LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 39th-ranked UC San Diego baseball team dropped both ends of a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) doubleheader to No. 12 Chico State at Triton Ballpark on Saturday.
The visiting Wildcats (6-2, 2-1 CCAA) won the first game, 7-2, and then took the seven-inning nightcap, 3-1. Chico State thus now leads the four-game series, 2-1, after the Tritons (4-4, 1-2 CCAA) had taken Friday night’s series opener, 8-1.
The weekend series concludes Sunday with a single game set for an 11 a.m. first pitch at Triton Ballpark.
Chico State trotted out to a 7-0 lead and cruised to the game-one win despite allowing a pair of eighth-inning scores to UCSD. Already up 4-0, the Wildcats got a pinch-hit, first-pitch, three-run home run to right by Tyler Madrid to open things up in the seventh.
Marcos Lara (3-0) and Luke Barker did the job on the mound for the visitors. Lara, who pitched at Division I Texas Southern in 2013, scattered two singles over 5.1 innings and walked four without a strikeout. Barker earned his second save of 2014 by going the remaining 3.2 frames. He allowed the two runs on four hits and a walk, and struck out one.
Junior left-hander Trevor Scott (0-1) drew his first start for the Tritons since March 30, 2013. He largely settled down after a rocky three-run first, and lasted 5.2 innings, giving up four runs in all on eight hits and a walk. He fanned six.
The Tritons left 11 runners on base in the contest, and squandered two big opportunities in particular in the third and sixth, loading the bases with one away both times and coming away with nothing. Nick La Face’s first-pitch single in the third marked UCSD’s first hit of the afternoon and filled the bags after back-to-back Lara walks with one out. Consecutive fielder’s choice groundouts, however, ended that threat. La Face wound up 2-for-4 in the game.
Barker entered for Lara in the sixth with bases full of Tritons and just one gone, and proceeded to get a called third strike and a flyout to keep the home side scoreless.
Chico State scored three times on three hits in the opening frame. A two-run single by Conner Huesers was the big knock. The ‘Cats added a fourth via two-out rally in the fourth. Singles on successive suddenly got Scott into some trouble, and two more offerings later, centerfielder Ryne Clark poked an RBI single to right. Freshman Triton rightfielder Christian Leung made a spectacular, sliding catch toward the right-field foul line on a sharply-hit ball by Blake Walker to end that half-inning.
In the second game, UCSD brought the tying run to the plate with no outs, but reliever Drew Freeman was able to close it out in the end for his first save. La Face led off the seventh with his first home run of the year, lifting a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left. Junior first baseman Michael Mann was then hit by a pitch, but Freeman came back to get back-to-back called third strikes, followed by a flyout.
Brad Lohse (1-0) was the story for the ‘Cats. Teammate Ryan O’Shea was scheduled to start on the mound, but after taking a couple of warm-up pitches, was forced to come off of the mound due to injury. On stepped Lohse, the cousin of current Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse, and all he did was toss 6.0 innings of four-hit, shutout baseball with five strikeouts and no walks.
Chico State opened the scoring with a single run in the first on a Ruben Padilla sacrifice fly. The ‘Cats added a pair in the fourth on an RBI single by Cody Slader and a bases-loaded four-pitch walk to Jeffrey Ortega. It was the third walk of starter Blake Fassler’s outing, marking a single-game high for his Triton career.
Fassler (2-1) went 5.2 innings and allowed all three runs on eight hits and the three walks. He struck out five in taking his first losing decision. Eric Moersen faced his third batter of the year in relief, and retired that batter swinging. Scott Zeman threw a scoreless seventh, also with a strikeout.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Shirley drew his first collegiate start in right field and went 2-for-3 at the plate.
UCSD had a pair of scoring chances denied by hard-hit balls that wound up in Chico State gloves. Spencer Frazier’s hot shot was snared by Lohse in the second with Justin Rahn standing on second following a two-out double to right center.
Then in the sixth with Shirley on first with one gone, freshman centerfielder Jack Larsen smoked a ball that Wildcat second baseman Kenny Corona expertly picked up on the short hop, and was able to turn the 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.