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Tritons Add Four for 2014 in Early Signing Period
The four-time defending California Collegiate Athletic Association champion UC San Diego baseball program has unveiled four National Letter-of-Intent signings during the early fall period for the 2014 season. The announcement was made by second-year Triton head coach Eric Newman.
Eric Newman is in his fourth season as the head coach of the UC San Diego baseball program in 2015. He was named to the position on Aug. 29, 2011, becoming the team's second leader since the school moved to NCAA Division II status for the 2001 season.
In 2012, his first campaign with the Tritons, Newman was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Coach of the Year after guiding the team to its fourth straight league regular-season and tournament championships. The Tritons qualified for their sixth consecutive NCAA West Regional as well.
UCSD won a slew of individual awards, led by starting pitcher Ryan Goodbrand and centerfielder Danny Susdorf, who each garnered All-America recognition. Six Tritons picked up all-region accolades and eight were named to All-CCAA teams. Reliever Elias Tuma showed his prowess in the classroom as well by being named a Capital One Academic All-American.
Rob Avila is in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the UC San Diego baseball program in 2015 after being named to the post in September of 2011. As the staff's top assistant, Avila serves as UCSD's pitching coach while assisting with recruiting and coordinating camps.
n his first year in La Jolla, Avila guided a staff that ranked third in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and 57th nationally in the NCAA Division II with a 3.88 ERA. The Tritons won their fourth successive CCAA regular-season and tournament titles. Junior ace Ryan Goodbrand posted an unblemished 11-0 record to earn All-America honorable mention, while three senior pitchers, Jeff Rauh, Elias Tuma and Tony York, were offered professional contracts at the end of the season.
The 2013 season was a 10th straight in which UCSD produced a winning overall record, with Avila's staff posting the third-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.18) in the CCAA. Prior to joining the Tritons, Avila was the head coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., from 2005-10, where he led the Sailfish to two National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Region championships in four seasons. He was named the NCCAA South Region Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2009. In both of those years, the Sailfish finished ninth in the NCCAA. During his tenure, Avila coached one All-American and 22 all-region selections. Three players went on to sign professional contracts.
Cory Burleson is in his third season as an assistant coach for the UC San Diego baseball program in 2015. He was named to the position in September of 2012. At his first collegiate coaching stop, Burleson is tasked with directing the outfielders while assisting with the catchers and the offense. He handles groundskeeping duties at Triton Ballpark and baseball operations. During the 2015 season, Burleson serves as the third base coach, having coached first base in 2014.
Burleson spent the 2012 summer guiding a U-16 team based out of Denver, Colo. He coached for president Tad Reida in the CageRat Baseball Academy program. For the 2013 summer, Burleson was the pitching coach and coordinator for the Green Bay (Wis.) Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League. In addition to his duties within the baseball program, Burleson is the department's internal relations intern during the 2014-15 academic year, taking an active role with the Triton Ballpark renovation project, among other tasks.
Recruited to Lincoln, Neb., by then Nebraska assistant coach and current Triton head coach Eric Newman, Burleson was a four-year starting catcher for the Cornhuskers from 2009-12. As a senior under former Major League Baseball player and current Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad, Burleson capped his Husker career with his best season at the plate. He batted .273 with career highs in hits (36), runs (25), RBI (22) and steals (3). He also tied his career high in doubles with seven, matching the output from his junior year. Burleson was one of the top defensive catchers in the Big Ten Conference, throwing out 20 would-be base-stealers in 38 attempts and being charged with just two errors in 246 chances for a .992 fielding percentage.
Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
J.T. Bloodworth was promoted to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator of the UC San Diego baseball program in July of 2014. He is in his third season with the Tritons in 2015, having joined the staff as a volunteer in September of 2012.
While taking over the recruiting operation and as the hitting instructor, Bloodworth continues to direct a stellar Triton defense that has ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA Division II in fielding percentage in each of the last two seasons. The 2014 squad that went 38-16 overall and brought home the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament banner, was fifth nationally in fielding (.974) and eighth in double plays turned (54). In 2013, UCSD fielded at a .972 clip.
Leading up to his arrival in La Jolla, Bloodworth was the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas, for the 2012 season. In that same year, he also served as an instructor at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., developing high school players from around the country. From 2008 through 2011, Bloodworth was at New Mexico State University, where he assisted with recruiting and served as the defensive coach alongside Hall of Famer Gary Ward. In his first season in Las Cruces, N.M., in 2009, Bloodworth had an immediate impact on the Aggie defense, which broke two school records with 701 assists and 69 double plays (ranked seventh nationally). NMSU also matched the program standard for fielding percentage at .968, committing only 76 errors, a dramatic improvement over a .942 clip and 138 errors the season before. The Aggies won 44 games in 2009, another school record.
Nick La Face
]Nick La Face was named to the UC San Diego baseball coaching staff as an assistant in July of 2014. The appointment follows a stellar five-year playing career for the catcher and designated hitter as a Triton from 2010-14.
In addition to coaching duties, La Face will aid in the recruiting process and camps, and have field maintenance oversight. During the 2015 season, he will serve as the first base coach. In a UCSD uniform, La Face was a three-time All-West Region performer and .300 career hitter with 14 home runs over more than 200 appearances. He left the program ranked No. 2 all-time at UCSD in walks (134), No. 3 in doubles (60) and No. 8 in RBI (146).
La Face saved his best for last as a senior in 2014, garnering All-America honorable mention thanks to career bests in batting average (.347), runs (42), hits (67), doubles (21), triples (5), RBI (54), total bases (104), slugging (.539), walks (47) and on-base percentage (.486). He led the league in doubles, triples and walks, and put together a reached-base streak of 35 games.