Top Seed UCSD shutout by Sonoma State in NCAA West Regional game
Kevin Cramer drove in a pair of runs and Kenny Arnerich tossed a complete game shutout to lead fourth-seeded Sonoma State to a 4-0 victory over top seed UC San Diego on the opening day of the NCAA Division II West Regional on Thursday evening at Triton Ballpark.
The Tritons (41-14), ranked sixth nationally, will now take on second-seeded and 22nd-ranked Western Oregon in an elimination game at 1:00 p.m. The Seawolves (34-19) will face No. 3 seed Cal Poly Pomona in the winners bracket on Friday at 6:00 p.m.
Pomona, tied for 28th nationally, defeated Western Oregon 10-4 in the first regional matchup of the day.
Cramer hit a solo homer for Sonoma State in the top of the first inning and that would be all Arnerich (8-2) would need to hold down the West Region’s top-ranked squad as the senior right-hander dealt the Tritons their first shutout defeat of the season. Arnerich scattered seven hits over nine innings of work, while striking out one and walking one.
“I’m really happy with my performance,” Arnerich said. “I was able to really pound UCSD inside and the changeup was working for me. It feels so great because my CCAA Tournament performance last week wasn’t very good. The rest of the team was counting on me to start it off and I was able to do that.”
The Seawolves added a run in the second inning on a RBI single by Garrett Gooselaw and then scored two in the fourth when Cramer drove in a run on a double to right center and scored on a O’Koyea Dickson single.
“We’re extremely excited, but it’s just one game,” Sonoma State head coach John Goelz said. “We came to have a great weekend and we played really well today. Our goals moving forward are to come out with intensity and be equally focused.”
O’Koyea and Alex Todd finished with two hits apiece for the Seawolves.
The Tritons had their chances, stranding a total of nine runners in the game. Evan Kehoe, UCSD’s all-time doubles leader, doubled to lead off the seventh inning and advanced to third on a groundout, but Arnerich retired the next two batters to end the threat. UCSD loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but a pair of Triton pinch hitters came up dry and Sonoma held on for the improbable shutout.
Outfielders Aaron Bauman and Kyle Saul finished with two hits apiece for UCSD.
Senior ace Tim Shibuya (11-4) took the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits in eight innings of work. He finished with 10 strikeouts, one short of his career-high. It was Shibuya’s first loss since Apr. 8 when he suffered a 5-1 setback, also against Sonoma State.
“We didn’t play very well, that’s the bottom line,” said UCSD head coach Dan O’Brien. “It was a little indicative of how we played early in the season, so we’re ready to address it the we did early in the season and just relax a little bit, have a little more fun. I think you’re gonna see a very, very tough team to beat for the rest of the tournament.”
The last time the Tritons failed to score a run was on Apr. 5, 2008 at Cal State Stanislaus.
Triton Ballpark hosted 611 for the game, a season-high.
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