The fourth-ranked University of California San Diego baseball program returns to California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) South Division play with a four-game series against two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona this week. The division-leading Tritons (24-7, 16-5 CCAA) host second-place CPP (18-17, 14-10 CCAA) in a pair of primetime affairs on Thursday, April 13, and Friday, April 14. First pitch both nights at Triton Ballpark is set for 6 p.m. The series then shifts north to Pomona and Scolinos Field for its conclusion ahead of the Easter holiday on Saturday, April 15, with a 2 p.m. doubleheader. The nightcap is a shortened seven innings, with about a 30- to 40-minute break in between. The Tritons are 15-4 at home and 9-3 on the road in 2017.
The Tritons remain 3.5 games ahead of the Broncos, who have ended their season in each of the past two years, in the NCAA West Regional final (2015) and at the CCAA Championship (2016). North leader Chico State holds a 3.5-game advantage over UCSD in the race for the top seed at the CCAA tournament, and thus the league's regular-season crown. UCSD is No. 2 in the CCAA in both ERA (2.98) and fielding (.973), and fourth in hitting (.295). CPP leads the league at .299. The Tritons finished their run through the North Division over the past six weeks with a 12-5 mark.
ADMISSION POLICIES FOR TRITON BALLPARK
General admission tickets to all regular-season home games at Triton Ballpark are $5. UCSD students are admitted FREE with valid identification. Dogs and other pets are not allowed, nor are coolers. UCSD Concessions is on site for all home contests.
Parking on the UCSD campus is free on weekends, but a permit is required for weekday contests. They can be purchased at the machine near the entrance to the Triton Ballpark parking lot. Please be aware of the danger of foul balls to your vehicle when parking.
UCSD home games at Triton Ballpark feature live online video at our streaming portal, UCSDtritons.tv. Miles Himmel (@mileshimmel) is on the call this Thursday and Friday. Some road contests also have video, including Saturday's doubleheader in Pomona, for free without commentary. All games have live stats. Fans can access live coverage from the Schedule/Results page, or by clicking on the links above. Starting lineups, live between-inning updates and other in-game news and notes can be found by following Triton Baseball all season long on the UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons). Also be sure to follow the team @UCSDbsb. Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
TRITON BASEBALL ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
UCSD Athletics and local technology giant ViaSat bring you Triton Baseball on UCSDtritons.tv, an online streaming platform. All broadcasts are in high definition, and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets. Viewing is subscription-based, though it is free from UCSD campus IP addresses. A package that gives viewers access to all streamed events through the 2016-17 academic year is available for $34.99. A single-day option can be purchased for $5.99, meaning doubleheaders are two-for-one. The channel also carries all Triton home basketball and volleyball contests, a majority of soccer, softball and water polo games, and a variety of other home events featuring virtually every one of UCSD's 23 intercollegiate sports at least once. Events are archived.
FREE RALLY TOWELS FRIDAY!
The first 500 UCSD students to arrive at Triton Ballpark for this Friday's key matchup with Cal Poly Pomona will receive a free rally towel. That is also the night of the fifth annual Triton Athletes' Council (TAC)/UCSD Greek Life Chili Cook-Off, which begins at 5 p.m. before the game.
Triton Ballpark on East Campus at UCSD was given a brand-new look outside the foul lines in 2015. Some of the main features of the extensive renovation included a permanent grandstand to seat just over 500, a press box, new sunken dugouts, an area for food trucks, and restrooms, among several other amenities. Read details here. Perhaps most significant is the Marye Anne Fox Clubhouse down the right field line, which was introduced to the players on March 17, 2015. The official Triton Ballpark re-opening and clubhouse dedication took place on April 10, 2015. View photo galleries from the ballpark construction, Opening Day and dedication.
