IRVINE, Calif. - The University of California San Diego split a non-conference baseball doubleheader with Concordia University Irvine Saturday at Eagles Field. The Eagles won game one by the final score of 5-2, before the Tritons outlasted the hosts, 7-6, in eight frames in what was scheduled to be a seven-inning nightcap.
With those two results in its 2017 road debut, No. 24 UC San Diego moves to 5-2. Concordia, of the Pacific West Conference, is now 3-2. The Tritons had taken Friday night's series opener, 14-0, at home.
UCSD and Concordia return to La Jolla conclude their set with a single finale on Sunday, Feb. 12. The Tritons will look to win their second straight four-game non-conference series to begin the year, with first pitch at Triton Ballpark at 1 p.m. Parking is free. All home games can be viewed in high definition on UCSDtritons.tv.
Game One - CUI 5, UCSD 2
Right-hander Kyle Goodbrand drew the first start of his UCSD career, and the redshirt junior transfer allowed one run on three hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch over 5.0 innings. He struck out five. Goodbrand had one 1-2-3 frame, that in the second on a trio of ground balls.
Concordia struck first in the opening frame through a leadoff hit-by-pitch, sacrifice bunt and RBI single by Spencer Nielsen. The Eagles threatened again with runners at first and second and just one away in the third, but a pair of fielder's choice ground balls got Goodbrand out of it. He wriggled out of trouble again in the fourth, wiping out a pair of walks around a groundout, by inducing a 6-3 double play. In the fifth, Eagle leadoff hitter Ryan Land got around to third on a one-out single, stolen base and passed ball, but Goodbrand got Nielsen swinging to keep UCSD within a run. He in fact struck out the side in that frame around Land's activity.
For the Eagles, starter Mike Killeen (1-0) went 8.0 innings with two runs against him on six hits, all singles, and one walk. He struck out five. The freshman right-hander set down 14 Tritons in order between a first-inning hit, through the fifth.
Senior shortstop Tyler Howsley finally ended that stretch with a leadoff single in the sixth. Steven Coe (Valley Center/Valley Center HS) followed with an infield single, and Tim White bunted them both into scoring position from the top of the Triton order. Redshirt senior centerfielder Brandon Shirley, who had provided UCSD's initial hit in the first, singled again to drive in Howsley and Coe to go up 2-1. He was thrown out trying to extend to a double.
That lead change was short-lived, however, as freshman rightfielder Jair Donovan greeted reliever Jack Rupe, Jr. (San Marcos/Mission Hills HS), with his first career home run to begin the home half. It preceded a Bailey Collins double to right. A groundout moved Collins to third, and a single scored him as CUI regained a 3-2 advantage. Another 6-3 double play ended the frame.
Concordia generated insurance tallies in both the seventh and eighth, with everything coming after two outs were made in those respective innings. In the seventh it was a single, stolen base and RBI Nielsen double following two harmless groundouts to White at second base. In the eighth, the Eagles got a two-out double and an RBI single to right.
Rupe, Jr., (0-1), took the loss for UCSD. Shirley went 2-for-4 with his two RBI and second steal of 2017. Coe was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Cade Temple tossed a perfect ninth for CUI against the heart of UCSD's order, notching his first save. Land, Nielsen and Dillon Millar had two hits apiece.
Game Two - UCSD 7, CUI 6 (8)
UCSD freely used the long ball in the shortened nightcap. Christian Leung got things going with a solo blast to right center in the second. After Concordia had tied the score in the home half, fellow senior outfielder Jack Larsen opened his 2017 account with a three-run shot, also out to right center. Redshirt sophomore Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), a transfer from San Diego Mesa College, then went back-to-back with the first home run of his UCSD career to grab a 5-1 advantage.
The teams traded single runs in the fifth, before the Eagles staged a furious four-run rally in their last half in the seventh. Redshirt senior right-hander Troy Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS) finally got a groundout to end the frame with the winning run stranded at third, forcing extras.
UCSD opened the eighth with a sharp single by Keenan Brigman on the first pitch he saw, before Howsley was plunked. Shirley sacrificed his teammates into scoring position, and Justin Flatt was issued an intentional base on balls to load them up. Hearn came through with a sacrifice fly to drive in what proved to be the winner.
Cruz (2-0) came back out in the eighth as the pitcher of record, but redshirt junior left-hander Travis Roberts took over with two on and two out, and got the flyout to register his first collegiate save.
Sophomore right-hander Kyle Mora drew his second start of 2017, but did not figure in the decision.
Triton Notes: Tyler Howsley extended his consecutive games streak to 116 ... Jair Donovan's game-tying home run in the first game was the first long ball allowed by the Tritons in 2017.