UCSD Big West
UCSD swept their final series of the year, but had to wait to see if they stood alone as Big West champs. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan via ucsdtritons.com

UC San Diego is the outright 2023 Big West baseball champion, after finishing with a 21-9 record to earn UCSD’s first conference title across all membership sports.

It’s just the program’s third season of Division I competition – and they had to sweat it out for a week to learn their championship fates.

After being picked to finish eighth in the Big West Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Tritons went 34-18 overall in 2023, winning six of their 10 conference series, all via sweeps.

UC San Diego closed out the season winning 12 of their final 14 contests, including a sweep at then-Big West leader Cal State Fullerton.

Three teams went into the final weekend of conference play with nine losses apiece. The Tritons had clinched a share of the title after a sweep at UC Riverside on May 21 but with a bye the final weekend, had to watch two other crucial series at home.

At 18-9, both UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton were still in contention for a share of the title heading into Thursday. The Gauchos dropped a 17-1 decision at Hawai’i and the Titans dropped the finale in San Luis Obispo 5-4 to leave UCSD standing alone at the top.

Currently in year three of the NCAA-mandated four-year Division I reclassifying period, the Tritons are not eligible for NCAA postseason competition.

While UC San Diego does hold a tiebreaker advantage over Cal State Fullerton, the Tritons cannot receive the conference’s automatic bid.

“I wish we were headed to a regional, and recognize the significance of this conference championship and continuing the strong legacy of Triton Baseball,” said head coach Eric Newman.

UCSD Athletics will be fully eligible for NCAA postseason competition in the 2024-25 academic year, meaning the 2025 season for Triton baseball.

The Tritons took home five Big West weekly awards this season, for Michael Fuhrman, Brandon Larson, Izaak Martinez (twice) and Crew Robinson. The Big West will announce its all-conference honorees next week.

The Tritons finished with a 4.44 team earned run average, ranking third in the Big West. Martinez was dominant with a 2.84 earned run average, fifth in the Big West. Ryan Forcucci ranked third in the conference for opponent batting average (.206) and Martinez finished fifth (.213).

Martinez finished third in the conference in saves (9) and seventh in total wins (6), while Nic Gregson and Ethan Holt tied for 11th with five wins apiece and Ryan Rissas ranked 10th with five saves.

The Tritons finished with a .282 team batting average, good enough for third in the conference. Leading the way offensively were Doyle Kane and Patrick Hackworth, both recording a .327 batting average and ranking 15th for all Big West batters.

The campus will host a celebration for the Big West champions at noon Wednesday in front of the Price Center on UCSD’s main campus.