Sunday, March 31, 2013

Aztecs salvage final game of New Mexico series

San Diego State's 13-6 win at New Mexico on Saturday averted a three-game sweep, enabling the Aztecs to return home just one game behind the Lobos in the Mountain West Conference standings.

An eight-run sixth inning keyed SDSU's victory. The Aztecs banged out 16 hits in the game, including three hits each by Ryan Muno, Jake Romanski and Ty France. DH Mitch Bluman had two hits and a team-high three RBI.

SDSU's Ryan Doran (4-2) allowed just two runs over five innings to get the victory.

New Mexico won the first two games of the series on 14-3 and 7-5 scores. SDSU's Michael Cederoth (1-4) had his struggles in the first game, allowing eight runs in four innings. SDSU had a 5-4 lead in the second game before the Lobos rallied for three runs in the seventh inning.

Perhaps most notable in the losses was all the walks issued by Aztecs pitchers, who walked eight batters in the first game and nine in the second game. They walked five in Saturday's win.

New Mexico (6-3, 13-13)
Nevada (5-4, 17-11)
San Diego State (5-4, 13-14)
UNLV (4-4, 19-8)*
Air Force (2-4, 8-17)*
Fresno State (2-5, 6-18)
*does not include Sunday's result

SDSU plays a home-and-home series with UC Riverside. The Aztecs play host to the Highlanders on Monday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium and travel Tuesday for a game at Riverside. UC Riverside (13-9) is coming off a three-game sweep of UC Irvine in its opening series of Big West play.

SDSU hopes to get catcher Brad Haynal back for the Riverside series. Haynal has been out with a hairline fracture of his hand suffered two weeks ago at Fresno State.

The Aztecs then meet Nevada for a three-game MWC series Friday-Sunday at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Wolf Pack comes in tied for second place with SDSU after taking two of three games this weekend against Fresno State.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

This weekend: Aztecs at New Mexico

It may be too early, just six games into Mountain West Conference play, to call this a first-place showdown, but San Diego State's three-game series this weekend at New Mexico will give one of the teams a leg up on the rest of the conference.

Here's a look at the series:

SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (1-3, 2.03) vs. New Mexico RHP A.J. Carman (1-0, 4.40), 2:05 p.m. (MT).

SDSU RHP Philip Walby (1-2, 3.12) vs. New Mexico RHP Sam Wolff (1-2, 4.91), 2:05 p.m. (MT).

SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (3-1, 3.28)  vs. New Mexico LHP Alex Estrella (0-0, 3.78), 1:05 p.m. (MT).

San Diego State (4-2, 12-12)
New Mexico (4-2, 11-12)
Nevada (3-3, 15-10)
Air Force (2-2, 8-15)
UNLV (2-4, 17-8)Fresno State (1-3, 5-16)

SDSU leads the all-time series against New Mexico 98-61, although the Lobos have won 18 of the past 25 games. New Mexico won five of six meetings last season.

SDSU starting pitchers Philip Walby and Michael Cederoth have limited opponents to .186 and .189 batting averages, respectively, and will be put to the test by the hard-hitting New Mexico lineup. Freshman third baseman Ty France has gone 9-for-26 (.346) during a seven-game hitting streak. ... First baseman Ryan Muno was welcomed back to the starting lineup last weekend against UNLV after missing a month with a broken right hand suffered during practice in the season's second week. Muno was 4-for-8 against the Rebels. ... Freshman closer Bubba Derby earned a save and a win in the two victories over UNLV. ... SDSU catcher Brad Haynal is expected to be out for one more week after suffering a hairline fracture in his hand two weeks ago at Fresno State. ... After the New Mexico series, the Aztecs return for a two-game, home-and-home series with UC Riverside. Monday the teams play at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Tuesday's game is at Riverside. SDSU then plays host to Nevada for a three-game conference series.

