UCSD baseball team got an early start Sunday. It wasn’t supposed to, but bad weather forecasted for Monday forced the Division II College Worlds Series to move the two games scheduled for Monday to Sunday, forcing the Tritons to start earlier than expected.
First pitch was at 10 a.m. in Cary, North Carolina, which means it was 7 a.m. Pacific time. The Tritons were scheduled to play at 3 p.m. (noon Pacific) originally. As the only West Coast team in the double-elimination tournament, however, UCSD was prepared.
“We had a plan back on Thursday when we flew here,” UCSD coach Eric Newman said. “We talked about what that plan was going to be and how we’re going to grind out staying awake on the plane and getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning so we can adapt quickly to the time change and the humidity.”
Well, the plan seemed to have paid off. The Tritons blanked Texas A&M Kingsville, 4-0. Redshirt freshman Brandon Stewart was the spark plug that got UCSD on the scoreboard in the first inning.
As the leadoff hitter, Stewart singled to left field on a 1-2 pitch and advanced to second on a bad pickoff attempt by Javelinas pitcher Jarred Taylor. He scored on the next hit as Tyler Durna doubled down the right-field line.
“I hit leadoff in high school so it was nothing new to me,” Stewart said. “I just took what I learned in high school and applied it here.”
While Stewart was the spark plug, starting pitcher Mitch Hickey was the star. He struck out six, allowed just three hits and one walk in six shutout innings. Hickey was an Oregon State transfer who played at the Division I College World Series last year.
“That definitely prepared me a little bit more the higher intensity situation,” Hickey said but credited his pitching coaches. “They get us ready every day at practice. They put us in situations like this every day in practice. So, it’s not anything new.”
The Tritons have now won 13 straight games and 23 of their last 25. This is UCSD’s longest win streak under Newman and best since winning 19 straight in late 2011.
The Tritons next take on the No. 2 seed Columbus (Ga.) State at a more palatable 7 p.m. (4 p.m. Pacific) start time Tuesday night.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: