This past weekend the UCSD Tritons traveled to Phoenix to take on defending conference champions the Grand Canyon University Lopes. UCSD was a walk-off sac fly away from a sweep of the number three team in the nation.
The Tritons came out a bit slow while the Lopes’ bats were red hot. GCU put up four runs on five hits in the first off of junior Ray Young. Another run in the second and a pair in the third staked GCU to a 7-1 lead after three. The Tritons run came on an RBI single from junior Kelvin Murillo in the second inning. After trading 1-2-3 innings the fourth, the Tritons exploded in the top of the fifth. Five runs came across on six singles from senior Zeke Haenelt, juniors Hunter Woodruff, Jacob Springman, senior Seamus Beyerle, and juniors Ray Estrada and Alex Uy. Senior David Gomez kept the Lopes off the board in the bottom of the fifth. Then UCSD took the lead with six runs in the sixth. RBIs came from Beyerle (2), Estrada, and Murillo. GCU errors also aided the Tritons offense. Gomez finished off the final two innings to secure a comeback win in game 1 of the weekend.
Game 1: Tritons 12 Lopes 7
The second game on Saturday provided less offensive fireworks but was tight nonetheless. Hunter Woodruff scored on an error in the top of the first to give the Tritons the early lead. Jacob Springman took the mound and stifled the GCU lineup all day, including striking out the side in the fourth. While Springman dealt, the offense provided some insurance. Junior Miguel Moreno doubled in the fourth to score junior Kyle Tanaka to make it 2-0 Tritons. Tanaka would then knock an RBI single in the sixth to push junior Joey Flores across. This run would prove to be the difference, as Springman allowed his only two runs of the game on a single in the bottom of the sixth. A 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh closed out a complete game win for Springman and a series win for UCSD.
Game 2: Tritons 3 Lopes 2
After feasting on BBQ Saturday night, the Tritons looked to sweep GCU in Sunday’s nine inning contest. The bats came out hot once again, with two runs scoring in each of the first two innings of the game. Seamus Beyerle and Alex Uy had RBIs while Zeke Haenelt and Miguel Moreno scored on an error and a wild pitch in the second. UCSD added another run in the fourth on a Hunter Woodruff single. Starting pitcher Ray Estrada held the Lopes hitless through three innings. But a leadoff error set up a two run home run by the GCU three hitter to put the Lopes on the board. Estrada would allow two more runs to score in the fifth to make the difference one. After two scoreless frames, GCU took the lead in the bottom of the eighth with three runs on no hits, being aided by walks. The Tritons suddenly faced a two run deficit in the ninth. Two opening singles and a wild pitch set up an RBI sacrifice fly for Uy. Two batters later, with UCSD down to their last strike, Joey Flores tied the game on a pinch-hit RBI single. The score stayed tied going into the bottom of the ninth. With one out and the bases loaded, the Lopes hitter hit a fly ball to left just far enough to score the game winning run. The Tritons had just narrowly missed out on a series sweep.
Game 3: Lopes 8 Tritons 7
Weekend highlights: Jacob Springman threw a complete game with 6 strikeouts; Seamus Beyerle went 6-11, with 2 walks, a HBP, 3 RBI, and 4 runs scored
The Tritons look forward to a non-conference double header this Saturday, March 9th, when the Cal State Fullerton Titans come to visit. Conference play resumes at home against the Arizona State Sun Devils on the weekend of March 30th and 31st.