The Lobos were favorites in a preseason coaches poll to win the MWC championship. ... bring a .312 team batting average to the series. ... They are averaging 7.5 runs a game. ... National Player of the Year candidate 1B/3B D.J. Peterson (.392, 11 HR, 34 RBI) leads the way, along with C Mitch Garver (.389, 18 RBI, 8 SB) and OF Luke Campbell (.313, 20 RBI). ... The pitching staff isn't as accomplished, compiling a 4.99 ERA. The starters, listed above, have not been overwhelming. Josh Walker (2-0. 2.82, 3 SV) has been solid at the back end.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Aztecs rally in ninth for 5-4 win over UNLV

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Sometimes it's best not to try to figure out the game of baseball and just enjoy the moment when things go your way.

San Diego State had its struggles much of the game Sunday afternoon against UNLV before rallying in the ninth inning for a 5-4 walkoff win at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The victory enabled the Aztecs (4-2, 12-12) to win the Mountain West Conference series against the Rebels (2-4, 17-7) and remain atop the conference standings.

"It was real big to get that win because Vegas is a hot team," said SDSU second baseman Tim Zier, who drove in the tying run in the ninth. "It's real big to win to our first two series (including last week at Freno State) and show we're here to play."

The Aztecs trailed 4-3 coming into the ninth. To that point, they had allowed three unearned runs in the game and collected just three hits -- all in the fourth inning.

Their fortunes began to change in the final inning when Danny Sheehan was hit by a pitch from UNLV reliever Brady Zuniga with one out. Evan Potter followed with a single between first and second to put runners at the corners. Greg Allen then walked to load the bases.

Zier made it 4-4 when he hit a ball up the middle that UNLV shortstop T.J. White gloved but could only throw to first, allowing Sheehan to score and the other runners to move up. 

Ryan Muno was then walked intentionally to set up a force at any base. Jake Romanski came to the plate and immediately got in an 0-2 hole. But a subsequent curveball from Zuniga (1-1) came in too tight, hitting Romanski in the left arm to force home the winning run.

"I couldn't really move out of the way," said Romanski. "I didn't want to move out of the way. I was trying to do anything I could right there to get the win for our team. ... It gives us some momentum and confidence going into New Mexico (this weekend)."

It did not seem like SDSU's day most of the afternoon. UNLV scored first when T.J. White doubled off Doran in the third inning and Brandon Bayardi singled him home to make it 1-0.

The Aztecs were held hitless by UNLV starter John Richy through the first three innings before they got going in the fourth. A one-out walk to Muno got things started. Romanski then singled for the team's first hit. Singles by Ty France and Matt Munoz each drove in a run to give SDSU a 2-1 lead. The three singles represented the Aztecs' only hits until the ninth inning.

SDSU made two defensive mistakes in the sixth that led to three unearned runs, enabling UNLV to take a 4-2 lead. A walk and a single put runners at first an second with one out. An errant pickoff throw by catcher Romanski bounced in front of first baseman Muno and went down the right-field line allowing one run to score and the other runner to move to second. UNLV's Justin Jones then reached base (going all the way to second) on a fly ball misplayed by center fielder Greg Allen for an error. After a strikeout, the Rebels' Collin Yelich hit a two-run single to right field to give UNLV the two-run lead.

The Aztecs got one of the runs back in the seventh inning when Munoz reached on one error, moved to third on another error, then scored on Sheehan's sacrifice fly to center field to make it 4-3. SDSU got the potential tying run to third base, but couldn't get it in.

SDSU starter Ryan Doran pitched the first 5 2/3 innings for the SDSU, allowing one earned run with five strikeouts and one walk. Relievers Ethan Miller and Bubba Derby (2-1) finished up for the Aztecs.

SDSU hits the road now for a three-game series Thursday through Saturday at New Mexico, which shares first place in the conference with the Aztecs.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Aztecs' winning streak ends with 4-2 loss to UNLV

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- San Diego State couldn't take advantage of another fine performance by its starting pitcher, watching its four-game winning streak come to an end against UNLV in Saturday afternoon's 4-2 Mountain West Conference loss at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Aztecs junior right-hander Philip Walby (1-2) did not give up a hit through the game's first five innings and did not give up a run until the seventh. Walby allowed five hits and three earned runs with three strikeouts and three walks before Justin Hepner relieved him with one out in the ninth.

SDSU (11-12, 3-2) had six hits off three Rebels pitchers, managing single runs in the sixth and eighth innings. The Aztecs had their opportunities, but failed to convert in several situations. They left runners at second and third on three occasions and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position for the game.

