No. 1 UC San Diego Falls To No. 3 Emporia State In NCAA National Semifinal Game
Release: Thursday 05/28/2009 
Matt Cantele went 2-for-2 with two RBI in UCSD's semifinal loss on Thursday night.
Matt Cantele went 2-for-2 with...
Courtesy: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios

CARY, N.C.  The No. 1 ranked UC San Diego baseball team lost a 5-3 heartbreaker to No. 3 Emporia State in the semifinals of the NCAA D-II National Championships on Thursday night in Cary, N.C.  The Tritons trailed 3-1 but scored runs in the sixth and ninth innings to tie the game, only to have the Hornets win the game with a two-out bottom of the ninth walk-off homerun.  “Our guys played their hearts out tonight,” said head coach Dan O’Brien.  UCSD’s season comes to a close at 41-15 while ESU advances to the National Championship game.


UCSD completes a season in which it wins over 40 games for the second consecutive season and captured the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular season title, the CCAA tournament title, the NCAA West Regional title and won two games at the College World Series.

“This is the best ball club UCSD has ever had,” said O’Brien.  “This is a group of guys I’d battle with in the trench any day.”

Josh Tanner added two more hits in the tournament, getting at least two hits in all four games.  Matt Cantele finished the season with a 2-for-2 day with two RBI.  Tanner becomes the first Triton in the last eight years to finish a season hitting over .400 at .419.


In the ESU first, Conner Crumbliss doubled to lead off.  The next ESU batter attempted a sac bunt but St. John fielded the bunt quickly and fired to third to get Crumbliss, the lead runner.  After a second fielders’ choice, the next ESU batter singled to put two on.  St. John got the next batter on a pop out to keep the game scoreless.


With two outs in the UCSD second, Cantele singled to center field for an RBI and the Tritons went ahead 1-0.  Lee followed with a double to right field to put two runners in scoring position.  The next UCSD batter grounded out to end the frame.


In the bottom of the second with two outs and a runner on first, ESU’s Andy Cotton doubled to left field and a throw from Evan Kehoe to Garrett Imeson to Kellen Lee at the plate got the runner at home to keep the Tritons lead at 1-0 through two innings.


In the ESU third, UCSD committed its first error of the tournament and it would be a big one as the ESU runner would end up scoring on a balk to tie the game at 1-1.


In the ESU fourth with two outs, Cotton singled through the right side to give Emporia State a 2-1 lead. 


The Tritons had two on with two outs in the fifth as Tanner hit a fly ball to center but a diving catch by ESU’s Crumbliss was the final out to keep the Hornets ahead 2-1.


ESU put the first two runners on in the fifth inning, knocking St. John out of the game.  After Shibuya entered, he struck out the first Hornet and then the next ESU hitter singled to center.  The Hornet runner would try to score but Robert Sedin through a strike from center field to throw out the runner at the plate.  With two outs, Kellen Lane singled to center, this time for an RBI and ESU led 3-1 through five innings.


UCSD got back on the board with two outs in the sixth inning as Cantele singled through the right side to pull UCSD within 3-2.


With one out in the top of the eighth, Robert Sedin singled to center to put the potential tying run on base.  Cantele followed with a walk to put two on.  Sedin stole third but the next UCSD batter struck out as pinch runner Kyle Saul stole second base to put two on in scoring position.  With the ESU closer in, a passed ball allowed Sedin to cross the plate and tie the game at 3-3. 


In the ESU ninth, the Hornets put the leadoff man on with a walk and with two outs, the runner was on third.  Kellen Lane homered over the right field fence as ESU had the walk-off 5-3 win.

Sunday, May 27
Baseball at Texas A&M Kingsville
12:00 PM
Cary, NC (USA Baseball National Training Complex)
Tuesday, May 29
Baseball at Columbus State/Mercyhurst
Cary, NC (USA Baseball National Training Complex)
Wednesday, May 30
Baseball at NCAA Championship
Cary, NC (USA Baseball National Training Complex)
New Triton Ballpark AD