Sunday, May 26, 2013

Aztecs win! Aztecs win! Aztecs win! Aztecs win!

SDSU captures the 2013 Mountain West Conference Baseball Championship

In an age where information must be conveyed in 140 characters or less, what the San Diego State baseball team accomplished this week at the Mountain West Conference Championship can be communicated in eight:


SDSU defeated No. 16-ranked New Mexico 9-4 this afternoon in the winner-take-all finals, setting off a celebration as jubilant Aztecs players piled on top of one another on the mound at Fresno State’s Beiden Field.

Showing off the hardware after the hard work.
The Aztecs claimed the MWC Championship and the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals. It is SDSU’s first regionals berth since 2009 and the 10th postseason appearance in school history.

SDSU will find out where it’s headed and who the opponents are in its four-team regional when the entire 64-team field is announced Monday morning at 9 on the “Selection Show” televised by ESPNU. The 16 regional hosts were announced this afternoon. UCLA and Cal State Fullerton are the closest West Coast sites and one of the two is a likely destination for the Aztecs.

After losing their second game in the tournament Thursday to UNLV, the Aztecs had to win four straight games — against Fresno State, UNLV and twice against New Mexico — to claim the championship. And they did.

“The last four games, we can’t swing the bats any better,” said SDSU coach Tony Gwynn as the Aztecs were being presented with the championship trophy. “Pitching and defense had been our strength all season long, but we had trouble putting runs on the board. The last four games, it just doesn’t get any better.

“These guys earned it. We had to come from the loser’s bracket, but they put it together, and here we are.”

The task facing SDSU (31-29) when it arrived in Fresno six days ago was improbable — perhaps highly so — because it meant getting past a New Mexico team that led the country in offense and all but owned the Aztecs.

New Mexico (37-20) came into the tournament leading the nation in batting average (.338) and runs per game (8.56). They finished 10 games ahead of SDSU in the regular season, winning five of the six contests between the teams. Three of the losses came from being swept at home by the Lobos last weekend.

None of that mattered this weekend.

SDSU hung on for an 8-7 victory Saturday night, forcing Sunday’s decisive game. Players who had stepped up all weekend to bring the team through the loser’s bracket would be asked to do it one more game. And they did.

The final score hid what happened in the eighth, an inning-ending play at the plate that preserved a 5-4 Aztecs lead and prevented momentum from leaving them for the Lobos.

Remember this: Sheehan to Zier to Romanski.

It is now a part of Aztecs lore.

SDSU led 5-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but New Mexico rallied for a run to make it 5-3 and still had two runners on base with two outs. New Mexico’s Jared Meek then doubled down the right-field line. One run scored to make it 5-4 and Alex Allbritton was being waved home.

SDSU right fielder Danny Sheehan chased down the ball and hit second baseman Tim Zier with his throw. Zier’s relay throw was a strike to catcher Jake Romanski, who blocked Allbritton off the plate as he made the tag.

Ty France
Most Outstanding Player
16-for-21, 8 RBI, 9 RS
How buoyed were the Aztecs by the play? They came out and scored four runs in the ninth inning — starting with freshman third baseman Ty France’s home run to left field.

The home run punctuated an amazing tournament for France, who was 16-for-21 over six games with eight RBIs and nine runs scored. He was named Most Outstanding Player for his efforts.

The ninth also included a two-run homer by Romanski and a run-scoring double by DH Brad Haynal, removing any doubt about a New Mexico comeback.

The five-run bulge may it easy to close out the game for reliever Ethan Miller, who set down the Lobos in order. He struck out New Mexico All-American D.J. Peterson to end the game.

That rewarded the efforts of starter Philip Walby, who was pitching on short rest after starting and winning the tournament opener Wednesday against Air Force. Walby went the first five innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout.

Ryan Doran, who went the distance in Friday’s win over Fresno State, relieved Walby and pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts.

The Aztecs trailed 2-1 through four innings before a three-run fifth — highlighted by France’s two-run double and a run-scoring single by Matt Munoz — gave them a 4-2 lead. SDSU added another run in the sixth to make it 5-2 when Danny Sheehan singled home teammate Greg Allen.