UCSD was at No. 24 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II preseason top 40 (Dec. 21), and surged up to No. 7 in the first in-season edition on Feb. 27. The Tritons were No. 5 on March 20, and are up to a season-best No. 4 this week. They did not appear in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Perfect Game preseason listings, but are currently No. 14 and No. 11, respectively, in those polls. UCSD was No. 24 in the D2 Baseball News preseason ranking, and are up to No. 2 as of April 10. Regionally speaking, UCSD is listed No. 1 in the West by D2 Baseball News and tied for No. 2 with Chico State and behind Azusa Pacific by the NCBWA.
|Tritons in the Polls|
|Collegiate Baseball Newspaper||No. 4||April 10||Poll||N/A|
|D2 Baseball News||No. 2||April 10||Poll||No. 1|
|NCBWA||No. 14||April 11||Poll||No. 2|
|Perfect Game||No. 11||April 12||Poll||N/A|
LAST TIME OUT
UCSD rallied to win a three-game series for the fourth time in five weeks, at home against then-top-ranked rival Chico State. Despite taking a 2-0 lead in Saturday's opener, the Tritons surrendered a five-run sixth and let things unravel a bit late with a six-run ninth in a 13-5 defeat. It was the first time they allowed a double-digit run total this year. UCSD bounced back with a 7-0 triumph in the nine-inning nightcap as veteran right-handers Jack Rupe, Jr. (5.0 IP), and Troy Cruz (4.0) combined on the seven-hit shutout with a pair of strikeouts each. The Tritons jumped right out in front with a five-run first, as Justin Flatt and Keenan Brigman sandwiched two-run singles around a blooped RBI double by Nick Kitzmann. In Sunday's rubber game, UCSD answered a three-run fifth with a four-run home half and held on, making a winner out of starter Adrian Orozco. Brigman's two-out, pinch-hit, three-run triple to cap that frame was the difference. Jonah Dipoto notched his second save with 2.2 no-hit innings.
BRIGMAN'S BIG HITS NET HIM CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD
Keenan Brigman went just 2-for-6 in the Chico State series, but those two hits couldn't have been much bigger, driving in five runs and netting the redshirt freshman utility his first CCAA Player of the Week award. Both knocks came with two outs, to the opposite field in right. Brigman produced a two-run single to round out a five-run first inning in Saturday's doubleheader nightcap, a 7-0 shutout. Then in Sunday's rubber game, his pinch-hit, three-run triple turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 advantage in the fifth. UCSD went on to win, 6-4. The San Jose native more than doubled his season RBI output over the weekend, from four to nine. Brigman has started at four different defensive positions during his first on-the-field season of college baseball (2B, LF, SS, RF).
FIRST WIN OVER NO. 1 SINCE 2009
UCSD's 7-0 shutout of Chico State in game two of the April 8 doubleheader in La Jolla marked its first win over the top-ranked team in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll since March 15, 2009, when the No. 23 Tritons completed a four-game home sweep over No. 1 Cal State Stanislaus, 6-5. Scores of the first three games on March 13 and 14 were 3-2 (11), 8-3 and 6-0. UCSD had last played a top-10 side a year ago, knocking off No. 10 Cal Poly Pomona, 6-2, in a non-conference meeting in La Jolla on Feb. 14.
DURNA LOCKED IN
Sophomore first baseman Tyler Durna, the lone two-time CCAA Player of the Week (March 7 and March 28) thus far in 2017, has upped his batting average to a season-high .429 to lead the league. After beginning the year 1-for-11 to see that mark at .091, the Chino Hills native has really turned it on, going 38-for-80 (.475) with six doubles, a triple, five home runs and 21 RBI over the Tritons' last 22 games, all of them starts at first. He has reached base in all 22 and produced at least one hit in 21, including the last 17 straight for the top hit streak of his career and longest by a Triton so far in 2017. Durna had multiple hits in 12 of those 17 contests. He is second in the CCAA in slugging percentage (.703) and fifth in on-base percentage (.491).
HOME SWEET HOME
UCSD is 15-4 in La Jolla in 2017. The Tritons reached 20 home wins for the second time under sixth-year head coach Eric Newman a season ago. The Tritons were 22-9 in La Jolla in 2016 and are 110-51 (.683) at Triton Ballpark under Newman.
