What, you didn’t go to a baseball game last night? Part 2

By Eric Sorenson. Posted on February 14th, 2013 in Uncategorized
 

A dead Sea Lion. Point Loma's Zach Allen is an easy target at home plate as he gets tagged out by UCSD's Nick La Face in the first inning of last night's game.

Back on Saturday when I was at the Point Loma-CSU Dominguez Hills game I got messaged on my twitter account from the UC San Diego baseball twitter feed that I should come down to lovely LaJolla and see the No. 21-ranked Tritons play.

So, figuring I still needed to get back into the swing of going to baseball games after the long layoff, I got in the car and made the 120 mile drive down the California coast to see UCSD host that same Point Loma Nazarene team I saw play on Saturday. Here’s what happened…

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WHAT I SAW AT TRITON BALLPARK LAST NIGHT.

It was a great back-and-forth battle between what appears to be two really good non-D1 teams. UC San Diego, ranked No. 21 in Division 2 baseball, overcame it’s own stumble-footed errors and rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to send the game into extra frames, then won the whole darn shootin’ match with a run in the bottom of the 11th inning to down NAIA Point Loma.

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LINESCORE:

PLNU – 010 100 021 00 – 5  10  2

UCSD – 001 100 102 01 – 6  10  2

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PITCHING:

WP: Sean Rowan (1-0), 2.0inns, 1H, 3Ks, 2BBs, 1WP

LP: Jake James (0-2), 0inns., 0H, 0Ks, 1BB, 1HB

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TOP HITTERS.

Point Loma:

- Zach Allen, 2-for-3, 2BBs

UCSD:

- Danny Susdorf, 3-for-5, 1BB, 2runs,

- Dillon Moyer, 2-for-4, 1run

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RECORDS:

Point Loma: 1-5

UC San Diego: 5-2

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IN SUMMARY.

Despite their records, this was one of those games where the two teams were evenly matched on this particular night, playing a back-and-forth contest that was ultimately decided – unfortunately enough – by whoever made the last bonehead play.

Facing imminent defeat, UC San Diego rallied (with the help of a fielding error) to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the 9th inning, tying things at 5-apiece and sending the game into extra frames.

From there, it was the heroics of All American Danny Susdorf once again. He led off the 11th with a walk, was moved to 2nd base after Dillon Moyer was plunked, and scored all the way from 2nd base when Justin Rahn’s sac bunt was fielded, but mis-aimed and lofted down the right field line by Point Loma reliever Kellen Stewart.

Dirty, but happy. Danny Susdorf scores the winning run after a Sea Lion miscue, ending the marathon game.

In the 9th inning, PLNU was headed for certain victory, until a pair of leadoff singles by Triton batters Gradeigh Sanchez and Corbin Wirta, then a fielding error by another reliever – this time Sam Sadler – on a chop by Danny Susdorf loaded the bases.

A wild pitch scored one run and a bases-loaded walk to Nick La Face forced the game-tying run across the plate in the bottom of the 9th. Actually, Point Loma was lucky to send the game to extras to begin with since, with the bases loaded, UCSDers pinch hitter Danny Recio struck out looking and Garrett Tuck popped up to catcher to end the frame tied at five.

In all, the Tritons scored half their runs (3) in unearned fashion. So the Sea Lions pitching and defense was a bit of an albatross around the neck for making this a ballgame time and time again. On the flipside of that, the Tritons were quite generous themselves, keeping steam in the offensive engine of the Sea Lions by issuing a mind-numbing 10 walks on the night. Toss in the fact that UCSD also issued two intentional walks, a hit batsman and four wild pitches and… well, yuck! This definitely was a February midweek game.

No wonder it took four hours, 37 minutes to play.

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- GREAT TABLESETTERS.

This game featured two of the better leadoff men I’ll probably see this year in PL’s Zach Allen and San Diego’s Danny Susdorf. Both ended up getting on base four times each on the night – as noted in the “Top Hitter” stats above. Ironically, both also ended up starting the game with a leadoff double for their teams, but Allen was thrown out at the plate on a grounder and Susdorf was caught stealing at 3rd base on an attempted double steal by the Tritons. So both DID have some baserunning issues. Still, these two scrappers were fun to watch.

Zach Allen is not only a great leadoff man, he sports a mean glove at 2nd base as well.... and wears his pant legs up high too. Good touch.

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At the end of each inning, Danny Susdorf has an unusual running-off-the-field ritual of leaping over the foul lines while catching the warm-up ball from the dugout at the same time.

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- TRANSFERS.