Walby pitched to the minimum through five innings, walks in the second and fourth innings erased on double plays. He didn't allow his first hit until UNLV's T.J. white singled to left field leading off the sixth inning. But the Rebels (17-6, 2-3) turned a leadoff walk and a double in the seventh into a 2-1 lead. UNLV added an unearned run in the eighth and completed the scoring on Brandon Bayadi's home run leading off the ninth.

The Aztecs had several chances to grab control of the game, beginning with Greg Allen's single leading off the first. Allen moved to second base when teammate Jake Romanski walked. But a double play ended that threat.

In the fourth, Romanski doubled, Ryan Muno walked and they both moved up on a wild pitch. But UNLV got out of it on a short fly ball to right field and a strikeout.

SDSU finally broke through for a run in the sixth inning when Tim Zier led off with an infield single behind the second base bag, moved to second on a walk to Ty France and scored on Matt Munoz's double to left-center.

The Aztecs' lead was short-lived, however, with UNLV answering in the seventh. SDSU got one run back in the eighth, scoring on an infield out by Steven Pallares, but didn't do anything thereafter.

The teams conclude the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Aztecs open UNLV series with 5-3 victory

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- San Diego State third baseman Ty France has been struggling to get his batting average above .200 in the first month of the season, but a big hit Friday night against UNLV lifted from his shoulders whatever weight France was carrying around.

France singled up the middle in the eighth inning to drive in two runs and give the Aztecs a 5-3 Mountain West Conference victory over UNLV at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Freshman closer Bubba Derby retired the Rebels (16-6, 1-3) in order in the ninth to secure the win for SDSU (11-11, 3-1).

The Aztecs' rally began when Ryan Muno followed a one-out walk to Jake Romanski with a double to put runners at second and third. That set the stage for France. He came into the game batting .192 and was 0-for-3 before the single off UNLV reliever Tyler Iodence. While France's batting average may not be as robust as he would like, the freshman from West Covina has made the most of his hits. His 14 RBI shares the team lead with Tim Zier.

SDSU sophomore right-hander Michael Cederoth had another solid start, allowing just one earned run over 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. But, once again, Cederoth had little to show for it. The Aztecs had not scored in 15 straight innings with Cederoth on the mound during his two most recent starts. They tallied single runs in each of the first three innings against the Rebels to provide some run support. But two errors (including one on a throw by Cederoth) led to two unearned runs. He was relieved in the seventh by teammate Ethan Miller (3-0) after UNLV score to make it 3-3.

Muno went 3-for-4 with and RBI and two doubles in his return to the lineup. He had been sidelined the past month with a broken right hand. Muno doubled home the game's first run in the first inning.

UNLV scored twice in the second inning to take a 2-1 lead. SDSU's Avondre Bollar doubled home a run in the second inning to make it 2-2. SDSU regained the lead in the third inning when an infield out by Romanski scored Zier from third base.

The teams continue the three-game series Saturday at 2 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

This weekend: UNLV (16-5) at Aztecs (10-11)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — San Diego State returned home for the first time in 16 days with a 12-2 nonconference victory Tuesday night over Long Beach State. The Aztecs are hoping to carry some of that offense in this weekend's Mountain West Conference series against UNLV, which comes to town for three games at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Here's a look at the series:

UNLV RHP Erick Fedde (3-0, 2.25) vs. SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (1-3, 2.23), 6 p.m.

UNLV RHP Buddy Borden (2-1, 1.29) vs. SDSU RHP Philip Walby (1-1, 3.08), 2 p.m.

UNLV RHP John Richy (2-3, 4.26) vs. SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (3-2, 3.60), 1 p.m.

Nevada (2-1, 13-8)
San Diego State (2-1, 10-11)
New Mexico (2-1, 9-11)
UNLV (1-2, 9-11)
Air Force (1-2, 7-13)
Fresno State (1-2, 4-15)

SDSU leads the overall series 68-45 and has won 18 of the past 21 meetings, including a 15-9 victory in the 2012 Mountain West Tournament. The Aztecs won five of six meetings last year during conference play.