LARSEN JOINS 200-HIT CLUB
Jack Larsen has appeared in 95 consecutive games, all of them starts in either right or center field. His third home run of 2017, a solo blast with two outs in the second inning of the March 17 doubleheader nightcap at SF State, gave him 200 hits for his four-year Triton career. Larsen, who has worn the No. 16 jersey throughout his days on the La Jolla campus, thus became the 16th player in program history to achieve that milestone. He now has 210 hits, 17 of them home runs. Larsen's first long ball of the year was a three-run shot at Concordia Irvine (2/11), pushing him over the 100 RBI mark. He now has 122. Larsen successfully stole second base on his first attempt of 2017 (2/12), to make him 21-for-21 in steals as a Triton, prior to finally getting caught for the first time in the fourth inning of a doubleheader nightcap against Western Oregon (2/16). He also leads the team with four outfield assists, increasing his career total to 17. Larsen has handled all 80 defensive chances cleanly in 2017, and 111 straight going back to his last error on April 23, 2016.
UCSD has yet to lose a series this season, having won nine and split one. The Tritons have sweeps over Western Oregon (shortened 2-0), Cal State San Marcos (4-0) and SF State (3-0). They began the year with back-to-back 3-1 victories over Concordia (OR) and Concordia Irvine. UCSD also topped Cal State Monterey Bay, Sonoma State and Chico State at home and Stanislaus State on the road, 2-1, all four after having lost game one. The lone split (1-1) came in a shortened set at Cal State East Bay. The Tritons are the only team to have beaten Chico State (7-1-1) in a series in 2017.
TRITONS PERFECT IN AO STARTS
UCSD is 8-0 in Adrian Orozco starts, with six of them in series clinchers and four in rubber games. He has earned the winning decision in five consecutive starts, now at 6-0 on the year with a team-best 35 strikeouts. The Chula Vista product has gone at least 5.0 innings in every outing. Check out the April 7 San Diego Union-Tribune feature on him here.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
UCSD is 24-3 in 2017 in games in which it scores three or more runs, after finishing the 2016 season at 30-6 in such contests. The Tritons won their first 16 games a year ago when tallying at least three, and first 13 this season prior to an 8-6 defeat to CSUMB in 10 innings on March 11. Conversely, they are 0-4 in 2017 when managing fewer than three runs. UCSD was 1-15 with two runs or less last season. The Tritons have produced five runs or more in 23 of their 24 wins in the current campaign.
MOTT EMBRACING ACE ROLE
Sophomore left-hander Preston Mott has parlayed his first career Opening Day start into a strong introduction as the Triton ace. He is 6-2 through a team-leading 10 starts after having gone 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA over a team-best 14 starts in his rookie campaign. The Clovis product has a 2.65 ERA over 54.1 innings, with 32 strikeouts against 19 walks. Opponents are hitting just .224. Mott extended a streak of consecutive complete shutout innings all the way to 22 from Feb. 3 to March 4. He is tied for second in the CCAA in wins, seventh in ERA, and 10th in innings.
IRON MAN TY
Fourth-year senior Tyler Howsley has appeared in 140 consecutive games for UC San Diego, dating back to Opening Day in 2015. He had started 111 straight contests, all at shortstop, before coming off of the bench in the doubleheader nightcap with Concordia (OR) on Feb. 4. In the fifth inning of game one of the March 17 doubleheader at SF State, Howsley was credited with his first error since Feb. 5, snapping a string of 75 consecutive defensive chances handled cleanly. He is tied for second in the CCAA and 10th nationally with nine sacrifice bunts. Howsley's 30 career sacrifice bunts tie him with another great Triton shortstop, Vance Albitz, for the most in UCSD's Division II era (since 2001).
COUPLE SHUTOUT STREAKS
Troy Cruz has tossed 11.0 shutout innings over his past four relief stints. Jonah Dipoto has not surrendered an earned run since back-to-back-to-back singles to begin his 2017 debut back on Feb. 4 netted a solo tally. The sophomore right-hander is now going on 20.0 frames since allowing that lone earned score. He has given up a pair of unearned runs during the stretch. Dipoto paces the team with his 0.45 ERA, and is the joint leader with Travis Roberts at 12 appearances each.
