POMONA, Calif. - UC San Diego let leads of 4-0 and 6-4 slip away, and then tied the game at 7-7 with two outs in the ninth before darkness suspended its California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) baseball game against No. 15 Cal Poly Pomona at Scolinos Field on Friday.
UCSD (6-4, 3-2 CCAA) and Cal Poly Pomona (10-1, 4-1 CCAA) will resume the contest in the 11th inning at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Triton Ballpark in La Jolla, where the teams were to have played a doubleheader to conclude their four-game series starting at 2. The first game of the twin bill will begin following the completion of the resumed contest. All of the action, including the resumption, will have a live video stream and live stats available. The Tritons had won Thursday’s series opener in Pomona, 4-2.
Chad Rieser set down CPP in order in the home 10th, getting Bo Walter looking for the third out, as darkness prevented the action from moving into the 11th.
UCSD loaded the bases with one out in the opening frame on a trio of walks issued by CPP starter Steven Farnworth around a sacrifice bunt by Jack Larsen. A shallow flyout to right center momentarily kept Erik Lewis at third, but sophomore third baseman Troy Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS) laced a two-run double down the right field line to open the scoring at 2-0. Two pitches later, senior leftfielder Justin Rahn snuck a two-run single up the middle for a 4-0 lead.
In the home second, Bronco designated hitter Jason Padlo advanced all the way to third on a one-out single, stolen base and two-out wild pitch by Triton starter Blake Fassler. Christian Kelley then worked the count full, only to stare at strike three.
CPP put together a four-run rally to tie the contest in the third. Leadoff hitter Matt Muñoz reached on an infield error with one gone, and senior leftfielder David Armendariz sent him flying around the bases for the home side’s first run of the afternoon with an RBI double down the left field line. Chris Carlson then drew a four-pitch walk and after a double steal moved both Broncos into scoring position, an RBI Joseph Eusebio single put runners at the corners. Eusebio moved to second on a wild pitch, and Walter’s single plated a pair for a 4-4 deadlock. Redshirt freshman rightfielder Brandon Shirley fired to freshman shortstop Tyler Howsley to cut Walter down at second as the senior first baseman tried to extend to a double.
The aforementioned Shirley opened the fifth with an infield single and advanced to second on a groundout. With Austin Boyle coming on in relief of fellow junior right-hander Farnworth, senior designated hitter Nick La Face punched an RBI double that just evaded a stellar attempt by Carlson in center as UCSD regained a 5-4 edge.
Following a leadoff walk to Muñoz and a third wild pitch to put the tying run on second in the home half, Fassler buckled down against the heart of CPP’s order. He got Armendariz to pop out to Lewis and Carlson to hit a hard liner, also right at Lewis, with the UCSD second baseman tossing to Howsley to double Muñoz up.
A two-out rally doubled the Tritons’ advantage in the seventh as Boyle surrendered a two-out double to Larsen, back-to-back hit-by-pitches and a wild pitch to push the freshman centerfielder across home plate for 6-4.
Cal Poly Pomona got that run right back in the bottom half as Kelley singled to lead things off and pinch-runner Michael Johnson was bunted over to second and scored on a Muñoz single. For the second day in a row, UCSD managed the timely double play, as Armendariz rolled over to Howsley for a routine 6-4-3 to get out of it.
Consecutive singles by Carlson on the infield and Eusebio, against new Triton pitchers Eric Moersen and Dan Kolodin, respectively, put the home side in business in the eighth. Walter sacrificed both teammates over a base, and on the very next pitch from Kolodin, Padlo singled up the middle to even things up again at 6-6. A fielder’s choice grounder to third allowed Eusebio to score the go-ahead run.
With Bronco closer J.J. Franklin heading to the mound, UCSD got a one-out single from Larsen and then executed a hit-and-run play with La Face sliding a single through the right side while Larsen scooted around to third. After Corbin Wirta, running for La Face, swiped second, Franklin rallied from a 3-1 count to fan Mann. On the next pitch, Cruz hit a grounder to short that Muñoz was unable to come up with as Larsen sprinted home on the error with the tying run. Franklin got Rahn to ground out with Tritons at second and third.
The home ninth began much like the eighth, as a Triton left-hander entered the fray, this time Rieser, and the Broncos got a leadoff infield single to shortstop, Trevor Magno narrowly beating out a slow roller to Howsley. Rieser then promptly got Muñoz to hit into a 4-6-3 twin killing and caught Armendariz looking.
In the top of the 10th, sophomore Gradeigh Sanchez provided a pinch-hit single for his first hit of 2014, on the first pitch he saw with one gone. Lewis worked the count full before drawing his second walk of the day and league-best 12th of the year. A fielder’s choice grounder left Tritons at the corners, but Larsen lined out.
Fassler, a senior right-hander, gave up four runs, three of them earned, on six hits and two walks over 5.0 innings, striking out two. Sophomore right-hander Adrian Orozco (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch HS) threw 2.0 frames in relief.
Lewis and fellow junior Michael Mann, back in the lineup after starting the first nine games at first base and missing Thursday’s series opener due to a minor ailment, combined for a nice defensive play on the second out of the home sixth, with Lewis gathering a tough grounder off of Walter's bat and Mann scooping up the low throw.
Farnworth went 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out two, retiring the Tritons in order in the second on a strikeout and a pair of groundouts.
Triton Notes: Troy Cruz and Justin Rahn are the only two Tritons to have started each of the first 11 games, with one of Cruz’s starts coming on the mound ... Rahn’s first-inning single extended his reached-base streak to 11 games, as he is the only Triton to have reached in every contest so far in 2014 ... With their respective two-run base hits in the opening frame, Cruz and Rahn each increased their joint team-best RBI totals to 10 ... Nick La Face extended his team-best hit streak to eight games with his third-inning single ... Junior catcher Brett Levy threw out his second base-runner in as many days to end the fourth ... The doubles by Cruz and La Face were the third for each, tying them for the team lead with Rahn ... Jack Larsen’s double in the seventh marked his first collegiate extra-base hit ... UCSD produced seven double plays in the two games in Pomona after entering the series with six in nine games ... Corbin Wirta’s ninth-inning steal was his first of the year ... Cruz now has three stolen bases on three attempts ... Brandon Shirley stole his second base in as many games … This is UCSD’s first extra-inning game of the season.