May 27, 2009

Courtesy of Mount Olive Athletics

CARY, N.C. – Trevor Decker tossed a complete game three-hitter and nationally top-ranked UC San Diego used six consecutive two-out singles in a six-run sixth inning to break away from a one-run lead for a 13-1 victory over No. 21 Dowling in an elimination game at the 2009 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals Wednesday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Josh Tanner and Garrett Imeson paced UC San Diego’s 23-hit attack with four hits apiece as every Triton starter had at least one hit. Daniel Pembroke’s fourth-inning home run accounted for Dowling’s lone run.

UC San Diego faces unbeaten Emporia State Thursday at 3 p.m. in a semifinal round game. Dowling, which defeated UC San Diego 3-1 Sunday in the first round, is eliminated from the championship.

UC San Diego (41-14) led 2-1 when Robert Sedin was hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the sixth. After a fly out, Dowling catcher David Wendt threw out Sedin attempting to steal second to empty the bases with two outs. But Kellen Lee drew a walk and the Triton hit parade began.

Tim Mort singled to left and after a Dowling pitching change, Lee came home on leadoff batter Vance Albitz’s single to center. Josh Tanner singled home a run and advanced to second when Albitz beat the throw to third. Garrett Imeson beat out an infield single and Albitz scored to extend the Tritons’ lead to 5-1.

Brandon Gregorich and Evan Kehoe followed with rbi-singles and Gregorich scored on a wild pitch to give UC San Diego an 8-1 lead. Albitz and Imeson added run-scoring singles in the seventh as the Tritons became the first team in this year’s National Finals to reach the 10-run mark. Lee singled in a run in the eighth and Gregorich’s rbi-double triggered a two-run ninth inning.

The Tritons took an early 1-0 lead as Kehoe doubled down the right field line with one out in the top of the second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Matt Cantele singled to right one out later to drive in Kehoe.

Cantele contributed to another Triton run in the top of the fourth, belting a one-out double to advance Sedin to third. Sedin scored on Lee’s sacrifice fly to make it a 2-0 game.

Dowling (35-18) got on the scoreboard with two outs in the bottom of the fourth as Pembroke drove the first pitch he saw over the left field fence to pull the Golden Lions within a run. The home run was the fourth of the year for Pembroke and the ninth overall for Dowling, whose region uses wood bats instead of aluminum bats.

Decker (10-2) used a double play in the second inning and struck out the side in the third before losing his shutout bid in the fourth. After giving up the home run, Decker retired the next 10 batters and faced the minimum the rest of the way. A double play ball offset Taylor Bargiacchi’s leadoff single in the eighth.

Dowling had reached double digits in hits in each of its first two games at the National Finals. The Golden Lions’ three hits matched the total UC San Diego was held to in their first round game.

UC San Diego surpassed its own single-game highs for most runs and hits at this year’s National Finals. The Tritons scored eight runs on 14 hits Tuesday against West Chester.

Wednesday’s win assures UC San Diego of finishing in the top four. The Tritons must beat Emporia State twice to reach the championship game. If UC San Diego defeats Emporia State Thursday, the two teams will meet again Friday in an elimination game.

QUOTES

“I thought that was a pretty complete game. We put it all together today. We kind of got things started yesterday. As simple as this may sound, we try to be a solid pitching team with solid at bats." - UC San Diego head coach Dan O’Brien

“I think the biggest thing is, we didn’t look at this as an elimination game. We didn’t wake up this morning and say, ‘We might lose today.’” - UC San Diego shortstop Vance Albitz

“That definitely helped my confidence. I don’t do that very often.” - UC San Diego pitcher Trevor Decker on striking out the side in the third inning

“Everyone’s feeling is that we got to get right back here. Let’s get ourselves ready for fall, get stronger in the weight room. The ultimate goal is to be here again next year, but a lot goes into that. There are no guarantees. The 24 returning student-athletes will have a taste of this and want to be back. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve done this season, being here and fighting like heck. I can’t be more proud of the group or the program. We won’t walk out of here with our heads down.” - Dowling head coach Chris Celano

“It’s been a great experience, but we just fell short of our expectations. We had to beat the best to get here. We played some good ball and made some noise when we were down here." - Dowling first baseman Daniel Pembroke