One of my favorite things about going to these pre-D1 games is finding out where some of the D1 transfers landed on D2 and NAIA teams. On Saturday, I got to see Cal State Fullerton transfer Ivory Thomas, Cal State Northridge transfer Chris Allen and former Liberty Flame Tony McClendon all play for Cal State Dominguez Hills. Tonight, it was the aforementioned Danny Susdorf, who started his college career at the University of San Diego (though he transferred before playing in a single game), UCI infielder Dillon Moyer and also former St. Mary’s outfielder Justin Rahn. The three of them made up the top three in the batting order for the Tritons tonight.

Dillon Moyer, right, is one of those down-and-dirty type of hustlers. He played well at SS last night and also had a couple of hits at the plate. He is a senior transfer from UC Irvine.

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- JUST COLD ENOUGH TO LET YOU KNOW YOU’RE ALIVE!.

Ahhhh, February baseball. The temperatures sunk down into the upper 40s by the end of the game, which means it was a cold muthah-stickah all game long. But even though I was actually shivering from time to time, it was a good kind of shiver. As I like to say, just cold enough to let you know you’re alive, Hoss. Other than the occasional uber-vibration of the bat on a hit ball, I always loved playing in colder temperatures… no matter what the sport, now that I think of it. I wish February could last all season long.

One San Diego fan had the bright idea to bring a propane-powered heat lamp to the game, setting it up right next to themselves. Hmmm... wonder how scalding-hot those metal support bars got?

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- POINT LOMA HAS THE EARLY LEAD.

It’s not even a full two weeks into February and already I’ve seen Point Loma Nazarene twice this season. Wonder if they’ll be the clubhouse leader all season long?

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- COOL NAMES

One thing I’d be remiss to mention is that these two teams both have really cool nicknames. Point Loma, whose campus literally overlooks the Pacific Ocean, even moresp than Pepperdine, goes by the name the Sea Lions. UCSD is the Tritons and is represented in visual form by the Ruler of the Seven Seas,:Neptune. Very cool.

Neptune, holding his all-powerful Triton, just ready to spear your ass if dare to cross him.

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The Point Loma Sea Lion logo.

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- GOOD S.I.D.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the new SID down at UC San Diego is an old familiar name to me, Doga Gur. Yes, that’s how his name is spelled, but it’s pronounced Doh-uh, not Dog-uh. He was the SID at San Jose State the previous few years under longtime coach Sam Piraro. It turns out that it was Doga was the one behind the tweet asking me to make the trek down to beautiful LaJolla to see the Tritons play. And by the way, he is also a damn good SID, and is now back at his alma mater doing the Lord’s work.

In case you wanna get his write-up of the game, here’s the link to what Doga wrote on the UCSD site:

http://www.ucsdtritons.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=29805&SPID=2331&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=206368760&DB_OEM_ID=5800

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- THE NEW MAN IN CHARGE:

Tritons head coach Eric Newman is a former Nebraska pitching coach who has inherited a great program and should keep things moving in LaJolla. By the looks of things, this year's squad should be another good one, already ranked at No. 21 in D2 ball.

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One of the things that coach Newman has instituted that I like is the three-stripe leggings like Nebraska used to wear while he was in Lincoln. When the players wear their pants tucked up high, it's a good old-school look.

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- ON A TELECONFERENCE.

Just for shits and giggles I got a preseason media teleconference with Washington State head coach Donnie Marbut earlier on Tuesday afternoon. Here are a few key things he said about his 2013 baseball team.

- On how the players have changed in his years as head coach:

“Yeah there’s a big difference n that they’re better baseball players now. I really like the talent that our assistant coaches have brought in over the last few years. We’ve raised our talent level to be able to compete much better in the Pac 12 and nationally.”

- On what the personality of this team will be:

“With all three of our weekend starters coming back, and all of them sophomores, we’ll be much more of a strikeout team this year. We aso feel like we’ve have an ever better defense behind them.”

- On starting pitcher Joe Pistorese:

“Joe is a completely different kid now. He’s a lot more disciplined in the weight room. He has all the pitches in his arsenal. But the big difference is that now he’s much better physically and mentally. He realizes he can no longer just show up and rely on his talent. He’s got more than enough talent but now he’s raised his mental game and prepared better each time out.”

- On the difference in his offense this season:

“One-to-nine we’ll be more balanced on offense. We’ll steal more bases and we’ll even hit more home runs than last year. The big difference is that we’ll have more than just two guys hitting them, which is what we had last year. We’ll have more guys capable of the big hit.”

- On his coaching philosophy:

“My coaching philosophy?… I wish I could tell you I had one. I do know that we like winning and hate losing. That’s one philosophy our program does have, I can tell you that.”

 

COMMENTS:

February 14, 2013 at 2:40 am

How did you get such clear night shots? How low is your aperture?


February 14, 2013 at 3:27 am
Go Gophers says:

—Sounds like Wazzu is a team to keep an eye on this season.
—Is UCSD still contemplating moving up to D1 even though the Big West stiff armed them?