Friday, February 15, 2013

Opening Day is Here — Play Ball!

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The eagerness and anticipation for the 2013 college baseball season has finally come to this: Opening Day.

So here we go.

The Aztecs travel eight miles across town to meet USD, which is celebrating the opening of Fowler Park. A great atmosphere is expected. All three games have been sold out and the first two contests are being televised by FOX. There will be radio broadcasts for all three games, including XTRA 1360 AM. Navigate through to follow the games live on gametracker. Check back here on the blog during and after games to get the in-game information and postgame recaps.

This weekend's schedule and probable pitching matchups (with last season's record):

Friday — SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (4-4) vs. USD RHP Dylan Covey (6-3), 7 p.m.

Saturday — SDSU RHP Philip Walby (1-3) vs. USD RHP Michael Wagner (5-2), 6 p.m.

Sunday — SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (3-6) vs. USD LHP Louie Lechich (0-0), 1 p.m.

Expect sophomore CF Greg Allen (.312, 2 HR, 31 RBI) to be the first batter at Fowler Park, followed by junior 2B Tim Zier (.318, 32 RBI) and sophomore 1B Ryan Muno (.308, 4 HR, 19 RBI). In the middle of the order, look for redshirt sophomore Brad Haynal (.375) and senior Jake Romanski (.289, 23 RBI), trading off at catcher and DH, and freshman third baseman Ty France. Sophomore RF Avondre Bollar (.231, 6 RBI) and junior SS Evan Potter (.190, 12 RBI) will bat toward the bottom of the order, along with the left fielder, a position expected to be manned by either Steven Pallares (.203, 7 RBI) or Matt Munoz (.301, 19 RBI).

Sophomore right-hander Michael Cederoth has stepped into the Friday starter role for the Aztecs. Cederoth started 11 games for SDSU last season, going 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 67.1 innings. He showed plenty of grit after suffering a broken jaw late in the season at Texas A&M, returning to the mound just two weeks later, pitching four innings to close out UNLV and get the victory in the MWC Tournament. Cederoth is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in the nation, regularly hitting 95-96 mph with his fastball while topping out last season at 101 mph.

— This is the 75th season of Aztecs baseball. SDSU has a 47-26-1 record in openers, including winning three of its past six opening games.
— The last time SDSU and USD opened the season against each other was in 2008. In SDSU's 11-2 victory that evening at Tony Gwynn Stadium, Stephen Strasburg outpitched Brian Matusz in a matchup of future major leaguers.
— SDSU leads the overall series against USD, which dates back to 1962, with a 65-52-3 record. The Toreros have won the past four meetings, including two games last season at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
— Second baseman Tim Zier and catcher Jake Romanski come into the season with five-game hitting streaks from the 2012 season. Zier had a 21-game streak last season that was the longest since Quintin Berry's 27-game streak in 2005.

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