The UC San Diego baseball program will tune up for the 2014 campaign with a trio of exhibitions over the remainder of the month of January, all at home against National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schools. The first two match-ups are against nationally-ranked NAIA squads and local foes in No. 22 San Diego Christian College this Friday, Jan. 17, and No. 16 Cal State San Marcos on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The exhibition season will close with Vanguard University on Tuesday, Jan. 28. All three games are slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch at Triton Ballpark. Admission is free, though parking permits are required on the UCSD campus on weeknights. Live stats will be available. There will be no live video coverage until the regular season begins.
Of the four national polls in existence for NCAA Division II baseball, the preseason editions of two of them have been unveiled, with third-year head coach Eric Newman's Tritons rated No. 39 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. UCSD did not appear in the College Baseball Lineup Preseason Top 30. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and D2BaseballNews.com have yet to release their prognostications.
San Diego Christian, coming off of the best season in program history in 2013 at 39-20, is ranked for the first time ever in the 2014 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll. The El Cajon-based Hawks advanced to the final game of the NAIA Opening Round Tournament a year ago, losing to Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) rival The Master's College, 11-7. Cal State San Marcos went 35-12 as Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) champion in 2013. The Cougars are No. 16 nationally in the NAIA poll. Vanguard, located in Costa Mesa and like SDCC a GSAC team, was 22-27. UCSD defeated CSUSM, 7-3, and Vanguard, 10-3, in exhibitions prior to opening the 2013 season.
UCSD finished 26-24 a year ago. An even 20-20 mark in the California Collegiate Athletic Association meant a share of sixth place in the 11-team league. Seven position starters and three starting pitchers return.
Following the three exhibition dates, UCSD will host Holy Names University of Oakland in a doubleheader on Opening Day on Sunday, Feb. 2. First pitch at Triton Ballpark will come at 11 a.m.