“Pitching and defense has been what we’ve live by all year, and now our offense is coming around,” said Doran. “We’re going to be a scary team to face in a regional. We’ve got to stay true to our pitching and defense. Like I’ve said all year, that’s what’s going to win championships.

“But our offense, I can’t be any more appreciative of those guys. They’ve stuck with us and we’ve stuck with them. That’s what we do. A team wins this game. Not one guy.”

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Aztecs force winner-take-all game for MWC title

Mike RoBards
There wasn't much drama Saturday afternoon in San Diego State's 6-2 victory over UNLV at the Mountain West Conference Championship.

SDSU saved all that for its game later in the evening against New Mexico, where the Aztecs hung on for a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat 8-7 victory over the Lobos at Fresno State's Beiden Field.

It forces a winner-take-all game Sunday at 1 p.m., where an NCAA Regionals berth will be awarded to the winner. The game can be viewed online at

Matt Munoz
New Mexico (37-19) scored three runs in the first inning — two of them coming on D.J. Peterson's two-run homer — and it appeared the Lobos would have their way with the Aztecs, just as they did five of the six times the teams met during conference play this season.

But SDSU (30-29) battled back and took an 8-5 lead through seven innings — much of the damage coming on Matt Munoz's three-run homer in the fifth and Ty France's solo homer in the seventh. France had himself quite a day, going 6-for-7 in the two games with four RBI and four runs scored.

Ty France
Critical was reliever Mike RoBards getting out of one bases-loaded jam in the eighth, when New Mexico scored a run to cut the lead to 8-6, then doing it again in the ninth, when he walked in a run before the Aztecs turned a game-ending double play.

RoBards (4-1) went the final 5.2 innings in relief of starter TJ Kendzora, allowing eight hits and three runs with six walks and four strikeouts. SDSU had 15 hits against the Lobos, with Munoz collecting four hits to go with his three RBI. Tim Zier added three hits.

The Aztecs looked to freshman closer Bubba Derby to get them to the MWC finals. The right-hander made his first collegiate start in SDSU's elimination game against UNLV, getting the win against the Rebels. Derby (4-3) allowed two runs on five hits over five innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Ethan Miller went the final four innings, checking UNLV on three hits to get the save.

SDSU had 17 hits in the game, with three each from France and Danny Sheehan leading the way. Zier, Munoz, Jake Romanski and Evan Potter each had two hits.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Stayin' Alive — Aztecs beat Fresno State 4-0

San Diego State third baseman Ty France got right to the point after Friday’s 4-0 win over Mountain West Conference Tournament host Fresno State kept the Aztecs' tournament title hopes alive.

With their backs to the wall in the elimination game, the Aztecs handed the ball to senior right-hander Ryan Doran. He delivered a complete-game shutout, limiting the Bulldogs to seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. It was what the team has come to expect from Doran, who improved to 8-3 while lowering his team-leading ERA to 2.53.

SDSU (28-29) plays UNLV (37-19), which lost 7-1 to New Mexico in today's late game, for another elimination game Saturday at 3 p.m. If the Aztecs beat UNLV, they would then play New Mexico (37-18) for the MWC Tournament title. SDSU would need to beat the Lobos twice to win it.

Against Fresno State, Doran allowed base runners in seven of nine innings, but only one advanced as far as third base and only one other made it as far as second.

Doran received all the run support he needed when the Aztecs scored a third-inning run with two outs. France and Brad Haynal singled and then Jake Romanski walked to load the bases for Evan Potter, whose grounder to third was fielded cleanly but dropped by Bulldogs first baseman Trent Garrison. That allowed France to score.

SDSU added a run in the fifth and made it 4-0 in the sixth on a two-out, two-run double by Greg Allen.

France had three of the Aztecs' nine hits in the game.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

UNLV hands Aztecs 6-3 loss in MWC Tournament

Everything was going according to plan for San Diego State through the first half of today's Mountain West Conference Tournament game against UNLV. The Aztecs led by two runs, ace Michael Cederoth was on the mound and the Rebels were on the ropes at Fresno State's Beiden Field.

That's when the wheels fell off. The Rebels rallied for five runs in the fifth inning on the way to a 6-3 victory over SDSU. The third-seeded Aztecs (27-29) now must come out of the loser's bracket if they are to win the tournament title and the automatic NCAA Regionals berth that comes with it.

