Five home runs and a strong pitching performance by Tim Shibuya led the seventh-ranked UC San Diego baseball team to a 9-6 win over Cal Poly Pomona in first round action of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament Thursday at Klein Family Field on the campus of the University of the Pacific.
Top-seeded UCSD scored at least one run in each of the first four innings, including four in the third, for its 18th consecutive win. The Tritons, who are gunning for a threepeat of tourney titles, upped their season record to 39-12. Cal Poly Pomona, the fourth seed, ended up making the game tight in the later innings with four runs in the eighth and two in the ninth, but fell to 30-20 with the loss.
The Tritons got two home runs each from catcher Kellen Lee and center fielder Danny Susdorf, and one out of first baseman Blake Tagmyer. The five home runs were the most hit by the Tritons in a single game since bashing six at Cal State San Bernardino on Apr. 2 of 2010.
Shibuya, who was just named the CCAA Co-Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday, improved to 11-3 as he gave up no runs on five hits while striking out nine and walking just one over seven full innings.
"Our guys did a great job of getting themselves ready to play today," said UCSD head coach Dan O'Brien, who was named the league's Coach of the Year for the third straight time on Wednesday after leading the Tritons to the CCAA regular season title. "In my mind, they've set the tone for the entire postseason."
Shibuya cruised through the top half of the first inning as he struck out the side, two of which were looking.
UCSD took an early lead in the first. Susdorf led off with a double to right center and took third on a ground out. He crossed the plate when right fielder Kyle Saul singled to left with two outs.
In the second, Shibuya struck out the first two batters, one swinging and one looking, and then induced a ground ball out to end the frame in order.
Lee homered on the first pitch he saw to lead off the bottom of the second. He took starter Erick Ruvalcaba's offering over the left field wall, just inside the foul pole for his fifth long ball of the season to put UC San Diego up 2-0.
After Shibuya retired his seventh and eighth straight batters, Cal Poly Pomona got its first hit in the top of the third as third baseman Humberto Tovalin doubled to the fence in right field with two outs. No harm done as Shibuya promptly picked Tovalin off second base. Shortstop Garrett Tuck missed the original tag but Tovalin came off the bag and Tuck laid a second tag on him to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the third, Tagmyer put UCSD up 4-0 with a two-run blast to right that cleared the fence by a ton. It scored left fielder Aaron Bauman, who had walked to lead off the inning. Lee struck again as he hit his second home run of the day and team-leading sixth of the season, also a two-run shot, to cushion the margin even more at 6-0. His bomb to center was just to the right of the 405-foot marker. It was the second time this season Lee had homered twice in a game as he belted two at Cal Poly Pomona on Mar. 26, not against Ruvalcaba but Kevin Bosson. The Tritons hit four home runs in that game.