The UC San Diego Club Baseball Tritons headed to Las Vegas this past weekend for the first ever NCBA Las Vegas Fall Tournament. The tournament was played on Saturday October the 15th, and Sunday October the 16th. The eight teams in the tournament were divided into two pools, with the winners of each pool facing off in the championship game. The teams in the Triton’s pool were Cal State Fullerton, Humboldt State University, and Northern Arizona University.
In UC San Diego’s first game of the tournament, the Triton’s bats wasted no time setting the tone against former conference opponent, Cal State Fullerton, by scoring 7 runs in the first inning to put the Titans in an early 7-0 hole. UC San Diego would add 3 more in the second inning and 6 more in the 5th for a total of 16 runs in the game. The scoring was highlighted by a monster performance from sophomore catcher, Seamus Beyerle, who went 3-4 with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs in the game. Senior Kevin Nieh took the mound and pitched well, throwing a complete game and limiting the Titans to 4 runs, only 2 of them earned. The Tritons won the first game 16-4 in a 5 inning, mercy rule shortened game.
Next up, UC San Diego took on Humboldt State University. Again, the Tritons attacked early, giving freshman starting pitcher, Ray Young, a 3-0 lead after the first inning. That was all young Ray would need, as he threw a complete game in his first ever club baseball start, holding the Lumberjacks to only one run over seven innings. The bats stayed hot throughout the cool night, tallying up a total of 8 runs to send the Tritons home with an 8-1 victory and a 2-0 record after one day of tournament play. The scoring came via big games from senior Matt Demarest and freshman Ray Estrada, who each had 2 RBIs in the game.
On Sunday morning, the Tritons took on conference rival and the only other 2-0 team in their pool, Northern Arizona University with the winner advancing to the championship game. This time, it was NAU who came out swinging by scoring 3 in the first inning and adding another in the second off of starter Shane Aldas to take an early 4-0 lead. Shane settled down afterwards, limiting the Jacks for the rest of the game and keeping UC San Diego in the game. The Tritons showed grit and resilience by striking for 3 in the 3rd to pull within one run thanks to seniors Bobby Young and Alec Lopez and sophomore Seamus Beyerle. NAU showed a lot of determination to win the ballgame, scoring 3 more runs in the 4th inning to take another 4 run lead at 7-3. The Tritons were more determined, however, battling back for 3 runs in the 5th and one more in the 6th to tie the game 7. Pitcher Yuki Komine pitched excellently to keep the Tritons in the game, which gave them momentum and enabled them to score 4 runs in the 7th inning to win the game 11-9 and advance to the championship game.
In the championship game of the tournament UC San Diego Club Baseball matched up against Grand Canyon University. Both teams went 3-0 in their respective pools and edged out close games against good teams to earn a spot in the championship. The Tritons were the home team after accumulating the best run differential in the tournament and sent freshman Peter Frame to the mound to take on the Antelopes. GCU hopped out to a 2-0 lead after the top of the first, but UC San Diego continues their resilience by scoring 3 in the bottom half to take a 3-2 lead after one inning. The game was very back and forth the whole way, being tied 3-3 after 3 innings and 5-5 after 5. Peter fought hard and gave the Tritons a great chance to win, surrendering only 4 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. UC San Diego took a 6-5 lead into the top of the 6th but GCU didn’t quit and was able to beat up on the Triton’s relief pitching, scoring 7 runs in the last two innings. UC San Diego did the best they could entering their last at bats down 12-6, getting three men on base and scoring a run but eventually fell in heartbreaking fashion 12-7 to the Grand Canyon University Antelopes. The Tritons will look to continue their great start to the fall season with a doubleheader at home (University City High School) against USC on Saturday, October 22nd.