SDSU plays an elimination game Friday at 3 p.m. against the winner of the morning's elimination game between fourth-seeded Fresno State and fifth-seeded Nevada. Second-seeded UNLV plays top-seeded New Mexico, a 7-3 winner over Nevada on Thursday night. Fresno State eliminated Air Force with a 6-4 win in today's early game.

The Aztecs struck quickly against UNLV, scoring a run in the first inning when leadoff hitter Greg Allen doubled and scored on a single by teammate Tim Zier. SDSU made it 2-0 when Brad Haynal singled to bring teammate Ryan Muno home from second base.

Cederoth (3-8) yielded just three singles through the first four innings. But he allowed the first five hitters he faced in the fifth to reach base — the comeback punctuated by Brandon Bayardi's grand slam. Ethan Miller came on in the sixth to relieve Cederoth, who allowed seven hits in five innings with seve strikeouts and two walks.

Allen and Muno each had two hits apiece for SDSU, which collected just seven hits overall. Haynal had two RBI.

SDSU (27-29) w

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Aztecs beat Air Force 15-6 in MWC Tourney opener

The Aztecs likely left eight to 10 wins on the table this season because of the offense's inability to get hits at key moments.

SDSU had no such problem in this afternoon's opening game of the Mountain West Conference Tournament, pounding Air Force pitching during a 15-6 victory in Fresno.

"We did a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position," said SDSU coach Tony Gwynn. "That's kind of been our bugaboo all season. We did a lot of things right today and, hopefully, we keep it going."

Third-seeded SDSU (27-28) meets second-seeded UNLV (36-18) on Thursday at 3 p.m. Top-seeded New Mexico (35-18) plays at 7 p.m. against fifth-seeded Nevada (25-30), a 4-3 winner in 12 innings over tournament host Fresno State (21-32). Air Force (15-38) plays Fresno State in Thursday's early game, with the loser eliminated from the double-elimination tournament.

The tournament champion receives the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Against Air Force, SDSU junior right-hander Philip Walby (4-3) allowed two runs in the first inning, then settled in. Walby went eight innings, allowing five runs with four strikeouts and one walk.

SDSU's 16-hit attack was led by second baseman Tim Zier, who was 4-for-5 with two RBI, and first baseman Ryan Muno, who was 2-for-5 with four RBI. Teammates Greg Allen and John Spirk each added two hits and two RBI.

Aztecs head into Mountain West Tournament

Third-seeded San Diego State (26-28) opens the Mountain West Conference Tournament against sixth-seeded Air Force (13-37) this afternoon in Fresno.

The winner of the double-elimination tournament receives the conference's automatic berth to the 64-team NCAA Tournament.

Regular season champion New Mexico (35-18) comes in as the top-seeded tournament favorite. The No. 2 seed went to UNLV (36-18). Third-seeded Fresno State (21-31) is the tournament host. Fourth-seeded Nevada (24-30) rounds out the field.

Here's a glance at how this sets up for the Aztecs:

Junior right-hander Philip Walby (3-3, 3.60 ERA) out of this past weekend’s series against New Mexico in order to save him for the Falcons. Walby and sophomore right-hander Michael Cederoth (3-7, 3.87 ERA) are both power pitchers who can dominate any team, especially when they keep walks to a minimum. Cederoth is expected to start the team’s second game, which, barring an upset, will be against No. 2 seed UNLV. It is an opportunity for college baseball fans to see a pitcher who touches 100 mph and is expected to be a first-round draft pick in 2014. Senior right-hander Ryan Doran (7-2, 2.78 ERA) was the team’s most effective pitcher and would get the start against No. 1 New Mexico if things play out as planned. Doran does not have the velocity of Walby and Cederoth, but he knows how to pitch and the results speak for themselves. Sophomore left-hander Mike RoBards (3-1, 3.47 ERA) emerged as a midweek starter and adds depth to the tournament rotation. Right-handers Ethan Miller (4-3, 3.76 ERA) and Justin Hepner (1-1, 3.82 ERA) are the key middle relievers who will be called upon to build the bridge between the starters and freshman closer Bubba Derby (3-3, 3.82 ERA, 10 SV). Derby emerged during the season-opening sweep of cross-town rival USD, saving two of the three games in the series. He is mature beyond his years, goes right after hitters and is among the nation’s top young closers.