UCSD's starters' ERA over the opening weekend was a miniscule 0.47, as, in order, Preston Mott, Kyle Mora, Jack Rupe, Jr., and Adrian Orozco combined to allow a solitary earned run over their 19.0 innings pitched. Now through 31 games, the Triton starters' ERA stands at 2.61, with 45 earned runs over 155.1 innings and a 15-3 record.
UCSD has 22 home runs this season, including eight over a stretch of five games ahead of last week's Chico State series. The Tritons rank second in the category in the CCAA, behind only Cal State LA's 26. Coming over just 31 games thus far, this is the most home runs by a UCSD squad since the Tritons blasted 25 over 50 contests in 2012. Tyler Durna and Jack Larsen share the team lead with five apiece, tied with three others for fourth in the CCAA.
UCSD AMONG STATISTICAL LEADERS
The UCSD pitching staff currently ranks ninth in the NCAA Division II in ERA (2.98), 20th in WHIP (1.27), 21st in shutouts (4), and 30th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.41) and walks allowed per nine innings (3.04). The Tritons are sixth in sacrifice bunts (41), 10th in fielding percentage (.973) and win-loss percentage (.774), 25th in sacrifice flies (19), and 32nd in triples (12). UCSD leads the CCAA in scoring (6.9 runs per game).
Fifth-year senior Troy Cruz made his return to the diamond in the Feb. 5 series finale with Concordia (OR). The 2014 All-American and three-time All-CCAA pick out of Chula Vista, who was limited to just three appearances in 2016 before being shut down due to injury, flamed through the top of the ninth inning, striking out the side before earning the win as UCSD rallied with three runs in the home half. Cruz threw just 12 pitches, nine of them for strikes. He picked up another winning decision in his second relief outing at Concordia Irvine (2/11). On Feb. 24, Cruz tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save since his freshman year back on Feb. 28, 2013. He added a second save with two shutout frames at Cal State East Bay (3/4), and wins at SF State (3/17) and Stanislaus State (4/1), the latter through four complete innings of scoreless relief. Cruz threw up four more zeroes for a save and combined shutout against No. 1 Chico State (4/8).
MORE HAPPY RETURNS
During game one of the March 11 doubleheader against Cal State Monterey Bay, Kyle Goodbrand made his return to the mound, having been hit in the face by a hard liner in the Feb. 16 nightcap versus Western Oregon. He then tossed 3.2 no-hit frames, retiring 11 of 12 batters faced, again in relief at SF State (3/16), before notching his first winning decision as a Triton with five more shutout innings in a starting role versus Sonoma State (3/25). Fellow redshirt junior right-hander John Erhardt was on the active roster for the CSUMB series, but was not utilized. He took the hill at SF State for 0.2 innings in the finale (3/17), having made just two appearances, both starts, in 2016 before being shut down and eventually having Tommy John surgery. Erhardt was the Tritons' Opening Day starter a season ago. He had not pitched in a game since a short stint at Cal Poly Pomona on March 21, 2016.
LOTS OF STRIKEOUTS
Redshirt senior Adrian Orozco's 12-strikeout performance on March 12 against visiting Cal State Monterey Bay, was the best of his career at any level. It was the most strikeouts by a Triton, and in fact the first double-digit output, since former All-American ace Justin Donatella also had a dozen in a home meeting with CSUMB on April 10, 2015. The total fell one shy of matching Donatella's single-game record for the program's Division II era (since 2001), from 2014. Four Triton arms combined for 16 punchouts against the Otters, the team's first double-digit effort of 2017 and most since another 16 in the 2012 opener in La Jolla against Western Oregon on Feb. 3.
NINE-GAME WIN STREAK
The 6-1 loss in game two of the March 4 doubleheader at Cal State East Bay snapped UCSD's nine-game win streak, its longest since a 19-gamer in 2011, from April 9 to May 13.
