After winning the previous two matchups, the UC Irvine baseball team (19-11) dropped the last of a three-game series against the UCSD Tritons (11-19), 12-9, on April 10 at Triton Ballpark.
The Tritons pounced on UCI right off the bat and got off to a hot start putting themselves on the board early in the bottom of the first. With back-to-back doubles from freshman right fielder Austin Smith and junior catcher Marc Filia, UCSD found themselves up 1-0 after one inning.
UCSD continued their early dominance tacking on six more runs in the bottom of the second, however, the ‘Eaters were able to put a run up in the top of the third, following a pitching change from UCSD. Freshman left-handed pitcher Zach Ernisse relieved starting pitcher freshman Ryan Forcucci. UCI senior shortstop Taishi Nakawake led off with a solid base hit up the middle, which senior first baseman Ben Fitzgerald followed up nicely with an infield hit deep in the 5/6 hole, or the gap between shortstop and third baseman. Redshirt sophomore right fielder Nathan Church stepped up to the plate with Nakawake on second and freshman third baseman Dub Gleed on first, and belted one off the left field fence, scoring Nakawake with an RBI double, putting the score now 7-1 in favor of UCSD.
The Tritons really broke the game open by the bottom of the third, answering UCI’s one scored run with five of their own. Junior third baseman Jalen Smith and Smith were both able to record base hit RBI’s, only to be followed with a bases clearing three run home run from Filia, making the score an unsettling 12-1 UCSD lead after only three innings.
UCI successfully utilized several different relievers, and was able to keep UCSD from scoring for the rest of the game as the offense began to chip away at the 11 run deficit. Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Andre Antone took over in relief in the bottom of the fourth inning, and recorded three scoreless innings, followed by redshirt sophomore right handed pitcher Jacob King who pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, and finally, graduate right handed pitcher Gordon Ingebritson, who added a scoreless bottom of the eighth appearance.
Offensively, the ‘Eaters made things interesting. Sophomore outfielder Caden Kendle belted a solo home run well beyond the left field fence in the top of the fourth. The following fifth inning, redshirt junior second baseman Justin Torres led the ‘Eaters off with a sharp ground ball past the left side of the infield, in an inning where the eaters would tack on two more runs, bringing the score to 12-4.
The top of the sixth brought out sophomore right-handed pitcher Joey Soberon for the Tritons, with Nakawake welcomed the new pitcher into the game by smacking a pitch over the left field fence for a lead off solo home run. Fitzgerald was able to score later in the inning after crushing a double that one hopped the fence following an error from UCSD sophomore second baseman Noah Sudyka. After the sixth inning, the UCSD lead had been cut in half, 12-6.
Unfortunately, the Eaters were only able to add three more runs in the top of the eighth inning before ultimately losing the game 12-9.
The Eaters ended the weekend series against the Tritons with two wins and one hard fought loss.
Kira Dort is a Sports Intern for the spring 2022 quarter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.