The offense has been the biggest reason for the team’s .500 season. The players batted a collective .264 and produced five runs a game. Most critical was the lack of timely hits, especially in some early-season pitching duels where one hit may have made the difference between winning and losing. The team scored three runs or fewer its first 11 losses and 22 of 28 losses overall. The offense did have its moments and, if it gets hot this week, could take the team to the tournament title. There is not a lot of power (just 13 home runs), but good speed (79 stolen bases). Key hitters in the lineup are second baseman Tim Zier (.333, 37 RBI, 14 SB), first baseman Ryan Muno (.321, 4 HR, 39 RBI), catcher Jake Romanski (.316, 27 RBI), center fielder Greg Allen (.283, ), third baseman Ty France (.263, 3 HR, 27 RBI) and DH/catcher Brad Haynal (.236, 3 HR, 24 RBI).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Six Aztecs earn all-Mountain West honors

Ryan Doran
Tim Zier
Six San Diego State players were named to the all-Mountain West Conference team, led by first-team selections Tim Zier and Ryan Doran.

Zier batted .350 in conference play. The junior second baseman was among the top eight in the conference in seven categories, including batting average, hits, triples, runs scored and stolen bases.

Doran was 5-1 in conference with a 2.44 ERA. The senior right-hander ranked third in the conference in ERA and strikeouts.

Senior catcher Jake Romanski, sophomore right-hander Michael Cederoth, sophomore first baseman Ryan Muno and freshman right-hander  Bubba Derby all earned second-team honors. Romanski's defense, along with a .270 average and 19 RBI in conference, set him apart. Cederoth led the conference in strikeouts (72 in 60.2 IP) and his .211 opponent batting after was third- lowest. Muno batted .343 in MWC play with 30 RBI. Derby led the conference with 10 saves.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Mexico completes sweep of Aztecs

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — No. 16-ranked New Mexico completed a three-game Mountain West Conference sweep of San Diego State with an 11-7 win Saturday afternoon in a game that included a little controversy at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

A collision at home plate in the seventh inning involving SDSU's John Spirk and New Mexico catcher Alex Real briefly led to Spirk's ejection — a decision that was later overturned — and also led to the ejection of SDSU head coach Tony Gwynn when he came out to argue the play with home plate umpire Dominic Giarratano.

The Aztecs scored the go-ahead run, which made it 7-6, on perhaps the most controversial play of the season. Spirk came home on Justin Gheorghe's one-out single to right field. The throw home short-hopped past Real, who moved into the third-base line while trying to field the ball. Spirk collided with Real a few feet up the line before then touching the plate.

Giarratano called Spirk out and ejected him for colliding with the catcher, believing Spirk had thrown an elbow on the play (NCAA rules require players to avoid contact at all costs). The three umpires engaged in a lengthy discussion moments later to discuss the play and the decision to eject Spirk was reversed as it was decided that he put his arms up to protect himself during the collision.

Gwynn, who had come out to argue Spirk being called out, was ejected by Giarratano amid the confusion surrounding the play. It was the third ejection in Gwynn's 11 seasons as head coach.

The momentum for SDSU (15-15, 26-28) was short-lived as the Lobos (25-5, 28-18) regained the lead with three runs in the eighth inning and added two more in the ninth in a game that closed out the regular season for both teams.

New Mexico took control early, building a 5-1 lead through three and a half innings. But the Aztecs rallied for four runs in the fourth to make it 5-5. Shortstop Evan Potter's two-out, bases-loaded double brought home three of the runs. Potter then scored on Jake Romanski's single.

After New Mexico regained the lead with a run in the fifth, the Aztecs tied it again 6-6 in their half of the inning. Potter took one for the team, getting hit by a pitch from the Lobos' Hobie McClain to force home the run. Potter, who has made a name for himself with outstanding defense, finished the game with a career-high four RBI.