BIG SERIES FOR SHIRLEY AGAINST SAN MARCOS
Fifth-year senior centerfielder Brandon Shirley went 10-for-19 and posted multiple hits in all four games of the Cal State San Marcos series, Feb. 23-25, scoring six times with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. He is currently hitting .294, leads the team with 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts, and has handled all 75 of his chances cleanly in center, including three assists.
UCSD has one walk-off victory in 2017, courtesy of redshirt senior Brandon Shirley's two-out, two-run double to plate Chad Crosbie and Steven Coe on Feb. 5. It was Shirley's first career walk-off hit. Coe now has been involved in five, as the winning run in three, and the deciding hit in two.
• Feb. 5: UCSD 9, CU 8 (Watch)
Shirley walked off Concordia (OR) to clinch the season-opening series, his two-out, two-run double finding the base of the wall in left center and chasing freshman pinch-runner Crosbie home ahead of Coe from first for the winner. Coe's RBI single had moved the Tritons back within a run.
UCSD's 10-run fifth against Concordia (OR) on Feb. 4 was its largest since an 11-run ninth in a 17-3 win at SF State on April 18, 2014 ... Concordia's (OR) six-run seventh (2/5) and Chico State's six-run ninth (4/8) have been the biggest frames against UCSD this year ... The Tritons' five errors on Feb. 5 were there most since being charged with 11 in a 21-10 loss at Cal State East Bay on March 1, 2015 ... Ten players have made their college and/or Triton debuts in 2017, all but one over the opening weekend, in Keenan Brigman, Chad Crosbie, Alex Eliopulos, Kyle Goodbrand, Blaine Jarvis, Nick Kitzmann, Jesse Moore, Steven Schuknecht and Ted Stuka, with J.T. Williams returning from injury on March 26 ... UCSD is 5-1 in season openers under Eric Newman and 14-3 since moving to Division II in 2001 ... UCSD is 5-1 in CCAA openers with Newman in charge, with five straight wins after a 4-1 loss to Chico State in La Jolla on Feb. 17, 2012 ... The Tritons are 10-7 in CCAA openers all-time (since 2001), and 10-1 with six splits in sets to begin the league season ... UCSD was picked to place third overall and second in the South in the 2017 CCAA race by the league's head coaches, as announced on Jan. 27, with defending CCAA tournament champion Chico State the favorite for the fifth time in six years.
DURNA A TWO-TIME CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tyler Durna was named for the first time as the CCAA Player of the Week on March 7, going 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run, two runs and three RBI in the doubleheader split at Cal State East Bay. The sophomore first baseman picked up his second award on March 28. In the series win over Sonoma State, Durna hit a team-best .545 (6-for-11) and slugged 1.273 with team highs of six runs, two home runs and five RBI. He was 2-for-3 with two home runs, one walk, a career-high four runs and career-high-matching four RBI in the doubleheader nightcap on March 26. It was his first career multi-home run game.
LARSEN NAMED CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jack Larsen on Feb. 14 was named UCSD's first CCAA Player of the Week for 2017, earning the award for the fourth time. He hit .429 (6-for-14) with six runs and five RBI in a 3-1 series victory over Concordia. Larsen launched his first home run of the year, a three-run shot, in a 7-6 win on Feb. 11, and reached base safely in all five plate appearances in a 5-4 decision the next day.
UCSD placed second in the CCAA in 2016 behind now-two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona (26-11) with a league mark of 20-17, qualifying for a third consecutive CCAA Championship. The fourth-seeded Tritons had a 31-21 record after a 1-2 showing in Stockton.
UCSD's 39-player 2017 roster features 21 letterwinners, four returning redshirts and 14 newcomers. The Tritons return all but two primary position player starters and all but one starter on the mound. Among those back are fourth-year starters Jack Larsen in the outfield and Tyler Howsley at shortstop. Larsen is a two-time All-CCAA First Team selection who added NCBWA All-West Region honorable mention as a junior, while Howsley has a pair of All-CCAA honorable mentions. Joining them are the likes of senior infielder JD Hearn, veteran outfielders Brandon Shirley and Christian Leung, catcher Steven Coe, Justin Flatt, Tyler Durna and Tim White.
