SF State men’s baseball dropped their first series game 6-2 against nationally-ranked team University of California, San Diego on Thursday, March 16.
“We prepared like we always do, staying consistent with our work and we knew we have to play our best if we want to win,” catcher Johnny Juarez said. Juarez went 3-4 on the day with two singles and a double.
The Gators starting pitcher Dillon Houser threw six full innings allowing four runs on five hits. The Tritons began their scoring streak in the top of the second with an RBI single that drove a runner from third in.
Bottom of the second Gator outfielder Chris Hayman singled, scoring Juarez and moving runners. Outfielder Jacob Lopez recorded another RBI for the inning scoring outfielder Trevor Greenley.
Tied at 2-2 heading into the top of the third, UCSD stuck on another two runs taking the lead 4-2.
“We got those two runs early but both of the (UCSD) pitchers were throwing really well,” Houser said.
Both teams were unable to find their way to home plate through the next six innings due to an ongoing battle between pitching and defense. Houser tagged in relief pitcher Cyril Vojak who allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth inning.
The Tritons scored an extra two runs from an RBI single and a sacrifice fly to center field, which forced another pitching change that brought in Brett Elgin. Elgin got the final two outs of the inning. Unfortunately, the Gators were unable to produce any runs at the bottom of the ninth and the Tritons walked away with a 6-2 win.
“I thought we competed really well,” head coach Tony Schifano said. “We are going up against an absolutely formidable program and if we make a defensive play early in the game, it’s a 2-2 ball game all the way up until the eighth – I’m really proud of the guys.”
The goal for SF State, now 2-11 in the conference, is learning from mistakes and fighting harder in games ahead.
“I think everybody is frustrated losing the first game of the series but we still have an opportunity and that’s why baseball is so amazing,” Schifano said.
“We can play with these guys, we competed on every pitch — as a coach you’re looking for positive things throughout the game that you can build on for the future.”