It was a reversal of fortune Tuesday evening for the UC San Diego baseball team in Cary, North Carolina. After blanking Texas A&M Kingsville on Sunday at the Division II College World Series, the Tritons were blanked 6-0 by Columbus (Ga.) State on Tuesday.
It was the first time in 13 games, the Tritons lost. Last year, UCSD lost the opener made it through the loser’s bracket to reach the title game, a much harder feat UCSD coach Eric Newman said.
“It’s pretty simple at this point,” Newman said. “Now you’ve got the win the next one. You don’t get too far ahead of yourself. You don’t worry about all the other stuff.”
The Tritons, for the second year in a row, left no room for errors. They will face an elimination game at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. Pacific) Wednesday against No. 4 seed Southern New Hampshire. If they win that, the Tritons will face Augustana (S.D.) on Thursday.
“It almost makes it simpler, honestly, because you know what’s in front of you,” Newman said. “You know what’s at stake. We were in this position last year.”
Both the Tritons and Cougars struck out in order in the opening frame but the Cougars bats lit up in the second to put Columbas State on top.
With one out, Cougars Chase Brown was walked and Robert Brooks doubled into left field to put two runners in scoring positions. After Frank Wager struck out, Gunar Drinnen delivered an RBI double to score Brown and Brooks.
UCSD could not handle Columbus State left-hander Perez Knowles, who pitched a scoreless seven innings. The Tritons didn’t record a hit until the fourth inning and only recorded four hits for the night.
“He wiggled out of some trouble a couple different times,” Newman said. “I thought we hit some balls pretty hard but we just didn’t do enough of that. Our at-bats weren’t consistent enough when we had those opportunities.”
The Tritons left 12 runners on base and the only time the Tritons were a threat was in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. UCSD’s Keenan Brigman helped Cougars reliever Payton Phillips out when he grounded into a double play.
“Knowing our offense, it’s a little frustrating especially at this of time of the year when you’re expecting your guys to get the big hit,” USCD second baseman Just Beck said. “One through nine, we have confidence in our guys. We put ourselves in a position where we could score. Five or six times we had a guy at least on second base, or first and second, whatever it was, and we kind of helped him out.”
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