The Aztecs are optimistic that first baseman Ryan Muno will return against UNLV. Muno has been sidelined since the second week of the season when he broke his right hand in practice . ... Category leaders: Catcher Jake Romanski leads the team in batting average (.389), second baseman Tim Zier leads in RBI (14), third baseman Ty France leads in home runs (2) and center fielder Greg Allen in stolen bases (9). ... Danny Sheehan (.308), Muno (.308) and Allen (.303) are the other three players hitting over .300. ... SDSU has only three home runs as a team (Matt Muoz has the other one besides France), but the Aztecs have allowed only four homers. SDSU has been much more successful on the bases (32-of-42 in steals) compared to opponents (17-of-31). ... Freshman closer Bubba Derby is among the national leaders with five saves. ... Head coach Tony Gwynn picked up his 300th career victory against Long Beach State.

The Rebels, who defeated BYU 10-3 on Monday, lost two of three games last weekend at home to New Mexico in the opening weekend of conference play. The biggest weekend of the season so far was a three-game sweep at Stanford March 8-10. The Rebels are batting .308 as a team (opponents .235) and have a team ERA of 3.02 (opponents 5.56). .... UNLV is led by senior Mark Shannon, who is batting .386 with 17 RBI. Shannon also is among the team's top pitchers with a 3-0 record and 1.61 ERA. ... Five other players join Shannon batting over .300 with double figures in RBI, including Erik VanMeetren (.362, 15 RBI) and Justin Jones (.339, 15 RBI). ... Senior Andy Beresford (3-0, 0.84 ERA, 3 SV) has been solid out of the bullpen. ... UNLV plays across town at USD on Monday afternoon before heading back to Las Vegas.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Aztecs a hit at home in 12-2 win over Long Beach St.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Welcome home.

San Diego State played its first home game in 16 days on Tuesday night, banging out 17 hits while Aztecs starting pitcher Mike RoBards and two relievers took care of things on the mound in a 12-2 nonconference victory over Long Beach State at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

"We swung the bats good tonight. We're making progress," said SDSU head coach Tony Gwynn, who collected his 300th career victory with the win. "Tonight was just carryover from the weekend (when the team won two games at Fresno State). "Our pitching's been good. We just have to score some runs.

SDSU (10-11) scored early and often against Long Beach State (9-12), building a 10-1 lead through five innings. By the time it was over, eight of the nine players in SDSU's starting lineup had at least one hit and the Aztecs had reached season highs for hits and runs.

SDSU right fielder Steven Pallares had a game-high three RBI. Second baseman Tim Zier had a game-high four hits while left fielder Matt Munoz added three hits for the Aztecs. Zier, catcher Jake Romanski and third baseman Ty France each drove in two runs.

Romanski and France both had RBI singles in the first inning off Long Beach State starter Eddie Magallon (0-1) to stake the Aztecs to a 2-0 lead. SDSU added a run in the second inning on a single by Zier and a run in the third inning on a single by DH Danny Sheehan.

Long Beach State scored its first run in the fourth inning to make it 4-1, but the Aztecs came right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a single by right fielder Steven Pallares and an infield out my first baseman Mitch Bluman.

Four runs in the fifth inning expanded SDSU's lead to 10-1. A sacrifice fly by France and a single to center by Munoz scored the first two runs. Pallares brought home the last two runs with a double to left field. It was SDSU's 13th hit of the game and the only one for extra bases.

The Dirtbags picked up an unearned run in the sixth inning to make it 10-2. SDSU added a pair of runs in the eight on RBI singles by Zier and Romanski to complete the scoring.

RoBards (1-0), a sophomore left-hander from Oceanside High, pitched into the sixth for the Aztecs. He allowed eight hits and one earned run with three strikeouts and one walk before Sapp came on in relief to get the final out of the sixth. Sapp allowed just one hit over 2.1 innings. T.J. Kendzora closed out the Dirtbags in the ninth.

The Aztecs resume Mountain West Conference play this weekend when they play host to UNLV. The series begins Friday at 6:05 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Aztecs take series with 4-2 win over Fresno State

San Diego State got another strong start from senior right-hander Ryan Doran and shutout relief from Ethan Miller and Bubba Derby for a 4-2 victory Sunday at Fresno State, giving the Aztecs a Mountain West Conference series win on the opening weekend of conference play.