In his sixth season in charge, Eric Newman welcomes back a large bulk of a pitching staff that saw 35 of 52 starts made by true freshmen in 2016. All are in the stable with a full year of college baseball under their belts, that group being made up of Brent Bell, Jonah Dipoto, Kyle Lucke, Kyle Mora and Preston Mott. Bullpen options are Jack Rupe, Jr., Erik Amundson, Cameron Kurz and Tim Nelson.
UCSD will be bolstered by the fifth-year return of Troy Cruz, a 2014 All-American and three-time All-CCAA selection in a dual role as a pitcher and hitter who was only able to make three appearances in 2016 before being shut down due to injury.
There is plenty of excitement for a group of transfers which includes Keenan Brigman (Pacific), Alex Eliopulos (San Diego Mesa College), Kyle Goodbrand (Irvine Valley College), Jesse Moore (Edmonds CC), Adrian Orozco (San Diego State) and J.T. Williams (Mt. Hood CC). Orozco is a former two-year Triton reliever (2013-14) who spent the past two seasons at Southwestern College and SDSU.
UCSD's 2017 schedule consists of 47 regular-season games, including 27 at home within the friendly confines of Triton Ballpark. Three have been lost to weather. After contesting eight of 10 non-conference dates in La Jolla, the Tritons started league play with a split-venue, four-game sweep over crosstown rival Cal State San Marcos. UCSD bested defending CCAA tournament champion and league favorite Chico State in a three-gamer at home, April 8-9. The Tritons face two-time reigning region champion and CCAA South favorite Cal Poly Pomona in another split-venue, four-game series, April 13-15. The CCAA Championship will be held in the neutral-site city of Stockton for the fifth year in a row, returning to Banner Island Ballpark of the minor-league Stockton Ports, May 10-13. UCSD has earned three successive trips.
YOUNG PITCHING FROM 2016 BACK WITH EXPERIENCE
In 2016, 35 of 52 games for UCSD were started on the mound by true freshmen, including all three games of the CCAA Championship. Despite that, the Triton pitching staff compiled an earned-run average of 3.91, good enough for second in the CCAA and 30th nationally in Division II. UCSD has thus placed among the top three in the CCAA in ERA in four of the past five years. All of those arms return, in the form of Brent Bell, Jonah Dipoto, Kyle Lucke, Kyle Mora and Preston Mott.
UCSD continues a tradition of being strong defensively. The Tritons posted a .970 fielding percentage for the second straight year in 2016, leading the CCAA and ranking 20th in Division II. They were second in the CCAA, behind only Cal Poly Pomona (.971), and 21st in Division II, in 2015. UCSD has been in the top 30 nationally and top three in the conference in fielding for each of the past seven seasons. The Tritons were also second in the CCAA (behind Chico State) in 2014 with a .974 clip, and fifth in the country. In 2013, they were second in the league behind Chico State and 11th nationally (.972). They were 29th in Division II in 2012 (.966) and third in the conference. UCSD led the nation with a Division II- and school-record mark of .984 (1611-673-38) in 2010 and was fifth in 2011 (.972), pacing the CCAA both years. No program in the country has even fielded at a .980 rate since 2010.
The CCAA baseball landscape remains largely the same for 2017, with two geographically-balanced, six-team divisions. The top three squads in the final standings of each division will again make up the CCAA Championship field. Second-year member Cal State San Marcos, UCSD's crosstown foe and South opponent, is still ineligible for postseason play. The CCAA maintains a 38-game league slate, made up of a four-game series within divisions, and three-gamers across divisions. The automatic qualifier into the NCAA Championship is still the winner of the CCAA tournament, which remains a six-team, double-elimination event over four days. New this year, however, is that the top seed in that tourney will be crowned regular-season champion.
