SEASIDE, Calif. - The UC San Diego baseball team brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth with no outs after falling behind 3-0 through three frames, but fell to No. 8 Cal State Monterey Bay, 5-3, in the finale of a four-game California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) series Sunday at the Otter Sports Complex.
The contest marked the end of both teams’ regular-season schedules. The result gave the host Otters both the four-game series victory, as well as clinching the program’s first outright conference title. They had entered Sunday a full game ahead of Chico State and Cal State L.A.
UCSD and CSUMB had split Saturday’s doubleheader, with the Tritons winning game one, 6-1, and the Otters rallying for a 7-5 decision in the seven-inning nightcap, after the CSUMB edged UCSD to open the set on Friday afternoon, 4-3.
With the loss, UCSD dropped to 26-24 overall and an even 20-20 in the CCAA. Cal State Monterey Bay improved to 37-13 overall and 29-11 in league play.
UCSD, eliminated from CCAA Championship contention a week ago, will now await Wednesday’s third installment of the NCAA’s regional rankings. The Tritons took up the West’s No. 6 spot for each of the first two poll releases, with the top six in the final edition earning berths into the NCAA Division II West Regional. The selection announcement takes place next Sunday night, May 12, beginning at 7 p.m. PT, and can be viewed live on NCAA.com.
Down 5-3 heading to the ninth, UCSD sent James Mossholder into the fray to pinch hit, and though the senior was struck out by Otter closer A.J. Quintero, was able to reach base safely on an error by the CSUMB catcher. Going to the top of the order, Danny Susdorf singled up the middle. Quintero then knocked out Mossholder as the lead runner at third through a fielder’s choice grounder. A double steal left Scott Liske at second as the tying run, but a foulout and strikeout gave Quintero his league-best 10 save.
Cal State Monterey Bay took its 3-0 lead by virtue of runs tallied entirely after two outs were made in the inning.
A double, walk, and back-to-back RBI singles by Tommy George and Jason Merjano netted the first two scores in the opening frame. In the third, Merjano singled, stole second and came around on Jesse Olson’s base hit through the right side.
UCSD narrowed the gap to one with a two-run fifth. Liske accepted his team-best 10th hit-by-pitch of the year with one gone. With two away, junior teammates Dillon Moyer and Justin Rahn stroked doubles on consecutive pitches, the latter a two-run effort by the Triton leftfielder. The runs snapped senior Otter right-hander Jordan Helmkamp’s scoreless innings streak at 20.1 innings pitched.
After the home side made it a 4-2 game in the sixth, the teams traded single runs in the seventh. Susdorf led off the top half with a triple and trotted home on a Richard Seigel sacrifice fly. CSUMB responded in its very next turn at-bat with a sacrifice fly of its own after Ronnie Fhurong had doubled on an 0-2 count to open the frame.
Susdorf was hit by the first pitch of the game by Helmkamp and promptly stole second ahead of an infield Liske single, but the Otters managed to wriggle out of that situation. A fielder’s choice grounder, infield popout and Rahn walk eventually loaded the bases, but a strikeout left them that way.
Sophomore right-hander Dan Kolodin (4-3) started on the mound and took the loss for UCSD. He went the first three innings and gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out one. Four other pitchers saw action for the Tritons, culminating in Scott Zeman’s league-best 28th appearance, a scoreless eighth. Freshman Adrian Orozco hung up a pair of zeroes in the fourth and fifth.
Susdorf finished 2-for-4 with his triple, two steals and a run scored. Rahn was 1-for-3 with a walk, double and two RBI. Moyer and Garrett Tuck added two hits apiece.
Helmkamp (6-0) went six-plus frames, allowing all three runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out six. Josh Eagle completed the seventh and tossed a perfect eighth ahead of Quintero. Fhurong and Nolan Murray each provided three hits.
Triton Notes: UCSD still leads the all-time series, 25-10, since 2006, including 12-7 in Seaside … The Tritons are 11-12 against ranked teams in 2013 … Nick La Face has started 107 straight games … Richard Seigel started each of the last 87 games … Dillon Moyer started his 50th straight game at shortstop, and remained in the cleanup spot for the sixth successive contest … La Face, Seigel and Moyer are the only Tritons to start all 50 games in 2013 … Scott Liske made his 18th straight start in right field and extended his reached-base safely streak to 20 games in a row with his first-inning infield single … Spencer Frazier started the last 12 games at second base … Dan Kolodin drew his 10th mound start, and had gone at least 5.0 innings in eight straight prior to today, which marked his shortest start … Danny Susdorf’s leadoff triple in the seventh was his team-best fourth of 2013 and increased his school-record career total to 18 … Susdorf’s two steals upped his career-best and league-leading season total to 29, and his career haul to 78, No. 2 all-time in program history … The doubles by Moyer and Justin Rahn were numbers 17 and seven, respectively … The steals by Liske and Seigel were their fourth and ninth, respectively … Seigel’s sacrifice fly was his fourth.
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