miller, the latter with two away and the count full, pulled the Warriors back even in the fifth.
UCSD went back on top for good with a two-run sixth. Cruz singled up the middle on a 1-2 pitch with one out, and expertly took second when a pitch to Wirta glanced off the dirt, narrowly beating the throw. Wirta followed through with a perfect sacrifice bunt that he almost beat out. Susdorf thought he saw ball four go by, but the pitch was called a strike to cut short his trot to first, and on the very next offering, the All-American dropped an RBI single into right center. With Susdorf standing on third following another Warrior miscue, Moyer singled up the middle for an 8-6 edge.
Blake Fassler (2-0) tossed 2.0 innings, including a perfect sixth, to nab the win. Scott Zeman replaced him for a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh, with freshman Adrian Orozco (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch HS) retiring Stanislaus in order in the eighth.
The Triton bullpen set down 11 straight until Cruz allowed a one-out double to Ferreria in the ninth. A four-pitch walk and RBI single later, the tying run was at second, but Cruz got Clint Brill waving at an outside strike and Beevers to foul out to end the game.
Cal State Stanislaus, which began the game with zero extra-base hits over the first three games of the set, produced five doubles on the day, but three costly errors led to three unearned scores in the one-run Triton victory.
Joe Whitehead (1-1) took the loss in relief of Vasquez. Pedretti went 2-for-4 with a double, run and three RBI. Beevers was 3-for-5 with a double, two runs and a steal.
Only a single walk was issued by either side in the game, by Cruz in the ninth.
UCSD plays a split-venue four-game set against Cal State Dominguez Hills in the week ahead, with single games in Carson on Thursday and Friday and a noon doubleheader at Triton Ballpark on Saturday, Feb. 23.
Triton Notes: UCSD is 35-23 all-time against Cal State Stanislaus ... By locking up the series victory today to open the conference schedule, the Tritons improved to 7-1-5 in the first set of the league ledger since joining the CCAA in 2001 ... Garrett Tuck has started 83 consecutive games and made 90 straight appearances ... Nick La Face drew his 68th consecutive start ... With four more putouts today, Danny Susdorf's defensive streak without an error extended to his last 78 games and 189 chances, dating back to April 29, 2011 ... Susdorf's successful steal of second base in the third inning gave him a team-best eight thefts for 2013, on eight attempts.
-- UCSDtritons.com --