The 23rd-ranked Tritons had taken the first game of the weekend series on Opening Night Friday, 6-2.
On Saturday, junior Justin Rahn gave UCSD a temporary 2-1 edge with a solo home run off the new scoreboard in right field to lead off the home sixth. The shot also would have given Rahn the win as the pitcher of record at the time. The Cupertino product began the game as the Tritons' designated hitter before taking over on the mound in relief for the first pitching stint of his college career.
Colorado Mesa answered with a solo home run of its own, however, in the next half-inning when number-nine batter Erik Kozel pulled one out to left field as senior Triton leftfielder James Mossholder crashed into the wall in vain.
The visiting Mavericks then struck for three runs in the eighth, capitalizing off some uncharacteristic play by UCSD in the form of a hit batter, passed ball, wild pitch and balk. Senior All-American CMU shortstop Braden Box provided a pinch-hit, one-out RBI triple to straightaway center that put Mesa ahead for good. A perfectly-executed safety squeeze moments later and ultimately the balk with runners at the corners provided insurance.
In his first collegiate start on the mound for UCSD, sophomore right-hander Dan Kolodin was effective and resilient. Having allowed an unearned run in the first inning after the first batter reached on an infield error and came around, Kolodin settled down and threw up three zeroes before giving way to Rahn to start the fifth. He allowed five hits, the unearned run and two walks while striking out three.
Rahn finished 2-for-4 at the plate with the home run while issuing just a single walk with one strikeout on the hill. Ironically, Rahn had also knocked a long ball off the scoreboard in UCSD's exhibition opener against Concordia back on Jan. 21.
Senior All-American centerfielder Danny Susdorf was 2-for-5 with a leadoff double in the first that extended his hit streak to 19 games dating back to last year.
Senior left-hander Richard Kilbury (0-1) was pinned with the losing decision as he struck out the first batter he faced but his hit batter ran home on the Box triple.
Cody Lahman (1-0) earned the win in relief of senior right-hander Matt Williams, who struck out seven over 6.0 innings. Lahman (1.2 IP) and Garrett Carpenter (1.1) combined for three scoreless frames, with Carpenter picking up the save.
Junior Triton shortstop Dillon Moyer had led off the home seventh with a double down the left field line to greet Lahman with the score knotted at 2-2. He was then cut down at third base, however, on a poor sacrifice attempt, and that threat was soon ended through a strikeout and caught stealing.
Kolodin ran into trouble in the fourth as the Mavericks loaded the bases following a two-out double and his only two bases on balls. The Westlake Village native then went called strike, called strike and strike swinging on Kozel to get out of the bind, with that successful trifecta marking his last three tosses of the day.
Previously in the third, Colorado Mesa had runners at the corners with one gone before junior catcher Nick La Face took a pitch outside and fired a perfect throw to senior first baseman Richard Seigel to pick the trail runner off. On the very next pitch, Kolodin fanned Mitch Corwin swinging.
Defensively, Moyer took a bouncer straight up the middle with a Maverick at first, stepped on the second-base bag and flipped to Seigel for the inning-ending double play in a quick six-pitch second for Kolodin. Despite a game-opening error, third baseman Garrett Tuck took a grounder near the line and hosed Carpenter in the fifth. Second baseman Troy Cruz dove to his left to rob Nate Robertson in the eighth.
UCSD (1-1) and Colorado Mesa (1-1) conclude their series on Sunday, Feb. 3, with the rubber game set for a noon start at Triton Ballpark.
Triton Notes: UCSD is now 6-5 all-time against Colorado Mesa, including 5-1 in La Jolla ... Dan Kolodin's 4.0 innings marked the longest outing of his career in his 10th appearance, and his three strikeouts were also a high ... True freshman Justin Donatella made his collegiate debut, throwing a scoreless ninth ... Fellow freshman Troy Cruz drew his second straight start at second base in place of Spencer Frazier, still unavailable after receiving six stitches underneath his right eye when he was contacted by a pitch during Tuesday's exhibition finale with Vanguard ... Junior right-hander Jordan Goldsmith made his Triton debut, throwing the seventh.
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