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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.

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Eric Newman

 

Head Coach

Eric Newman was named the head coach of the UCSD baseball program on August 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 appearance as well.

UCSD won a slew of individual awards, led by starting pitcher Ryan Goodbrand and outfielder Danny Susdorf, who each garnered All-America honors. Six Tritons picked up all-region accolades and eight were named to All-CCAA teams. Reliever Elias Tuma showed his strength away from the diamond as well by being named a CoSIDA Academic All-American.

Prior to coming to La Jolla, Newman had been the pitching coach at Nebraska and served as the head coach at Dallas Baptist. A San Diego Padres draft pick, he played eight seasons of professional baseball.

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Rob Avila

 

Assistant Coach

Rob Avila was named an assistant coach with the UCSD baseball program in September of 2011.

Avila serves as UCSD's recruiting coordinator and is primarily responsible for coaching the Triton pitching staff.

Prior to joining the Tritons, Avila was the head coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University 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 seasons, the Sailfish finished ninth in the NCCAA. During his tenure, he coached one All-American and 22 all-region selections. Three players went on to sign professional contracts.

In 2010, Avila was also an assistant athletics director for operations at Palm Beach Atlantic. He was the school's head strength and conditioning coordinator from 2005-10 as well. Avila began his collegiate coaching career in 2001 as an assistant at Mendocino College in Ukiah, Calif.

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Jonathan Johnston

 

Assistant Coach

Jonathan Johnston was named to the UCSD coaching staff in the fall of 2011.

Johnston's primary responsibilities include working with the hitters and catchers, teaching base running and recruiting. He will also serve as the third base coach and assist in running the Triton offense during games.

During the 2012 season, Johnston's instruction was instrumental in UCSD's offensive success and the all-around improvement behind the dish.

Following a two year hiatus from baseball as an officer with the United States Navy, Johnston returned to spring training with the Oakland Athletics in March of 2011. He started the 2011 season in Advanced Class A as a catcher for the Stockton Ports, hitting .318 with a .423 on base percentage.

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J.T. Bloodworth

 

Assistant Coach

J.T. Bloodworth was named as an assistant coach for the UC San Diego baseball program in September of 2012.

Previously, Bloodworth was the head assistant coach at Lon Morris College in Texas for the 2012 season. His primary role at LMC was working with the Bearcat offense and defense.

Prior to Lon Morris, Bloodworth was an assistant at New Mexico State University from 2008 through 2011, working with the defense and infielders alongside of Hall of Fame Coach Gary Ward. In his first season at NMSU, Bloodworth had an immediate impact on the Aggie defense, which broke two school records with 701 assists and 69 double plays (ranked seventh nationally). Also, the Aggie defense tied the school record for highest fielding percentage at .968, committing only 76 errors. Just a season before, NMSU committed 138 errors and held a .942 fielding percentage.

Bloodworth started his collegiate playing career in 2004-05 at the University of Arizona under coach Andy Lopez. He then transferred to Dallas Baptist University, where he played from 2005-08 under head coaches Eric Newman and Dan Heeferner. Bloodworth helped DBU to a 2008 NCAA Regionals appearance and was named to the 2007 NCAA Division I All-Independent Team.

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Cory Burleson

 

Assistant Coach

Cory Burleson was named as an assistant coach for the UC San Diego baseball program in September of 2012.

Embarking on his first collegiate coaching venture, Burleson is tasked with directing the outfielders while assisting with the catchers and the offense. He also handles groundskeeping duties at Triton Ballpark and baseball operations.

Burleson spent this past 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 is slated to be the pitching coach and coordinator for the Green Bay (Wis.) Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League.

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