STOCKTON, Calif. - The 18th-ranked UC San Diego baseball program had six players selected for 2014 All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) recognition, including four chosen by the league’s head coaches to the first team. The announcement of postseason honors was made by the conference office during a brunch Thursday morning at the Hilton Stockton ahead of the start later this evening of the CCAA Championship at Banner Island Ballpark.
Troy Cruz, Justin Donatella, Nick La Face and Erik Lewis all made it onto the 18-player first team. Only Chico State had more first-teamers, with six. Cruz was the first-team All-CCAA utility player for the second time in as many years of college baseball for the sophomore. La Face took up the designated hitter spot.
La Face, out of North Hollywood (Notre Dame HS), paces the team and is among the league leaders in a number of offensive categories. In starting every one of UCSD’s 36 conference games, he batted .339 (43-for-127) with 30 runs, 13 doubles, five triples, one home run, 37 RBI, 31 walks, a .543 slugging percentage and a .479 on-base percentage. Overall this season, La Face has played in 45 of 46 games, starting all 45, with 15 at catcher and the remaining 30 as the Triton designated hitter. A fifth-year senior, he was previously an All-CCAA First Team pick in 2011.
Cruz, a local product from Chula Vista (Bonita Vista HS), is the only Triton to start all 46 games, at third base (31), pitcher (11) or designated hitter (four). UCSD went 7-2 in his league starts on the mound. Cruz was 6-2 with a 2.90 ERA over a team-high 62.0 innings pitched in league play, with four complete games, including a seven-inning shutout at Cal State L.A. on April 5. The two-way standout also hit a team-best .345 (38-for-110) with 22 runs, eight doubles, two triples, 29 RBI, five steals, a .455 slugging percentage and .406 on-base percentage. He was the 2013 CCAA Freshman of the Year.
Lewis (Upland/Damien HS) appeared in all 36 CCAA contests, starting 35 at second base, in his first year in a Triton uniform after spending the 2011 and 2012 seasons at Long Beach State and the 2013 campaign at Fullerton College. He batted .333 (44-for-132) with a league-leading 36 runs, four doubles, three triples, 28 RBI and a .462 on-base percentage. Lewis has a current season-best reached-base streak of 15 games. Defensively, he has been charged with just four errors in 261 chances (.985) in all games, and has contributed to 39 double plays. He handled 103 plays in a row cleanly before his first error, and 111 straight until his second.
Donatella, a sophomore right-hander out of Saugus (Saugus HS), made a huge step up from his rookie campaign and took on the role of the Tritons’ ace in series-opening games. Over his nine CCAA starts, he was 7-1 with a no-decision and a 2.45 ERA, striking out 50 against just 13 walks. Opponents hit .217 with no home runs.
Rahn, a senior from Cupertino (Monta Vista HS) who spent a redshirt year at Division I Saint Mary’s College in 2010 prior to four seasons in the Triton program, appeared in all 36 CCAA games with 35 starts in either left or right field. He hit .320 (41-for-128) with 18 runs, seven doubles, one triple, 29 RBI, 22 walks and a .436 on-base percentage from the middle of the UCSD order.
Mann (Orinda/California HS) earned All-CCAA distinction in just his first go-around in a UCSD uniform following a transfer from Diablo Valley College. He played in 35 of 36 league games, starting all 35 at first base, and batted .272 (34-for-125) with 22 runs, six doubles, one home run, 26 RBI and league bests of 11 hit-by-pitches and six sacrifice flies. Mann committed a single error over 327 defensive chances (.997).
The 18th-ranked Tritons, as the No. 3 seed, open the four-team, double-elimination tournament against second-seeded and ninth-ranked Chico State on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The game can be listened to here, with longtime Chico State broadcaster Michael Baca calling the play-by-play, with live stats available here.
Third-year UCSD head coach Eric Newman has announced that he will give the ball to junior left-hander Trevor Scott (6-2, 4.02 ERA) against Chico State. The Wildcats will counter with senior right-hander Nick Baker, the CCAA Pitcher of the Year.