The seventh-ranked UC San Diego baseball team not only recorded a convincing 10-4 win over Cal State San Bernardino Friday night, the Tritons also picked up their third consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular season title. A slew of seniors came up big on Senior Night at Triton Ballpark, including infielder Blake Tagmyer, who finished with five RBI.
With its 15th straight win, UCSD improved to 36-12 overall and 27-11 in the CCAA. The Coyotes fell to 23-21 in all games and 20-16 in league games.
The Tritons had already clinched the league crown and the top seed for next week's CCAA Tournament earlier in the day. Entering Friday, Chico State, which UCSD defeated four times last week, was the only remaining squad that could have caught the Tritons in the standings. The Wildcats dropped a 7-1 decision at Sonoma State Friday afternoon that lowered their CCAA record to 22-15, erasing any chance of catching UCSD.
In the CCAA standings, Chico is now tied for second with Sonoma and Cal Poly Pomona is third at 22-16. San Bernardino is still alive for a spot in the four-team tourney, but the Coyotes would have to win two games against the Tritons Saturday. Chico and Sonoma play again Saturday and Sunday, while Cal Poly Pomona takes on Cal State L.A. in Los Angeles Saturday.
After finding itself down 1-0 after two and a half innings of play, the Tritons erupted for five runs in the bottom half of the third. All five crossed the plate with two outs. Tagmyer drove in a pair with a double while outfielder Kyle Saul had an RBI single and infielder Matt Hubbard picked up two RBI with a base hit. Saul and Hubbard are both seniors.
San Bernardino came right back with three runs in the top of the fourth. Catcher Eric Dow doubled in two, while center fielder Ethan Chapman drove in another on a ground ball out, bringing the Coyotes within a run at 5-4. However, that would be all the scoring CSUSB would do.
UCSD tacked on three runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Tagmyer kept producing as he lifted a three-run home run down the right field line in the sixth. Once again, the runs were scored with two outs. With one down in the seventh, freshman shortstop Garrett Tuck singled through the left side of the infield, plating a pair to account for the final 10-4 score.
Senior right-hander Guido Knudson (8-3) won his fifth start in a row as he gave up four runs (three earned) on nine hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked one. Justin Burns, Tony York and senior Eric Abraham threw three scoreless innings each to close out the game. Abraham finished it in style, striking out the first two batters he faced. Following a single, he got the next batter to line out to left field.
Eight Tritons accounted for UCSD's 12 hits. Center fielder Danny Susdorf, Tagmyer, Saul and Hubbard all had two hits apiece. Tagmyer, senior infielder Evan Kehoe, senior outfielder Aaron Bauman and DH Nick La Face each scored twice.
It was also the final regular season home contest for Tritons Taylor Austin (pitcher), Grant Bauer (infielder), Michael Benton (catcher), Nick Hom (infielder), Kellen Lee (catcher), Tim Shibuya (pitcher) and Daniel Simmons (pitcher). Lee started at catcher while Bauer, Benton and Hom came in the game late as replacements.
For Cal State San Bernardino, shortstop Mike Newell had three hits while Dow and first baseman Brandon Day had two hits each. Starter Cory Caruso (4-3) took the loss after giving up five runs on five hits over 2.2 innings.
The crowd of over 500 was the largest to see a game at Triton Ballpark this season.
The two teams wrap up the series and the regular season Saturday with a noon doubleheader at Fiscalini Field in San Bernardino.