Doran (3-2) allowed eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk over six innings. He gave up single runs in the third and fourth innings, which Fresno State used to take an early 2-1 lead, but was otherwise in command. Miller pitched the seventh and eighth before handing the ball to Derby, who picked up his fifth save of the season.

The bullpen's shutdown performance made it meaningful when the Aztecs (9-11, 2-1) rallied over the final three innings against Fresno State (4-14, 1-2).

Greg Allen's third-inning single up the middle brought home the SDSU's first run of the game. The Aztecs added two more runs in the seventh off Fresno State starting pitcher William Munro (1-2) to take a 3-2 lead. Steven Pallares' RBI triple and Mitch Bluman's RBI single keyed the rally. The Aztecs added a run in the ninth when Jake Romanski was hit by a pitch to open the inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

SDSU returns home for Tuesday's game at 6 p.m. against Long Beach State. The Aztecs host UNLV for a three-game MWC series that begins Friday at Tony Gwynn Stadium.


  • New Mexico (8-10, 2-1) won two of three games at UNLV (15-5, 1-2), highlighted by Sunday's 12-7 victory in which third baseman DJ Peterson had two homers and eight RBI. Peterson now has 10 homers.
  • Air Force (6-12, 1-2) avoided a sweep at Nevada (13-7, 2-1) with Sunday's 7-3 win.
  • Next weekend: Fresno State is at Air Force and Nevada is at New Mexico.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bats come alive in Aztecs' 11-6 win at Fresno State

San Diego State didn't forget how to score during its recent six-game losing streak, although it almost seemed that way with the Aztecs totaling just eight runs during that stretch.

Good pitching beats good hitting, but c'mon.

On Friday night, the Aztecs made Fresno State starting pitcher Tyler Linehan look good, despite the 9.82 ERA with which he entered the game. Linehan pitched a complete-game shutout in his first start of the season.

SDSU made no such mistake Saturday night against Bulldogs starter Derick Velazquez, pounding the pitcher in an 11-6 Mountain West Conference victory at Fresno State's Beiden Field.

The Aztecs (8-11, 1-1) scored four runs in the first inning — the big blow a three-run homer by freshman third baseman Ty France — against Velazquez. The Bulldogs (4-13, 1-1) were into their bullpen by the fourth inning, Velazquez chased by eight hits and eight runs (six earned).

A three-run seventh inning capped the Aztecs' biggest offensive night of the season. SDSU finished with 13 hits in the game. DH Jake Romanski led the way, going 5-for-6 with three RBI and three runs scored. The performance boosted Romanski's team-high batting average to .400 (26-for-65). Second baseman Tim Zier added three hits and scored three runs. First baseman John Spirk had two hits, as did France, who finished with four RBI.

SDSU junior right-hander Philip Walby was not as effective as he had been in recent weeks, allowing four runs in four innings. Five walks is what hurt Walby, who was replaced by teammate Justin Hepner in the fifth. Hepner (1-1) allowed two runs on four hits over the next four innings before giving way to closer Bubba Derby in the ninth.

The teams conclude the three-game series Sunday at 1:05 p.m. SDSU senior right-hander Ryan Doran (2-2) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Aztecs.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fresno State edges Aztecs 1-0 in MWC opener

Sometimes the margin between winning and losing is razor thin.

Friday night's Mountain West opener between San Diego State and Fresno State is a prime example. The lone run in SDSU's 1-0 loss at Fresno State's Beiden Field came when the Bulldogs' Austin Wynns crossed the plate just moments before the third out was made by teammate Chris Mariscal at third base. Had Wynns dawdled down the third-base line, the teams might still be playing.

SDSU's Michael Cederoth and Fresno State's Tyler Linehan were locked in a pitching duel throughout the evening.

Cederoth (1-3) allowed eight hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks. He has surrendered just three runs in 15 innings over his last two starts, although the Aztecs have not scored when the sophomore right-hander has been in the game. Cederoth took the loss last week after going eight innings in a 2-0 defeat at Arkansas.

