The 12th-ranked University of California San Diego baseball program continues California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play with a four-game, split-venue series against South foe Cal State LA this week. The division-leading Tritons (28-11, 20-9 CCAA) are at third-place Cal State LA (20-20, 13-17 CCAA) on Thursday, April 27, and Friday, April 28, with primetime first pitches each night at Reeder Field set for 6 p.m. The series then shifts south to Triton Ballpark on East Campus in La Jolla for its conclusion on Saturday, April 29, with a 1 p.m. doubleheader. The nightcap is a shortened seven innings, with about a 30- to 40-minute break in between. The Tritons are 17-6 at home and 11-5 on the road in 2017. UCSD is No. 2 in the CCAA in fielding (.972), third in ERA (3.48), and fourth in hitting (.299).
The Tritons' lead atop the CCAA South has been whittled down to just half a game over two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona (21-11). Chico State has already locked up the North, and holds a commanding 6.5-game advantage over UCSD in the race for the top seed at the CCAA Championship, and thus the league's regular-season crown. CPP plays three at Sonoma State this Saturday (11 a.m. DH) and Sunday (11 a.m.). Chico State hosts Cal State East Bay for four.
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. Local radio personality Ted Mendenhall (@TedMendenhall) is on the call this Saturday. Some road contests also have video, including Thursday and Friday in Los Angeles, for free with 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.
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.
FOURTH IN FIRST NCAA REGIONAL LISTING
The first release of the all-important NCAA regional rankings occurred on Wednesday, April 26, with UCSD fourth in the West behind Chico State, Azusa Pacific and Dixie State. The Tritons are ahead of California Baptist, Point Loma, Stanislaus State and Cal State Monterey Bay. The second edition will come on Wednesday, May 3. The top six teams in the final version on May 14, make up the NCAA Division II Championship West Regional. The winner of the 2017 CCAA Championship, May 10-13, earns an automatic berth into the West Regional, as does the regular-season champion of the Pacific West Conference. APU (21-7) and Dixie State (22-7-1) have identical winning percentages of .750 at the top in that race. The expanded (from 48 in 2015) 56-team field for the 2017 NCAA Division II Championship will be unveiled at 7 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 14, and will be streamed live on NCAA.com.
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, a season-best No. 4 on April 10, and now at No. 12. They did not appear in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Perfect Game preseason listings, but are currently receiving votes and No. 14, respectively, in those polls. UCSD was No. 24 in the D2 Baseball News preseason ranking, up as high as No. 2 on April 10, and now No. 9. Regionally speaking, UCSD is listed No. 2 in the West by D2 Baseball News and No. 5 by the NCBWA.
|Tritons in the Polls|
|Collegiate Baseball Newspaper||No. 12||April 24||Poll||N/A|
|D2 Baseball News||No. 9||April 24||Poll||No. 2|
|NCBWA||RV||April 25||Poll||No. 5|
|Perfect Game||No. 14||April 26||Poll||N/A|
LAST TIME OUT
For the fifth time this season last week, UCSD dropped the opener of a CCAA series before coming back to win it, 3-1 over Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Tritons let three separate leads slip away in a 12-6 defeat in Carson on Thursday afternoon, before routing the Toros on their home field, 20-4 on Friday. JD Hearn, Tyler Durna and Troy Cruz, the latter in his first at-bat of 2017, all had bases-clearing extra-base hits in that one, as UCSD struck for four in the sixth, and seven in both the seventh and eighth. Upon their return home, the Tritons rallied for a pair of wins to sweep the doubleheader and take the set, 10-8 and 6-5 in the shortened nightcap. Tyler Howsley's first career home run, a grand slam, erased a 3-0 deficit in the fourth inning of game one. Though the Tritons gave three runs right back, a five-run sixth put them ahead for good. Jack Rupe, Jr., provided 4.1 innings of near-perfect relief to gain credit for the winning decision. UCSD relinquished a 4-1 advantage in game two, only to get two-out RBI singles from seniors Brandon Shirley and Jack Larsen (here) in the sixth to come back for a 6-5 triumph.
POSTSEASON TICKET PUNCHED
The results of Saturday, April 22, clinched a fourth straight CCAA Championship berth for UCSD, and fifth postseason appearance in head coach Eric Newman's six years in charge. The Tritons will thus open the six-team, double-elimination tournament on Wednesday, May 10, at Stockton's neutral-site Banner Island Ballpark. The field, seeds and matchups are to be determined, with two full weekends still left in the regular season. Chico State and Cal Poly Pomona have also booked their plans.
DURNA LOCKED IN
Sophomore first baseman Tyler Durna, the lone two-time CCAA Player of the Week (March 7 and March 28) in 2017, continues to lead the league with his .417 batting average. After beginning the year 1-for-11 to see that mark at .091, the Chino Hills native has really turned it on, going 49-for-109 (.450) with six doubles, two triples, five home runs and 26 RBI over the Tritons' last 30 games, all of them starts at first. He has reached base in all 30 and produced at least one hit in 29, including the last 25 straight for UCSD's best hit streak of the NCAA Division II era, going back at least through the 2001 season. Durna had multiple hits in 14 of those 25 contests. He is second in the CCAA in slugging percentage (.642) and third in on-base percentage (.489).
