HAYWARD, Calif. - The seventh-ranked University of California San Diego baseball team scored five in the second inning and hung on over Cal State East Bay, 9-4, to begin a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) doubleheader at Pioneer Baseball Field on Saturday. UC San Diego then surrendered a four-run second and dropped the nine-inning nightcap, 6-1.
With the results, UCSD moved to 13-3 overall and 5-1 in the CCAA. Cal State East Bay is now 12-6 overall and an even 3-3 in league play. The game-two defeat snapped a nine-game win streak for the Tritons.
The rubber game of the three-game set is set for an 11 a.m. start on Sunday, March 5. The contest can be viewed here, with live stats available here. Redshirt senior right-hander Adrian Orozco (1-0, 4.11 ERA) is the expected starter on the mound for UCSD.
Game One - UCSD 9, CSUEB 4
UCSD threatened in the very first frame as Brandon Shirley doubled into the left field corner with one away and stole third, but reigning CCAA Pitcher of the Week, Alex Vesia, struck out both JD Hearn and cleanup man Jack Larsen swinging.
The Pioneers also moved a runner to third in their first turn, on a one-out single, steal and right-sided groundout, but they were able to find the first run of the contest, as an infield throwing error allowed Marcus Wise to score. Though the run was unearned, it snapped a string of 22 consecutive complete innings without a score allowed, by Mott.
The Tritons came right back out and loaded the bases on a four-pitch leadoff walk to Keenan Brigman, a single, and a second Vesia walk. Tyler Durna then came through with a two-run single, and Tyler Howsley followed with a two-run triple. Tim White picked his senior shortstop up with a sacrifice fly for 5-1 as UCSD batted around.
Mott breezed through a 1-2-3 shutdown inning in the second on just five pitches. East Bay got one of those runs back in the third, however, as back-to-back one-out singles put Pioneers at the corners ahead of a sacrifice fly.
UCSD added a tally in the sixth. Steven Coe saw 11 pitches, fouling off five 3-2 offerings before popping up for the second out. Durna then also worked the count full and worked Vesia hard, fouling off four 3-2 tosses himself, but took a 10th pitch deep for his second home run of the season and a 6-2 lead.
Again East Bay answered that one, via one-out double and RBI single in the sixth.
The Tritons regained their four-run cushion in the seventh. White greeted new pitcher Nick Risucci with a leadoff base hit, was bunted over by Shirley, and sprinted around on Larsen's two-out single that dropped in between two CSUEB outfielders.
The hosts used a leadoff walk and infield error to again cancel out the UCSD run in their half, but Jonah Dipoto induced a double-play grounder to limit the damage.
Redshirt senior right-hander Troy Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS) came on for a 1-2-3 eighth with a flyout and two strikeouts. He then navigated around a pair of singles in the ninth for his second save.
The Tritons added insurance in the ninth, loading the bases on successive singles up the middle for starters, a Hearn sacrifice, and intentional walk to Larsen. Justin Flatt then drew a free pass of his own to force White home, with Alex Eliopulos' sacrifice fly making it a 9-4 bulge.
Mott moved to 5-0, giving up three runs, two of them earned, over 6.0 innings on six hits and a walk. The left-hander struck out two. After the second, Mott added another 1-2-3 effort in the fourth, the final two outs on called third strikes for his first two punchouts of the afternoon. Ultimately it was his first winning decision away from home in his first road start this season and fifth of his career outside of La Jolla.
Durna finished 2-for-4 with his home run, two runs scored and three RBI. White and Shirley added two hits apiece. White scored two and Howsley drove in two.
Vesia (1-3), a junior left-hander, went 6.0 frames and allowed six runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out five and had consecutive perfect innings in the third and fourth, retiring nine straight in all.
Game Two - CSUEB 6, UCSD 1
White's first collegiate home run, with two gone in the third inning, accounted for the Tritons' lone run.
UCSD allowed those four runs in the second on four hits, an error and a wild pitch. The frame began with a single and a double, immediately preceding an infield error to load the bases, ahead of Dallas Dey's two-run single.
The Pioneers added single insurance tallies in the sixth and seventh.
Meanwhile, the Tritons' best chance to cut into their deficit came in the fifth as they loaded the bases on a leadoff Durna double, one-out, four-pitch walk to Howsley, and a five-pitch walk to White. Joel Lamont (3-0) got the next man to fly out.
Sophomore right-hander Kyle Mora (1-1) battled through 4.2 innings, allowed four runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out one ahead of four relievers.
White was a perfect 2-for-2 with his home run, a run, RBI, and two walks. Durna went 2-for-4 again, this time with a pair of doubles. Howsley was 1-for-3 with the Tritons' other walk. UCSD's five hits in the nightcap came from that trio.
Triton Notes: Tyler Howsley extended his consecutive games played streak to 125 dating back to the 2015 opener ... Jack Larsen has appeared in 80 straight games, all of them starts ... Game One: Preston Mott made his fifth start of the year and 19th of his Triton career ... Keenan Brigman started in left field in his outfield debut for UCSD ... Howsley's second-inning triple was just the second of his college career ... Game Two: Kyle Mora made his fourth start of the year and 12th of his Triton career ... Tyler Durna's two doubles were his first two this season.