LA JOLLA, Calif. - UC San Diego rallied late with four runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to defeat Cal State San Bernardino, 7-3, in the opener of a four-game California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) baseball series Thursday night at Triton Ballpark.
With the victory, UCSD improved to 23-20 overall and 17-16 in the CCAA. The Tritons now trail fourth-place Sonoma State (19-13), idle Thursday, by two and a half games. Cal State San Bernardino fell to 15-26 overall and 9-24 in league play.
Down 3-1, the Tritons batted around in the seventh, scoring four times on four hits and a pair of walks. True freshman Andrew Hobson ignited the outburst by sending a 1-2 offering from Coyote starter Ken Kissell to center for a pinch-hit, leadoff single. With one down and Hobson at second after a wild pitch, Garrett Tuck doubled down the left field line, also with two strikes, to pull UCSD within a run. Back-to-back walks to Richard Seigel and Nick La Face loaded the bases and ended Kissell’s night.
Justin Rahn, the Tritons’ junior DH, worked the count full off new pitcher Chris Neff before fisting a game-tying single into center. On the very next pitch, Dillon Moyer lofted a sacrifice fly to plate Seigel as UCSD wrestled away the lead for the very first time in the contest, and for good. Scott Liske followed with a third two-strike RBI hit in the frame, a single through the left side to send La Face across for 5-3.
The big seventh came just in time to make a winner out of senior ace Ryan Goodbrand (8-3) in his final home appearance. The right-hander allowed three runs on nine hits and one walk over seven innings, striking out four. He retired nine straight between a leadoff walk in the second and a first-pitch double by Tyler Staab to open the fifth, registering a pair of 1-2-3 frames in the third and fourth.
In the eighth, Tuck and the Tritons were at it again, as the junior third baseman produced a second two-bagger in as many innings to start the two-out, two-run rally. Seigel’s walk preceded La Face’s sharp RBI single to left field. Rahn followed by poking another run-scoring single through his favorite spot on the right side.
Chad Rieser and Scott Zeman were lights out in support of Goodbrand. Rieser, a sophomore left-hander, struck out the side in the eighth, the first two looking. Zeman’s first batter in the ninth waved at strike three to make it four straight for the Triton bullpen before the junior right-hander allowed a two-out triple to Staab. He got pinch-hitter Andrew Harrison to fly out on the next pitch to end the game.
Cal State San Bernardino scratched across the night’s first run in the opening stanza on a two-out RBI single by first baseman Billy Hamilton. Meanwhile, UCSD put its leadoff runner on in each of the first three frames, with nothing to show for it.
The Tritons finally leveled with an unearned score in the fourth. After La Face and Rahn both looked at strike three to start it off, Moyer pushed a first-pitch single through the left side. Liske then grounded one harmlessly toward Jake Pilkerton, but the Coyote shortstop’s throw sailed well high of Hamilton at first, allowing Moyer to sprint all the way around.
In and around that action, both sides wasted leadoff doubles. Danny Susdorf had opened the home first with a double down the left field line, but suffered a rare caught stealing at third just before Seigel lined a two-out double to right. In the fifth, Staab’s double was followed by consecutive flyouts and a groundout.
CSUSB’s remaining two runs also came with two outs, in the sixth as the visitors took a 3-1 lead through RBI singles to left by Steven Chagolla and Michael Castello. That inning came to a close thanks to a brilliant heads-up play by Moyer. Staab grounded a slow roller up the middle that Moyer gathered but had no play on. The alert shortstop feigned a throw to first, and Castello had no prayer as he made the aggressive turn around second and got caught in the rundown.
Rahn wound up 4-for-5 on the night with two RBI, including a 10-pitch single to right center in the sixth after fouling off four 3-2 offerings. Tuck was 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and one RBI. Liske added a pair of hits. Seigel scored twice. The senior first baseman displayed some nimble footwork to corral Tuck’s wide throw on Pilkerton’s grounder and end the Coyote second.
Kissell (3-6) gave up five runs, four of them earned, on 10 hits and two walks over 6.1 innings. The junior right-hander struck out two. Staab finished 3-for-4.
UCSD and Cal State San Bernardino continue this four-game series on Friday night, Apr. 26, in what will serve as the home finale at Triton Ballpark beginning at approximately 6 p.m. First pitch will come after a ceremony slated for a 5:40 p.m. start on Senior Night for eight Triton seniors making their final home appearances.
Triton Notes: UCSD leads the series since 2001, 36-16, and has won five straight over the Coyotes in La Jolla … The Tritons are 10-4 in night games in 2013 … Nick La Face started his 100th straight game … Richard Seigel has started 80 games in a row … Seigel’s first-inning double was his 12th … Scott Liske made his 11th straight start in right field … Liske has reached base safely in 13 games in a row … Spencer Frazier made his fifth consecutive start at second base … Ryan Goodbrand drew his 26th start on the mound for UCSD and is 19-3 … Goodbrand has gone at least 5.0 innings in 25 of his 26 outings, with the Tritons posting a 21-5 record when he starts … Danny Susdorf’s first-inning double was his team-leading 15th on the year and 56th of his career, fifth all-time at UCSD … Garrett Tuck matched his career high with a single-game season high of two doubles tonight, now with seven for the year … UCSD matched its season high of four doubles as a team, having done it six times … Justin Rahn produced his third career four-hit game and second in 12 days (4/13 vs. Azusa Pacific) … Chad Rieser’s three strikeouts equaled a season and career high … The result marked just UCSD’s third win this season when trailing through six innings … UCSD played the game in front of a season-high home crowd of 531.