Linehan (1-3) had struggled in eight appearances out of the bullpen this season, coming into the game with a 9.82 ERA. Fresno State coach Mike Batesole must have sensed something in the junior left-hander because Linehan went out and scattered eight hits — two apiece by Greg Allen, Jake Romanski and Evan Potter — in his first start of the season. He struck out seven and walked two in the complete-game shutout.

SDSU (7-11, 0-1) never advanced a base runner past second base against the Bulldogs (4-12, 1-0), who were similarly struggling offensively into the sixth inning.

Cederoth was still in control in the sixth when he retired Fresno State's Trent Garrison on a grounder to first and Jordan Brink on a foul out to third for two quick outs. But then Wynns singled to right and Mariscal singled to left to put runners at first and second. Taylor Ward followed with a double to left that SDSU's Danny Sheehan tracked down and fired into teammate Ty France at third base. France tagged out Mariscal to end the inning, but not before Wynns had touched home plate.

The teams continue the three-game series Saturday at 6:35 p.m. Junior right-hander Philip Walby (1-1) is the scheduled starter on the mound for the Aztecs.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bring on the Mountain West: Aztecs at Fresno State

Change has been the only constant in the Mountain West Conference the past few years. And so it is again this season as MWC play opens this weekend.

TCU has followed BYU and Utah down the road. Fresno State and Nevada have arrived. There are now six baseball-playing members — Air Force, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV — who will all play three-game series home and away for a 30-game conference schedule.

The top four finishers in the regular season advance to the MWC Tournament, which will be played May 22-26 in Fresno. The tournament champion receives the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

SDSU opens conference play this weekend at Fresno State. Here are the game times and matchups:

SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (1-2, 2.49)
vs. Fresno St. LHP Tyler Linehan (0-3, 9.82), 6:35 p.m.

SDSU RHP Philip Walby (1-1, 2.01)
vs. Fresno St. RHP Derick Velazquez (1-1, 4.38), 6:35 p.m.

SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (2-2, 3.75)
vs. Fresno St. RHP Tim Borst (1-0, 3.74), 1:05 p.m.

Here's a glimpse at each team in the conference coming into MWC play (series dates with SDSU under logos):

at Colorado Springs,
April 12-14
at San Diego,
May 10-12
AIR FORCE (5-10)
glance: The Falcons find themselves at the top of the standings only when the teams are listed alphabetically. They have been overmatched in conference competition for more than a decade. Last year's five conference victories was their highest total in 10 seasons. And it did include two victories over SDSU, giving the Falcons the home series against the Aztecs. Air Force is batting a collective .275, led by Peter Johnson (.381, 10 RBI), Garrett Custons (.328, 7 RBI, 5 SB), David Baska (.320, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and Alex Bast (.303, 1 HR, 8 RBI). RHPs Cameron White (1-3, 2.35) and Steven Trojan (1-2, 4.22) have been the team's most effective starters.

at Fresno,
March 15-17
at SDSU,
April 26-28
glance: The Bulldogs have struggled in the early going and, like SDSU, enter conference play with a five-game losing streak. They were swept in last week's four-game series at Cal. Scoring has been difficult for Fresno State, which has not been shut out but is averaging just under four runs a game. The starting pitching has been the team's bright spot (see starters above), but with a team ERA of 5.36 it's evident that the Bulldogs' bullpen has not been keeping up its end of the bargain. OF Aaron Judge (.328, 3 HR, 12 RBI) is the only player in the starting lineup hitting above .300 on a Bulldogs squad that is batting .224 as a team. Judge also leads the team in homers — they have eight overall — and RBI. 1B Trent Garrison (.296, 7 RBI), C Austin Wynns (.213, 1 HR, 8 RBI), OF Taylor Ward (.180, 1 HR, 7 RBI) and 3B Kevin Viers (.149, 1 HR, 6 RBI) have been the other run producers.

