LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 23rd-ranked University of California San Diego baseball team settled for a split of a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) doubleheader with visiting Cal State San Bernardino on Senior Day Saturday at Triton Ballpark.
UC San Diego matched season highs of 20 runs and 21 hits in battering the Coyotes 20-1 in game one. An eight-run outburst by the visitors broke a 3-3 deadlock in the eighth in the shortened seven-inning nightcap, however, as CSUSB took it, 11-3.
The Tritons thus clinched the victory in the four-game set with that initial result, 3-1, having handily won the first two meetings in San Bernardino, 19-5 on Thursday and 16-4 on Friday. They batted around three times in game one on Saturday, and seven times in the series.
UC San Diego rounded out the regular season at 32-15 overall and 24-13 in the CCAA. CSUSB capped its season 15-35 overall and 12-26 in league play. The Tritons were already locked into the second spot in the CCAA South, behind two-time reigning West Region champion Cal Poly Pomona, and also were assured the No. 3 seed at the upcoming CCAA Championship. UCSD will open the four-day, six-team, double-elimination tournament against No. 4 seed Stanislaus State this Wednesday night, May 10, at 7 p.m. The event returns to neutral-site Banner Island Ballpark, home of the minor-league Stockton Ports. The Tritons travel to Stockton Tuesday.
Ten incredible student-athletes were recognized in between games of the twin bill on Senior Day, in Troy Cruz (Chula Vista/Bonita Vista HS), John Erhardt, Justin Flatt, JD Hearn, Tyler Howsley, Jack Larsen, Christian Leung, Adrian Orozco (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch HS), Brandon Shirley and Tim White. Members of the group have led UCSD to four successive postseason berths.
Game One: UCSD 20, CSUSB 1
UCSD batted around in each of the first two innings while trotting out to a 9-1 advantage.
Larsen and Shirley at the very top of the Triton order, both reached base in each of the first four frames, Larsen in fact leading off the first three as UCSD sent exactly nine men to the plate in the first and second.
Redshirt freshman catcher Nick Kitzmann had a day for himself after connecting on his first collegiate home run, a grand slam, in Friday's contest. The Solvang native reached base safely in all six plate appearances, finishing 4-for-4 with a double, three singles, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. He scored twice and drove in one with his fifth double of the season in the eighth. The four hits were a season high.
In the first, Larsen took two called strikes from Coyote senior Don Sullivan (0-7) before drawing a leadoff walk. A Shirley single, Hearn bunt and Tyler Durna walk loaded the bases for junior designated hitter Jesse Moore to dump a first-pitch, two-run double into left center. The centerfielder misplayed the ball for an error that also allowed Durna to come around. Keenan Brigman's single scored Moore.
Larsen doubled opposite field into the gap in left center to begin the second, and after the speedy Shirley beat out an infield single, Hearn launched his sixth home run of the campaign over the wall in left. With one away, Moore found the other gap, this time in right, for his second double in as many innings, and redshirt sophomore third baseman Alex Eliopulos (La Jolla/La Jolla HS) massacred a ball to right that one-upped Hearn's shot. It was his third of 2017.
UCSD scored in each of the first five frames, adding two in the third and fifth around a singleton in the fouth. A six-run eighth capped the scoring. The lone Coyote run came on freshman Dominic Campeau's home run to lead off the second.
Redshirt junior right-hander Kyle Goodbrand (3-0) provided six strong innings, allowing just the Campeau shot among four hits, with three walks and three strikeouts. He had one perfect frame in the first. Sophomore left-hander Preston Mott retired the Coyotes in order in the seventh and worked around a one-out Campeau double in the eighth. He fanned one. Sophomore right-hander Kyle Lucke punched out two, both swinging, around a flyout in a 1-2-3 ninth.
