There's No Place Like Home
This past weekend, the UC San Diego Tritons closed out their home portion of the schedule at Triton Ballpark against the University of Arizona Wildcats. Offensive outbursts led to UC San Diego taking all three ballgames and maintain solid playoff positioning.
Game 1: Tritons 9 Wildcats 1
Saturday’s first game began with a scoreless first inning, but the Tritons would storm ahead in the bottom of the second. They sent all nine hitters to the plate and scored five runs. RBIs came from junior Kyle Tanaka on a hit by pitch and senior Zeke Haenelt on a two-run triple. Junior Alex Uy singled home another run in the third. In the fourth, the Tritons came within a run of having a chance to end the game early on a run rule. Three runs came across on singles from juniors Kelvin Murillo and Joey Flores and a double from junior Jacob Springman. The decisive tenth run would not come but the Tritons didn’t need to score anymore. Senior David Gomez tossed a complete game only allowing one run to cross in the seventh inning.
Game 2: Tritons 6 Wildcats 5
The second game of the day was a much closer contest than the first. Arizona jumped ahead with two runs in the top of the first inning, then adding a third in the second. The Tritons responded with two in the bottom of the second on a triple down the right field line from freshman Kenta Okada. Freshman pitcher Austin Uresti settled in, but an unearned run came across in the fourth and an earned run in the fifth. UC San Diego did add two in the fourth on an error and a single from senior Seamus Beyerle. Down one with six outs to work with, the Tritons plated two on a Jacob Springman single and a bases loaded walk to Zeke Haenelt to take a lead heading to the seventh. A walk and a fly ball lost in the twilight put runners on the corners, but junior Matt Hosino worked a pop up to close out his two scoreless innings in winning relief.
Game 3: Tritons 14 Wildcats 4
The Tritons came out Sunday morning looking for their first three game sweep of the year. Junior Ray Estrada got the start looking to improve on his 3-0 record. The Wildcats would strike first in the opening frame on a single. They would get another in the third to establish a two run lead. Alex Uy singled in a run in the fourth to cut the lead in half. The teams would trade runs in the sixth, with Uy getting an RBI on a double, to keep the difference at one run. Arizona would get one more run in the seventh to stretch the lead to two once again. With two outs in the seventh, Seamus Beyerle was at the plate with pinch runner Kenta Okada on second. Beyerle would single him in to cut the deficit to one once more. This time the Tritons would push the tying run across and then some. Joey Flores doubled to tie it, then Uy tripled to put the Tritons on top. Four consecutive singles followed, with Kyle Tanaka and Miguel Moreno driving in runs. Okada would walk another run home, then Jacob Springman would clear the bases with a double. Beyerle would single and Flores hit by a pitch before Uy plated two more runs on a single. A pop to first would bring the inning to a merciful end, but not before eleven runs came across with two outs. Before the Wildcats could record an out in the eighth, Kenta Okada singled home a run that would end the game on a ten run mercy rule. Just like that, the Tritons had their first sweep of the year.
The Tritons wrap up at home with a record of 10-4 in San Diego, including a 5-0 slate at Triton Ballpark. They also clinched their first winning conference record in three years, currently sitting at 8-4 with only three games to play. Those three games will come this weekend in Flagstaff, Arizona where the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks will welcome the Tritons for what figures to be an explosive series at altitude. If all goes well, it then becomes a waiting game for UC San Diego to see where they figure into the Southern Pacific playoff picture