The Aztecs now shift their focus to the MWC Tournament, which begins Wednesday at Fresno State. No. 3-seeded SDSU opens the double-elimination tournament against No. 6-seeded Air Force. Junior right-hander Philip Walby (3-3, 3.60) is expected to start on the mound for the Aztecs. No. 4 seed Fresno State plays No. 5 seed Nevada in Wednesday's other game. Top-seeded New Mexico and No. 2 seed UNLV receive first-round byes.

If SDSU beats Air Force, then the Aztecs will play UNLV on Thursday.

The MWC Tournament champion receives the conference's automatic berth to the 64-team NCAA Tournament.

New Mexico (25-5, 35-18)
UNLV (18-12, 36-18)
San Diego State (15-15, 26-28)
Fresno State (13-16, 20-31)*
Nevada (11-18, 24-29)*
Air Force (7-23, 15-37)
*does not include Saturday night's game

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Aztecs close out regular season with New Mexico

SAN DIEGO, Calif — The Aztecs conclude the regular season this weekend with a three-game Mountain West Conference series against No. 16-ranked New Mexico.

Don't expect too much drama since this series could end up being more about positioning for next week's MWC Tournament than it is about this weekend's wins and losses. Slotting for the tournament is all but set. The Lobos have clinched the regular-season title and No. 1 berth in the tourney. SDSU is in third place and would need to pick up two games in the standings on second-place UNLV (which plays Air Force this weekend) in order to take the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The top two teams receive a first-round bye.

Setting up for the tournament is reflected in SDSU's pitching rotation, which features sophomore left-hander Michael RoBards in Sunday's finale. Junior right-hander Philip Walby (3-3, 3.53) has been in that spot, but Walby is being held in reserve to pitch the team's opening game in the tournament. As it now stands, No. 3 seed SDSU would play No. 6 seed Air Force in its first game.

Here's a look at the weekend's probable pitching matchups:

New Mexico RHP Josh Walker (8-3, 4.19) vs. SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (3-6, 3.49), 6 p.m.

New Mexico RHP Sam Wolff (1-2, 5.52) vs. SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (7-2, 2.83), 6 p.m.

New Mexico RHP Drew Bridges (3-1, 4.35) vs. SDSU LHP Michael RoBards (3-1, 2.89), 2 p.m.

New Mexico (22-5, 32-18)
UNLV (16-11, 34-17)
San Diego State (15-12, 26-25)
Nevada (11-16, 24-27)
Fresno State (11-16, 18-31)
Air Force (6-21, 14-35)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Aztecs take series against Air Force with 9-2 win

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — San Diego State broke out the bats on a warm Sunday afternoon, scoring early and often in a 9-2 Mountain West Conference victory over Air Force that gave the Aztecs a series win.

The Aztecs (26-25, 15-12 MWC) scored four runs in the first inning and added three more in the second to beat Air Force (14-35, 6-21) for the 28th time in the past 29 meetings at Tony Gwynn Stadium. That was plenty of run support for junior right-hander Philip Walby, who limited the Falcons to two fifth-inning runs. Walby (3-3) allowed four hits over seven innings with one strikeout and two walks before sophomore left-hander Michael RoBards and junior right-hander Justin Hepner finished off the Falcons.

SDSU enters the final weekend of conference play trailing UNLV by one game for second place. The top two teams in the regular season receive a first-round by in the double-elimination MWC Tournament, which will be played May 22-26 in Fresno. The Aztecs play host to conference champion New Mexico for three games this weekend while the Rebels travel to Air Force.

In Sunday's game, the Aztecs jumped on Air Force starting pitcher Steven Trojan (3-6) from the outset, with the first five hitters he faced reaching base. Matt Munoz led off with a single and Greg Allen walked before Tim Zier singled up the middle for the game's first run. When Ryan Muno walked and Jake Romanski was hit by a pitch to force in another run, Trojan's day was done without recording an out. Air Force went to the bullpen and reliever Alex Baker allowed one run on Ty France's infield out and another on Brad Haynal's sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.

Zier singled in another run in the second inning and Romanski singled in two more, giving SDSU a 7-0 advantage. Haynal's RBI single in the sixth completed the scoring. Zier led the Aztecs' 12-hit attack with three hits. He also drove in three runs, giving him 35 RBI on the season to share the team lead with Muno. Romanski also drove in three runs in the game and Haynal had two RBI.