UCSD returns five all-conference performers from 2016 in fourth-year standouts Jack Larsen (first team for second straight year), Tyler Howsley (honorable mention for second straight year) and Steven Coe (honorable mention), and sophomore right-handers Kyle Mora (second team) and Tim Nelson (honorable mention) ... Larsen also picked up NCBWA All-West Region honorable mention in 2016 ... Howsley and Larsen played together at Mission Viejo's Capistrano Valley High School, as did Nelson and Tyler Durna at Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills ... All but three players on the 39-man 2017 roster, redshirt junior Tim White (Stratford, CT) and newcomers Jesse Moore (Port Orchard, WA) and J.T. Williams (Eagle, ID), are California natives ... There are seven San Diego products in Steven Coe (Valley Center/Valley Center HS), Troy Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS), Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Garrett Henkel (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Cameron Kurz (Encinitas/La Costa Canyon HS), Adrian Orozco (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch HS) and Jack Rupe, Jr. (San Marcos/Mission Hills HS) ... Sophomore right-hander Jonah Dipoto is the son of Jerry Dipoto, who pitched eight seasons for three Major League Baseball organizations, and is the general manager of the Seattle Mariners ... Redshirt freshman transfer Keenan Brigman (UOP) is the younger brother of former USD infield standout and current Seattle Mariners minor leaguer Bryson Brigman, a third-round selection in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft who enters the 2017 season as the club's No. 17 prospect.
HEAD COACH ERIC NEWMAN
Eric Newman is in his sixth season as the UCSD head coach. The 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year has a 188-113 record (135-79 CCAA) in charge of the Tritons and 283-185 overall in his eight-plus seasons as a head coach. Newman guided UCSD to the 2012 CCAA regular-season and tournament titles in his first go-around in La Jolla, and a subsequent trip to the NCAA Division II West Regional. His Tritons won a record sixth conference tourney crown in May of 2014 in Stockton, to again nab the CCAA's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. With UCSD earning the region's top seed, Triton Ballpark played host to the 2014 NCAA West Regional. Newman has led the Tritons to three CCAA banners and three NCAA postseason berths in his five years, including back-to-back appearances in West Region finals (2014-15), as well as five plus-.500 and four 30-win campaigns. He won his 100th CCAA contest at home against Cal State San Bernardino, 9-4, on Feb. 26, 2016. Newman previously went 95-72 in three seasons at the helm of Dallas Baptist University from 2005-07. He was the fifth-round draft choice of the San Diego Padres out of Texas Tech in 1994, pitching professionally for eight years with four different organizations.
Eric Newman added Justin James to his staff as the new pitching coach this off-season. James came over from his alma mater, Point Loma. J.T. Bloodworth is in his fifth season in the UCSD dugout, now in his third year as the Tritons' recruiting coordinator. Jeff Calhoon and former Triton relief pitcher (2011-12) Tony York are in their second year. Bloodworth coaches third base and Calhoon is at first base. York pursued a professional baseball career after his UCSD days and upon returning, resumed work on his bachelor's degree in psychology, completing it in March.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS
Cal Poly Pomona (18-17, 14-10 CCAA) has scuffled a bit to this point in the season, but is coming off of a 2-1 series victory at home over Cal State East Bay. The Broncos' struggles can largely by attributed to a 4.39 team ERA, ninth in the CCAA. In 2015, CPP secured its first CCAA regular-season title (28-12) since 1991, ahead of a first-ever tournament banner. The Broncos then earned the top seed in the West, and thus the right to host the West Regional for the first time since 1985, at Mt. SAC in nearby Walnut. CPP won that tourney over UCSD and ultimately was one of the last three teams left standing (46-17) in Cary, N.C. Last year, the Broncos finished a full six games ahead of UCSD in the CCAA South, again ended the Tritons' season, this time on day three of the CCAA Championship, and earned a return trip to Cary as repeat champions of the West. The Broncos were among the final four squads remaining, getting eliminated by eventual national champion Nova Southeastern via 5-2 decision. Randy Betten, the 2015 NCBWA West Region and CCAA Coach of the Year, is in his seventh season in charge at Cal Poly Pomona.
