Morning rain pushed Saturday’s double-header back a few hours, but the delay quickly became an afterthought for those in attendance.
Ray Young took the mound in Game 1 for our program’s first-ever game at the Triton Ballpark. In the first 5 innings, he only allowed 4 batters to reach base and held Northern Arizona scoreless. In the bottom of the 4th, the Tritons drew first blood when Alex Uy ripped a 2-out double into the gap for 2 RBIs. The Lumberjacks would answer back in the 6th with 2 runs of their own, tying the game at 2-2. UCSD’s Young only allowed 5 hits and struck out 7 before exiting at the end of 7 innings of regulation. The score would remain unchanged through the top of the 11th inning as both teams continued to stifle opposing hitters. Bryan Ortiz threw 4 innings in relief–all in extra innings–without giving up a run to preserve the game. Finally, in the bottom of the 11th, the Tritons decided enough was enough. After a lead-off hit from Jordan Kassem and situational execution by Uy, Joshua Fonseca used his first AB of the conference season to send a towering double to the track in left for a walk-off RBI.
Game 2 of the double-header would not make it to extras. Shane Aldas started on the bump for UCSD and would not need any relief whatsoever. In dominant fashion, he retired 18 of 19 NAU batters and had 9 strikeouts in 6 innings. Despite one lone walk, he secured a NO-HITTER with unbelievable efficiency at just 72 total pitches. Additionally, Aldas helped himself out at the plate by going 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs. Nick Walsh also had a multi-hit game and crossed the plate twice. The Tritons applied plenty of offensive pressure and cut Game 2 short with the 10-run mercy rule after 6 innings. Final score, UCSD 10, NAU 0.
Game 3 was scheduled for 9-innings on Sunday morning. The Lumberjacks showed up ready to avoid a sweep and scored 5 runs in the first 2 innings to set the tone for the day. Walks hurt the Tritons early, but Ray Estrada entered in relief during the 2nd inning and was determined to steady the ship. Estrada threw 7 full innings and only allowed 3 runs, giving the Tritons a chance to claw back. UCSD chipped away at the lead, scoring 2 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, and 3 in the 6th. Offensive highlights included Hunter Woodruff’s RBI double and Jared Vitug’s off-the-wall triple. Unfortunately, the Tritons didn’t quite have enough to push past the Jacks in the final innings. Game 3 ended with a score of 8-7 in favor of NAU.
This upcoming weekend, the Tritons will host another conference series vs Grand Canyon University. Game times are TBA!