New Mexico (22-5, 32-18)
UNLV (16-11, 34-17)
San Diego State (15-12, 26-25)
Nevada (11-16, 24-27)
Fresno State (11-16, 18-31)
Air Force (6-21, 14-35)

May 16-18
New Mexico at San Diego State
UNLV at Air Force
Nevada at Fresno State
May 22-26
MWC Tournament at Fresno State

Friday, May 10, 2013

This weekend: Aztecs play host Air Force

SAN DIEGO, Calif — The Aztecs have had tremendous success against Air Force through the years. It would be especially helpful this weekend if they can continue that success against the Falcons.

A few numbers: SDSU is 88-20 all-time against Air Force, winning 38 of the past 41 meetings. The Aztecs are 26-0 at home against the Falcons over the past decade.

Extending that unbeaten streak could be essential to SDSU's hopes of finishing in second place in the Mountain West and earning one of the two first-round byes in the MWC Tournament. New Mexico already has secured one spot as the conference champion. The Aztecs are currently tied for second place with UNLV in the battle for the second spot. SDSU needs to finish ahead of the Rebels, who would win a tie-breaker after beating the Aztecs in four of six meetings this season.

SDSU is expected to get a boost this weekend with the return of sophomore right-hander Michael Cederoth, who was held out of the rotation last week at Nevada to rest a strained oblique.

Here's a look at the probable pitching matchups:
Air Force RHP Cameron White (2-9, 5.04) vs. SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (3-5, 3.41), 6 p.m.

Air Force LHP Ben Bertelson (1-5, 7.41) vs. SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (6-2, 2.92), 1 p.m.
note: game to be televised by CBS Sports Network

Air Force RHP Steven Trojan (3-5, 4.98) vs. SDSU RHP Philip Walby (2-3, 3.62), 1 p.m.

New Mexico (20-4, 30-17)
UNLV (13-11, 31-17)
San Diego State (13-11, 24-24)
Nevada (11-13, 24-24)
Fresno State (10-14, 17-29)
Air Force (5-19, 13-33)

May 10-12
Air Force at San Diego State
UNLV at Nevada
New Mexico at Fresno State
May 16-18
New Mexico at San Diego State
UNLV at Air Force
Nevada at Fresno State
May 22-26
MWC Tournament at Fresno State

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Aztecs' rally spoiled by Nevada's walkoff homer

San Diego State staged a furious ninth-inning rally Sunday at Nevada to tie their Mountain West Conference game, only to watch the Wolf Pack win it 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth with a walkoff home run.

The loss prevented the Aztecs from moving ahead of UNLV in the conference standings. The teams are battling for second place, which brings with it a first-round bye in the double-elimination MWC Tournament. New Mexico already is assured of the No. 1 berth after clinching the regular season title on Sunday when the Lobos completed a three-game sweep of Air Force.

The Aztecs lost 7-1 to Nevada in Friday's opener before pulling out a 4-3 win in 10 innings on Saturday, setting up Sunday's series-deciding game.

Nevada starting pitcher Tom Jameson threw eight shutout innings before giving way to closer Michael Fain in the ninth. SDSU's Brad Haynal greeted Fain with a leadoff home run to left field to make it 3-1.  Ty France singled and Evan Potter followed two outs later with a walk and both runners scored on a double by Matt Munoz that made it 3-3. The excitement of the rally was short-lived. Nevada's Brad Gerig homered to left field on the first pitch from SDSU closer Bubba Derby.

The Aztecs travel to UC Riverside on Tuesday for the season's final nonconference game before resuming MWC play this weekend with a three-game series against Air Force at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

New Mexico (20-4, 30-17)
UNLV (13-11, 30-17)
San Diego State (13-11, 23-24)
Nevada (11-13, 24-23)
Fresno State (10-14, 16-29)
Air Force (5-19, 13-33)

May 10-12
Air Force at San Diego State
UNLV at Nevada
New Mexico at Fresno State
May 16-18
New Mexico at San Diego State
UNLV at Air Force
Nevada at Fresno State
May 22-26
MWC Tournament at Fresno State

Friday, May 3, 2013

This weekend: Aztecs at Nevada for MWC series

San Diego State can solidify its second-place standing in the Mountain West Conference this weekend in its three-game series at Nevada.

