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UC San Diego baseball wins conference, not quite eligible for Div. 1 postseason

Even with the win, the team won't get to compete in postseason play due to the rules around their transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I.

SAN DIEGO — The UC San Diego Tritons baseball team has shown that they can definitely compete as an NCAA Division I team. In just their 3rd year since making the jump from the Division II level, they won the Big West Conference baseball championship. The Triton's impressive accomplishment is tempered by the fact they don't get to advance to postseason play as they are still in the probationary transition period for moving up to the top NCAA level.

The Tritons are 3 years into a four-year probationary period as they transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I.  While they compete in the Big West Conference during the regular season, they are not allowed to compete in postseason play until after next year when they complete the NCAA-mandated four-year reclassification period.

UCSD Baseball Coach Eric Newman said it's hard to describe the feeling of what this team has accomplished this year. "There's probably not a word.  Pride probably doesn't even totally encompass how I feel."

Tritons Athletic Director Earl Edwards added, "I can't believe what we've done in such a short period of time."

The Tritons were picked to finish 8th in a Big West preseason poll, but Newman knew his team could do better than that.

"We really did believe that we were better than eight, and that we were a team that had a chance to compete at the top," Newman said. "Now winning the whole thing, I mean, you know, you got to have some things go your way. These guys deserve that. They really do. They went out, they earned it on the field."

Winning the regular season is quite an accomplishment, but the coach feels bad for his players because the NCAA transition rules have ended the season earlier than he wanted.

"It's a bummer," Newman said.  "Because these guys definitely deserve that opportunity. This group definitely deserves it.  They went out and they earned it."

"I'm a bit disappointed," Pitcher Izaak Martinez said.  "However, I appreciate being a trailblazer. And I'm gonna be here for a while watching the future teams, go to Omaha and hopefully win a championship out there. So I'm excited. I mean, we're starting something good over here. And we're just looking forward to the future."

Edwards feels the four-year transition period is too long, but foresees the possibility of a change.  "I think it's too long. It really depends on the schools. I have a feeling after this, that they're going to change that. It won't benefit us but I think it will show that there are schools ready before the four-year period."

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