LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The 28th-ranked UC San Diego baseball team took an emphatic 7-0 lead behind ace right-hander Ryan Goodbrand
before withstanding a furious Cal Poly Pomona rally to win, 7-6, in the opener of a four-game California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) series Thursday night at Triton Ballpark.
In snapping a three-game losing skid, the Tritons improved to 10-6 overall and 5-4 in the CCAA, while Cal Poly Pomona, now itself a loser of three in a row, fell to 10-6 overall and 3-6 in league play.
Freshman pinch-hitter Justin Caña reached on an infield error to lead things off in the ninth with Cal Poly Pomona having closed to within one. Following a sacrifice and passed ball, pinch-runner Michael Johnson stood at third base as the tying run with just one away. Triton closer Troy Cruz, a true freshman out of Bonita Vista High School who had moved to the mound from his regular position as the starter at second base, then fanned another pinch-hitter in Brennen Salgado swinging before getting Nicholas Cooksey to ground out to shortstop Dillon Moyer for his third save.
Things had begun swimmingly for UCSD as it scored in each of its first four turns at the plate, seven times in all, while Goodbrand continued to toss zeros up on the other side of the scoreboard. The senior extended his incredible string of scoreless baseball to begin the 2013 season to 31.1 innings before Cal Poly Pomona finally got to him with a five-run outburst in the sixth.
Goodbrand allowed the five runs on six hits and no walks over his 6.0 innings of work, striking out four. Despite saying goodbye to his shutout streak, the Rancho Santa Margarita native still extended his string of winning decisions to his last nine dating back to a season ago. He moved his record to 5-0 on the year and an unblemished 16-0 for his Triton career.
Senior All-American Danny Susdorf, batting out of the leadoff spot for the first time this season as head coach Eric Newman moved him into the No. 3 position, ignited a two-out, two-run rally in the home first with a double to right center. After stealing third, Susdorf watched as Richard Seigel and Nick La Face both walked to load the bases, before junior leftfielder Justin Rahn's hot shot up the middle scored a pair.
The Tritons added an unearned tally in the second as Garrett Tuck reached on an error, was bunted to second and scored on Moyer's single to right.
Susdorf led off the UCSD third by lifting a triple to left center. The next batter, Seigel, stung a 2-1 pitch over centerfielder Jordan Whitman's head for 4-0, and scored himself on another RBI single from Rahn, this time through the right side.
The Tritons tacked on their final two runs, which would later prove to be crucial, in the fourth as Corbin Wirta drew a leadoff walk, and then on back-to-back pitches, Moyer and Cruz lashed doubles down the left field line, the latter knocking in a pair.
Meanwhile, Goodbrand was looking like his usual self on the hill. He went 0-2 to all three batters in the first, keeping everything on the infield with a popout and consecutive strikeouts, the second one of the called variety as he blew three offerings past DH Donald Walter. Goodbrand retired the side in order in the second, third and fourth as well, on 11, eight and nine pitches, respectively.
In that fourth, the visiting Broncos pelted the outfield with nothing to show for it as leadoff man Trevor Magno went to Susdorf in center and Donald Walter to Wirta in right. In between, Bo Walter, Donald's younger brother, put a scare into Goodbrand's shutout streak by sending Rahn all the way to the warning track in left before stopping and making the grab.
In all, it was 13 up, 13 down for starters for Goodbrand before Whitman singled up the middle with one gone in the fifth. Joseph Eusebio followed with a single and suddenly the scoreless run was also in jeopardy once more, but Jason Padlo lined out to Cruz, who calmly flipped to Moyer to double off Whitman and end the frame.
After catcher Nick O'Loughlin was called out on strikes to open the sixth, Cooksey singled and Magno doubled to left center to put two runners in scoring position. This time, the Broncos converted as on Goodbrand's very next throw, Bo Walter sent a two-run double almost to the identical spot as Magno's two-bagger. With runners at the corners after a wild pitch and hit batsman, Chris Carlson smacked a third double in the frame past the reach of Susdorf in center. An RBI groundout and a second wild pitch picked up the final two base-runners for CPP and made it 7-5.
Magno led off the eighth with a first-pitch triple and scored on a fielder's choice grounder for the second out that left the tying run on first. That's when Cruz took over and induced another fielder's choice groundout to maintain a 7-6 edge.
Cruz got the final four outs in relief with one on strikes. Scott Zeman retired Cal Poly Pomona in order in the seventh.
Susdorf, who had gone just 1-for-13 with a single run in the series loss to Cal State Dominguez Hills last weekend, took a liking to his new home in the batting order to the tune of 2-for-4 with the double, triple, two runs scored and a stolen base. Rahn was 2-for-3 with a walk, steal and three RBI. Moyer went 2-for-5 in his first turn at the top of the lineup with his fifth double, one run and one RBI.
Bronco starter J.J. Franklin (1-1) went 5.2 frames, giving up all seven runs, six of them earned, on eight hits and three walks. The sophomore right-hander struck out six. Senior left-hander Ryan Dunn relieved him for 2.1 no-hit innings.
UCSD and Cal Poly Pomona continue their four-game set with another primetime match-up inside Triton Ballpark starting at 6 p.m. on Friday night, Mar. 1. The contest will be streamed live, free of charge, at UCSDtritons.com, with former Triton pitcher Tim Strombel providing the commentary.
Triton Notes: With tonight's result, UCSD improved to a perfect 6-0 in night games in 2013 ... Nick La Face has started 73 straight games ... Richard Seigel has started 53 games in a row, all at first base ... Ryan Goodbrand made his 20th start in a Triton uniform and has gone at least 5.0 innings in each of those 20 outings, with UCSD now 18-2 when he pitches ... With three more putouts tonight, Danny Susdorf's defensive streak without an error extended to his last 83 games and 201 chances now dating back to April 29, 2011 ... Offensively, Susdorf's first-inning double gave him a team-best eight on the year, moving him into a tie for the conference lead in the category as well as up into sole possession of fifth on the all-time UCSD chart (49) ... Susdorf's leadoff triple in the third increased his school-record career total to 16 with two now this year ... With his first-inning theft of third base, Susdorf continues to lead the CCAA in stolen bases with 12 on 12 attempts ... Corbin Wirta's second-inning sacrifice gave him a team- and league-leading five ... Justin Rahn and Richard Seigel stole their third and fourth bases, respectively, of 2013 ... Rahn increased his team-best RBI total to 16, now tied for tops in the CCAA.
-- UCSDtritons.com --