The Aztecs swept Nevada when the Wolf Pack visited San Diego four weeks ago. The tone for the series was set in SDSU's series-opening, 2-0 victory as Michael Cederoth outdueled Nevada's Braden Shipley, a projected high first-round draft pick.

Cederoth is missing this week's start to rest an oblique strain. Sophomore left-hander Michael RoBards, who has stepped up in Tuesday starts and this week earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week, is expected to start in Cederoth's place.

Here's a look at the series:
SDSU LHP Michael RoBards (3-0, 2.52) vs. Nevada RHP Braden Shipley (6-2, 2.70), 6 p.m.

SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (6-2, 2.83) vs. Nevada LHP Tyler Wells (4-3, 4.09), 1 p.m.

SDSU RHP Philip Walby (2-3, 3.66) vs. Nevada RHP Tom Jameson (1-6, 6.30), 1 p.m.

The Aztecs come into the series following Monday's 8-2 loss to USF. ... SDSU's offense includes six players with at least 20 RBI — second baseman Tim Zier (.317, 29 RBI, 12 SB), first baseman Ryan Muno (.330, 2 HR, 28 RBI), third baseman Ty France (.245, 3 HR, 23 RBI), catcher Jake Romanski (.352, 22 RBI), center fielder Greg Allen (.298, 20 RBI, 18 SB) and DH Brad Haynal (.258, 2 HR, 20 RBI).

The Wolf Pack took two of three games at Air Force last weekend to stay within three games of second place. They lost 7-6 to Sacramento State earlier in the week. ... Third baseman Austin Byler (.356, 8 HR, 39 RBI) and right fielder Brooks Klein (.339, 6 HR, 37 RBI) have combined for half the team's home runs. ... Like the Aztecs with Bubba Derby, Nevada also has a freshman closer in Michael Fain (2-3, 5.91, 9 SV).

New Mexico (17-4, 27-17)
San Diego State (12-9, 22-22)
UNLV (11-10, 28-16)
Nevada (9-12, 22-22)
Fresno State (9-12, 15-27)
Air Force (5-16, 13-30)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Aztecs take series against Fresno State with 4-2 win

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — San Diego State took advantage of solid pitching and defense and timely hitting Sunday afternoon for a 4-2 Mountain West Conference victory over Fresno State that gave the Aztecs the series at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The victory enabled SDSU (22-21, 12-9) to move past UNLV (27-16, 11-10) into second place in the conference standings, five games back of first-place New Mexico (27-16, 17-4). Fresno State (14-27, 9-12) is tied for fourth with Nevada (9-12, 22-21). The top two teams in the regular season receive a first-round bye at the double-elimination MWC Tournament, which will be hosted May 22-26 by Fresno State.

The Aztecs took control early against the Bulldogs in the deciding game of the three-game series, building a 3-0 lead through four innings. SDSU opened the scoring in the second inning when Ty France's two-out double scored teammate Ryan Muno from first base. The Aztecs added two more runs in the fourth when Greg Allen and Tim Zier opened the inning with back-to-back singles and both eventually scored on wild pitches by Fresno State starting pitcher Tim Borst (1-2).

Fresno State made it a 3-2 game with single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings against SDSU junior right-hander Philip Walby. The Aztecs responded in the bottom of the sixth when Zier advanced to second on a two-base throwing error leading off the inning and later scored to make it 4-2 when Muno hit into a double play.

Walby (3-2) allowed two runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and three walks.

Freshman right-hander Tyler Sapp relieved Walby with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh and got out of the predicament with an inning-ending double play. On the play, Fresno State's Chris Mariscal hit a liner that SDSU shortstop Evan Potter dove to his right to snag and then flipped to Zier to double off the runner at second base.

The Aztecs escaped trouble again in the eighth inning with their defense. Right fielder Steven Pallares battled the sun before making a rolling catch at the warning track on a liner hit by Jordan Luplow. That saved a run. The Aztecs got out of the inning moment laters when Taylor Tempel hit a ball hard off the glove of France at third and ricocheted to Potter, who threw out Tempel at first base. Potter made another fine play in the ninth, ranging behind second base for a diving stop before throwing Brody Russell out at first.

