Triton Bats Stay Hot but Ultimately Lose Series To Lumberjacks
The final series of the season was played at 6,909 feet above sea level in Flagstaff, Arizona against the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks. The correlation between altitude and offense was certainly reaffirmed as both teams combined to score ninety-three runs in three games. Each game was highlighted by big innings and momentum swings. Unfortunately, UCSD fell on the wrong end of a couple of those swings and fell in two of the three games to close out the season on a sour note.
The first game of the weekend began with morning frost still on the ground. The Tritons found themselves trailing quickly as NAU put up three runs in the first, a pair in the second and five in the third. UCSD clawed one back on an RBI ground out from junior Kyle Tanaka in the fourth. After junior Matt Hosino authored a scoreless bottom of the fourth, the offense fully thawed. After an opening three base fielding error, junior Miguel Moreno scored on a pass ball. Then junior Hunter Woodruff hit his and the team’s first home run of the season, a missile to left. Junior Alex Uy brought in two on a bases loaded single the junior Kelvin Murillo singled in the runner on third. Junior Joey Flores hit a pinch hit ground rule double to add another run. Woodruff then doubled to score his second and third RBIs of the inning. Singles from junior Jacob Springman and senior Seamus Beyerle scored another two runs. Eleven runs had scored in the inning spotting the Tritons a 12-10 lead. It wouldn’t hold up as the Jacks got one back in the fifth and five more in the sixth. UCSD scored two in the seventh, one on an error and the other on a Uy sacrifice fly, but could not push across anymore and fell short in game one.
Game 1: Lumberjacks 16 Tritons 14
The game one loss meant the next game was do or die for the Tritons and their playoff chances. Things got off to another tough start as NAU put up four in the second inning and two each in the third and fourth. Shutout entering the fifth, UCSD relied on another massive inning to take the lead. It all started with a leadoff home run from junior Josh Fonseca, the first of his career. Jacob Springman plated two on a double, as did Seamus Beyerle right behind him. Kelvin Murillo, Fonseca, senior Zeke Haenelt, and junior Miguel Moreno drove in a run each on two walks, a fielder’s choice, and a single. Hunter Woodruff had a two run single. Beyerle hit his first homer of the year, a two-run no-doubter to center field. Murillo singled one more run home for a FOURTEEN-RUN top of the fifth. The Lumberjacks would answer with one in the bottom of the inning. In the sixth, Haenelt scored on an error. Uy drove in two on a single. Murillo doubled home a pair. He scored on a passed ball and Fonseca scored on an error. Woodruff would put an exclamation point on the inning with a three-run bomb to center, his second dinger of the day. A second consecutive ten-plus-run inning had the Tritons in full control. A scoreless bottom of the sixth from junior Ray Estrada ended the game an inning early on a run rule.
Game 2: Tritons 24 Lumberjacks 9
Sunday morning’s nine inning affair was still a do or die proposition for the Tritons. With both teams low on pitching, the offenses once again did battle. While Tiger Woods was winning the Masters, San Diego struck first in this game, with Joey Flores singling home a run in the first. The teams traded the first one-two-three innings of the weekend for either side in the second. The Lumberjacks put up a ten spot of their own in the third, with eight being unearned to the team (the last four are charged to the pitcher but not the team, earned run rules get quirky with pitching changes). The Tritons then immediately answered with a ten-run frame of their own. Kelvin Murillo had an RBI single. He scored on a wild pitch. Then Hunter Woodruff cleared the bases with a three-run double. Jacob Springman singled him in. He would score on an error. Alex Uy plated a run on a single. Zeke Haenelt would double home a pair to give the Tritons a 11-10 advantage. They would make it 12-10 after a Flores double in the fifth. NAU matched that one in the bottom half of the fifth. Miguel Moreno scored in the top of the sixth to make the lead two again, but the Jacks would pick up four in the bottom of the frame and another in the seventh to establish a three run lead. A Seamus Beyerle double would bring the Tritons one closer in the eighth, but a scoreless ninth that ended with a double play would end the Tritons’ season on a very sour note.
Game 3: Lumberjacks 16 Tritons 14
UCSD has played their full slate of games for 2019. They finish with a conference record of 9-6, and an overall of 13-7, their best in four years. There is still slim hope for a playoff berth, but it relies on a lot of help and a favorable selection committee. Thank you to all the fans who came out to support in San Diego and beyond. We thank our seniors Ben Rogness, Zeke Haenelt, and Seamus Beyerle for their contributions both on and off the field. Much of the core of the 2019 squad is coming back next year, so the 2020 edition of UCSD Tritons Club Baseball will be talented and hungry to improve on a year where the playoffs were within sight. See you all in the fall!