UCSD leads the all-time series between these teams, 43-31, and holds a 25-17 advantage over the last 42 meetings since 2009. The Tritons went 4-2 against the Broncos in 2016. They first took a 6-2 non-conference decision in La Jolla (2/14), with Preston Mott tossing five shutout frames in his college debut. UCSD won the regular-season series, 3-1, taking the first three before dropping the finale in Pomona, 3-2. The Tritons then saw their season ended by the Broncos, 9-6, at the CCAA Championship. CPP went 5-1 against the Tritons in 2015, winning the regular-season set, 3-1, with UCSD only procuring the opener, 4-3, in walk-off fashion in 11. The Broncos were narrow 2-1 victors in the winner's bracket at the CCAA Championship, and 7-4 in a riveting West Region final in Walnut. The two teams played each other six times in 2014 as well, splitting their regular-season series before the Tritons took a pair of postseason matchups at the CCAA tourney and the West Regional. Four of those showdowns were decided in the final inning. Three were of the walk-off variety, with one apiece in Pomona and La Jolla before UCSD earned a 5-4 victory on an RBI double by Nick La Face with two outs in the 11th inning into the left field corner on the second night of the CCAA tournament in Stockton. Of the 18 meetings in 2014-16, seven had one-run margins, with UCSD 4-3 in those games, with three extra-inning affairs and five walk-offs. Prior to 2014, the sides also split their four-game sets in 2012 and 2013, with both 2-2 at home and 2-2 on the road. CPP ended UCSD's 2011 season at the West Regional in La Jolla, and the Tritons returned the favor on May 16, 2014, through a 22-hit, 20-5 thumping. Thus, in four of the past six years, one team has ended the other's season in this rivalry. Apart from that 20-5 rout, the average margin of the other 17 matchups the last three seasons, has been 2.3 runs.
1987 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES ANNIVERSARY
This season marks the 30-year anniversary of the 1987 squad that advanced to the program's first College World Series, that at the NCAA Division III level. Members of that team were back at Triton Ballpark to be recognized prior to the March 11 doubleheader against Cal State Monterey Bay. The 1987 Tritons posted a then-program-best 32-13 record under the direction of head coach Lyle Yates, sweeping through La Verne in the West Regional on their way to Marietta, Ohio, before being eliminated in extra innings by eventual national champion Montclair State.
TRITONS IN THE PROS
Justin Donatella (2013-15) is back with the Visalia Rawhide, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks whom he aided to the 2016 California League North title. He is the organization's No. 26 prospect, and in fact was the Rawhide's Opening Day starter in Lancaster on April 6. Tim Shibuya (2008-11) is in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization again and been assigned to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. Shibuya is in the starting rotation. A third former right-handed pitcher, Guido Knudson (2008-11), is a free agent and in his native San Diego to rehabilitate an injury.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UCSD Athletics' online partner, Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are in eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
SOCIAL MEDIA (#AllForOne)
UCSD Athletics on Facebook (UCSDtritons)
UCSD Athletics on Instagram (@UCSDtritons)
UCSD Athletics on Twitter (@UCSDtritons)
UCSD Athletics on YouTube (UCSDathletics)
Triton Baseball on Facebook (TritonsBaseball)
Triton Baseball on Instagram (@ucsd_baseball)
Triton Baseball on Twitter (@UCSDbsb)
Coach Newman on Twitter (@CoachEricNewman)
Coach James on Twitter (@CoachJames_3)
Coach Bloodworth on Twitter (@CoachBlood_)
Coach Calhoon on Twitter (@CoachCalhoon)
Coach York on Twitter (@TYorkUCSD)
UC San Diego continues CCAA South play against Cal State Dominguez Hills. The four-game set begins with single matchups at 3 p.m. in Carson on Thursday, April 20, and Friday, April 21. The series then shifts to La Jolla and ends with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 22.