HOME SWEET HOME
UCSD is 17-6 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 112-53 (.679) at Triton Ballpark under Newman.
LARSEN JOINS 200-HIT CLUB
Jack Larsen has appeared in 103 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 220 hits, 19 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 129. 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 has four outfield assists, increasing his career total to 17. Larsen has handled all 98 defensive chances cleanly in 2017, and 129 straight going back to his last error on April 23, 2016.
UCSD has a series record in 2017 of 10-1-1. The Tritons got back to winning ways after finally losing their first series of the season against Cal Poly Pomona, 3-1. 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, and added one of the come-from-behind variety most recently against Cal State Dominguez Hills. UCSD 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 (9-1-1) in a series in 2017.
TRITONS NEARLY PERFECT IN AO STARTS
UCSD is 9-1 in Adrian Orozco starts, with six wins in series clinchers and four in rubber games. He had earned the winning decision in five consecutive starts prior to taking a no decision in the Tritons' 2-1 loss in the seven-inning doubleheader nightcap at Cal Poly Pomona on April 15. Orozco is 7-0 on the year with a team-best 44 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 28-5 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 0-6 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 27 of their 28 wins in the current campaign.
IRON MAN TY
Fourth-year senior Tyler Howsley has appeared in 148 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 second in the CCAA and ninth nationally with 11 sacrifice hits. Howsley's 32 career sacrifices have moved him ahead of another great Triton shortstop, Vance Albitz, for the most in UCSD's Division II era (since 2001).
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. Through 39 games, the Triton starters' ERA stands at 3.44, with 74 earned runs over 193.2 innings and a 17-6 record.
UCSD has 27 home runs this season, including eight over a stretch of five games ahead of the Chico State series. The Tritons rank second in the category in the CCAA, behind only this week's opponent, Cal State LA (31). Coming over 39 games, this is the most home runs by a UCSD squad since the Tritons blasted 34 over 57 contests in 2011. Jack Larsen leads the team and is tied for third in the CCAA with his career-best seven home runs, with Tyler Durna at five.
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.
UCSD AMONG STATISTICAL LEADERS
The UCSD pitching staff currently ranks 21st in the NCAA Division II in ERA (3.48), 39th in WHIP (1.36), 45th in shutouts (4), and 27th in walks allowed per nine innings (3.06). The Tritons are sixth in sacrifice bunts (49), 13th in fielding percentage (.972) and double plays per game (0.97), 23rd in double plays (38), 28th in win-loss percentage (.718), and 21st in sacrifice flies (23).
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 took the hill in the finale at SF State (3/17) for 0.2 innings, 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 .307, leads the team with 13 stolen bases in 16 attempts, and has handled all but one of his 98 chances cleanly in center (career-best .990), including four 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.
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 the doubleheader nightcap on April 8, a 7-0 shutout. Then in the rubber game on April 9, 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 that weekend, from four to nine. Brigman has started at four defensive positions during his first on-the-field season of college baseball (2B, LF, SS, RF).
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 faced 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 clinched its fourth successive trip.
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 192-117 record (139-83 CCAA) in charge of the Tritons and 287-189 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 GOLDEN EAGLES
Cal State LA (20-20, 13-17 CCAA) has lost seven straight, including a three-game series sweep suffered at home against Stanislaus State this past weekend. Game scores were 2-0 and 8-3 for Saturday's doubleheader and 11-5 in the Sunday finale. The Golden Eagles are ninth in the CCAA in hitting (.281), eighth in pitching (4.46) and 11th in fielding (.955). Cal State LA and UCSD are 1-2 in the league in home runs, 31-27. CSULA is 12-9 at home and 8-11 away from Reeder Field. Cal State LA went 35-22 overall in 2013 en route to the program's first conference tournament banner. Vince Beringhele is in his 10th season at the helm of the Golden Eagles.
UCSD leads the all-time series between these league and now-division rivals, 43-39. The sides split their four meetings in each of the past two years. The 2015 doubleheader in La Jolla was a split, UCSD taking game one, 7-4, and the Golden Eagles rallying from a 2-0 deficit going into their final at-bat and pulling out a 3-2 decision in eight in the nightcap. A win in that one would have given the Tritons a share of the CCAA regular-season crown. UCSD went 5-2 against the Golden Eagles in 2014, as Cal State LA took two of three in an early-season non-conference series. The teams split a doubleheader in La Jolla on Feb. 8, before the Golden Eagles held off a late charge by the Tritons to win 9-8 at home the next day. CSULA scored seven in the fourth and UCSD rallied with six in the eighth in that one. In early April, UCSD won 6-3 and 4-3 at home before sweeping a twin bill in Los Angeles, 13-2 and 2-0. UCSD won the 2013 regular-season series, 3-1, as the teams split a pair in Los Angeles before the Tritons swept a home doubleheader. The sides played to a 2-2 series split in 2012, each winning twice at home.
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)
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UC San Diego concludes the regular season with a third straight and final split-venue, four-game series against a CCAA South opponent in Cal State San Bernardino. The first two meetings are afternoon affairs at Fiscalini Field in San Bernardino on Thursday, May 4, and Friday, May 5, both at 3 p.m. The series then shifts to La Jolla and Triton Ballpark, ending with a Senior Day doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.