Larsen finished 3-for-4 with a double, three walks, three runs and two RBI, while Shirley was 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs of his own. Eliopulos went 2-for-5 with the home run, double, a walk, two runs and four RBI. Hearn drove in four runs as well. Flatt came off the bench and found time to go 3-for-4 with a double, walk, two runs and an RBI. Moore was 2-for-2 with his two doubles, two runs and two RBI. Durna scored three and Brigman knocked in a pair.
Defensively, Brigman made a sliding catch toward the gap in left center for the second out in the first. White leapt as high as he possibly could to snare a liner off the bat of Damion Edmonds for the second out in the seventh.
The game featured a 33-minute rain delay early on.
Game Two: CSUSB 11, UCSD 3 (8)
The Tritons got two home runs from seniors to overturn a 2-0, first-inning deficit, as Leung connected on his fifth to right center in the second, and Hearn went opposite field, also to right center, with a solo blast in the fourth.
CSUSB tied it in the fifth, however, and strung together the big eighth to steal it.
UCSD seemingly grabbed some late momentum to end the seventh as with runners at first and third following a pinch-hit, leadoff double into the right field corner, Jonah Dipoto (1-3) induced a routine 4-6-3 double to keep the game tied at 3-3.
The Tritons went down in order, however, and CSUSB turned the tables in the eighth, sending 13 to the plate and scoring those eight runs on six hits two walks. It all began with a five-pitch walk to senior rightfielder Dillon Fahr, and was exasperated by one UCSD error that led to three of the runs being unearned, and a couple of uncharacteristic hiccups in general.
CSUSB's first two runs came in the first on Campeau's second home run of the day.
Hearn did make a real slick pickup of a hard-hit ball and made the throw across the diamond for the first out of the sixth.
Leung was 2-for-3 with his home run, a run scored and two RBI. Flatt added two more hits to give him five for the double dip. Hearn added a run to his solo blast.
Triton Notes: Tyler Howsley extended his consecutive games played streak to 156 dating back to the 2015 opener ... Jack Larsen has appeared in 111 straight games, all of them starts ... JD Hearn has appeared in 78 games in a row, all of them starts ... Hearn, Howsley and Larsen are the only Tritons to appear in all 47 games this season, with only Hearn and Larsen starting each ... Tyler Durna and Larsen extended their respective reached-base streaks to 38 and 29 games ... Durna's is the second-longest in UCSD's NCAA Division II history (since 2001), behind only Jeff Riddle's 41-gamer from 2004 ... Preston Mott made his first collegiate relief appearance after leading the team with 14 starts as a true freshman and making 13 more starts this year ... The Tritons outscored the Coyotes 22-3 in the fifth inning during the series, and have posted an 83-25 advantage over opponents in that frame this year ... Game One: The game marked the 200th of Howsley's career and No. 100 for fellow fourth-year Triton Tim White ... Kyle Goodbrand drew his seventh start as a Triton ... Keenan Brigman's first-inning single extended his current team-best hit streak to 10 games ... The doubles by Larsen to lead off the second and Alex Eliopulos in the eighth gave them 12 apiece to lead the team ... Larsen's two RBI gave him 11 for the series, a team-best 45 on the year, and 26 against Cal State San Bernardino ... It's a new career high for Larsen for RBI in a single series, having previously knocked in 10 in the four-game set with CSUSB a year ago ... Larsen now has 21 home runs, 147 runs, 230 hits and 140 RBI for his career, ranking No. 8, No. 10, No. 10, and No. 10, respectively, all-time at UCSD in those categories ... UCSD reached double digits in runs for the 11th time in 2017, and in a third straight game for the first time ... Game Two: The game marked the 200th of Larsen's career ... Jack Rupe, Jr., drew his sixth start of the year and 13th of his career ... Christian Leung's game-tying home run in the second was his first since Feb. 16 and first after returning from a hand injury on April 13 ... CSUSB's eight-run eighth is the biggest inning against UCSD this year, surpassing Cal State LA's seven-run seventh from another tough loss on April 28.