SDSU sophomore left-hander Mike RoBards got the last out of the eighth and the first out of the ninth before freshman closer Bubba Derby came on to finish off the Bulldogs for his ninth save of the season.

The Aztecs return to the field Monday at 3 p.m. for a nonconference home game against the University of San Francisco before returning to the road for a three-game MWC series Friday-Sunday at Nevada.

New Mexico (17-4, 27-16)
San Diego State (12-9, 22-21)
UNLV (11-10, 27-16)
Fresno State (9-12, 14-27)
Nevada (9-12, 22-21)
Air Force (5-16, 12-30)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Aztecs respond to Fresno State challenge in 10-8 win

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — It is crucial for a team's success to answer back when an opponent has a big inning. San Diego State did that Saturday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the way to a 10-8 Mountain West Conference victory over Fresno State.

The Aztecs (21-21, 11-9) watched a four-run lead disappear in the top of the seventh inning when the Bulldogs (14-26, 9-11) chased starting pitcher Ryan Doran. Doran had allowed two runs coming into the seventh, but was charged with four more (three earned) in the inning before being relieved. Fresno State scored one more run to take a 7-6 lead before senior right-hander Ethan Miller could get out of the inning.

SDSU responded quickly, scoring four runs of its own in the bottom of the seventh to regain the lead. RBI singles by Steven Pallares, Matt Munoz, Greg Allen and Tim Zier keyed the comeback, giving the Aztecs a 10-7 advantage.

Miller (3-2) was credited with the victory. Freshman closer Bubba Derby pitched the eighth and nine innings for his eighth save.

SDSU opened the scoring in the second inning on first baseman Ryan Muno's second home run of the season. The Aztecs expanded their lead to 4-0 with a three-run third inning. Catcher Jake Romanski, Muno and DH Brad Haynal drove in the runs with a single, bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly, respectively.

When Fresno State scored two runs in the fourth, the Aztecs responded an inning later with a pair of runs on singles by Muno and Haynal.

Munoz, batting leadoff, had three hits to lead the Aztecs' 13-hit attack. Muno had two hits and a game-high three RBI.

The teams conclude the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Junior right-hander Philip Walby is the scheduled starter for the Aztecs.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Aztecs play host to Fresno State this weekend

SAN DIEGO, Calif — San Diego State looks to get back on track in Mountain West play this weekend when it plays host to Fresno State. The Aztecs took two of three games at Fresno when the teams met last month.

Here's a look at the series:
Fresno St. RHP Blake Quinn (2-1, 2.61) vs. SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (3-4, 3.24), 6 p.m.

Fresno St. RHP Jordan Brink (3-1, 3.58) vs. SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (6-1, 2.40), 2 p.m.

 Fresno St. RHP Tim Borst (1-1, 3.92) vs. SDSU RHP Philip Walby (1-3, 3.75), 1 p.m.

The Aztecs are hoping to bring some momentum from Tuesday's 18-2 win over UC Irvine into this series, which could prove pivotal to the team's MWC regular-season hopes. SDSU is four games behind New Mexico and a game behind UNLV in the conference standings. ... Catcher Jake Romanski (.356, 21 RBI) continues to lead the team in batting, along with first baseman Ryan Muno (.337, 22 RBI), second baseman Tim Zier (.329, 28 RBI, 11 SB) and third baseman Ty France (.247, 3 HR, 22 RBI). The first 500 fans in attendance will receive Addison Reed replica jersey T-shirts.

The Bulldogs picked up more conference wins in a weekend than they had all season by winning five straight against Air Force (including two rescheduled from the teams' series at Colorado Springs). The victories position Fresno State to get back into the conference race. ... Outfielder Aaron Judge (.347, 7 HR, 22 RBI) leads the team on offense. Shortstop Chris Mariscal (.327, 17 RBI) and outfielder Taylor Tempel (.311, 8 RBI) are the only other two players hitting over .300. Catcher Austin Wynns (.289, 3 HR, 16 RBI), a Poway High graduate, is one of the other primary run producers.

New Mexico (14-4, 24-16)
UNLV (11-7, 27-13)
San Diego State (10-8, 20-20)
Fresno State (8-10, 13-25)
Nevada (7-11, 20-20)
Air Force (4-14, 11-28)