at San Diego,
April 5-7
at Reno,
May 3-5
NEVADA (11-6)
glance: The Wolf Pack arrive following 12 seasons in the WAC, where last season they shared the conference title. They have won six of their past eight games, including three wins over Holy Cross in a series sweep two weeks ago. They split four games with Kansas to open the season and also took three of four against Northern Illinois. 3B Austin Byler (.410, 6 HR, 24 RBI) is crushing it. DH Brooks Klein (.369, 1 HR, 11 RBI), 1B Kewby Meyer (.368, 2 HR, 10 RBI) and OF Jamison Rowe (.259, 1 HR, 10 RBI) are other run-producers. With the offense averaging nearly seven runs a game it has overshadowed the pitching staff's 5.53 ERA. RHPs Bradley Shipley (2-0, 2.93) and Tyler Wells (3-0, 3.32) have been effective. So has LHP Michael Fain (2-0, 1.74, 5 SV, 9 app) in closing.

at Albuquerque,
March 28-30
at San Diego,
May 16-18
glance: The Lobos opened the season in the Top 25 and were selected in a preseason coaches poll as the favorite to win the MWC. A challenging preconference schedule — which included two losses in each series with Oklahoma State, Nebraska and UC Riverside as well as single losses to Oklahoma, Iowa and Arizona State — has New Mexico fighting to get to .500. The Lobos are still hitting .327 as a team. Leading the way is DJ Peterson (.476, 8 HR, 22 RBI), who has . Luke Campbell (.385, 1 HR, 18 RBI), Mitch Garvin (.364, 13 RBI) and Alex Allbritton (.286, 10 RBI) and Sam Haggerty (.320, 9 RBI) also have been productive for a team averaging nearly nine runs a game. New Mexico's difficulties have been trying to identify who can get the job done on the mound for a team with a 5.32 ERA. Reliever RHP Josh Walker (1-0, 1.89, 9 app) is the only pitcher with appreciable innings who has been effective. RHPs A.J. Carmen (1-0, 4.67) and Sam Wolff (1-2, 6.50) have each made four starts with mixed results. LHPs Will Mathis (0-4, 7.15, 9 app) and Kevin Baumgartner (0-3, 7.53, 5 app) are being counting upon and keep getting opportunities to get it together.

glance: The Aztecs have swept two series — against USD and Seton Hall — and been swept in two series — against Oregon State and Arkansas — in what they knew would be the most challenging part of the schedule. The pitching in general and the starting pitching (see rotation above) in particular has been SDSU's strength. If there is any concern it is that the Aztecs were limited to two or fewer runs in eight of the 10 losses, although they were facing two of the nation's better pitching staffs in those instances. Key cogs in the offense are CF Greg Allen (.314, 7 RBI, 6 SB), 2B Tim Zier (.235, 11 RBI, 5 SB), DH/C Brad Haynal (.250, 8 RBI) and C Jake Romanski (.345). 3B Ty France and LF Matt Munoz account for the team's only two home runs so far. The team is eager for the imminent return of 1B Ryan Muno (.308) from a broken right hand, although 1B John Spirk (.261, 6 RBI) has been productive in place of Muno. Standouts in the SDSU bullpen have been RHPs Ethan Miller (2-0, 2.12, 6 app), Justin Hepner (0-1, 3.48, 6 app) and Bubba Derby (1-1, 4.22, 4 SV, 7 app), the team's freshman closer.

at San Diego,
March 22-24
at Las Vegas,
April 19-21
UNLV (14-3)
glance: The Rebels are riding a 10-game winning streak that includes a three-game sweep at Stanford last weekend to boost the Rebs into the Top 25. UNLV is batting .309 as a team and has six players — OF Brandon Bayardi (.386, 1 HR, 11 RBI), DH Erik VanMeetren (.368, 10 RBI), OF Mark Shannon (.362, 11 RBI), 3B Joey Armstrong (.328, 11 RBI), 1B Justin Jones (.326, 12 RBI) and OF Joey Swanner (.310, 13 RBI) — with double-figure RBI totals. UNLV has been solid in the rotation with RHPs Shannon (2-0, 0.86), Erick Fedde (3-0, 2.25) and John Richy (2-2, 2.96) and in the bullpen with RHPs Andrew Beresford (3-0, 0.93, 2 SV, 6 app), Kenny Oakley (2-0, 1.00, 4 app) and Brady Zuniga (0-0, 3.12 ERA, 2 SV, 5 app). The team ERA is 2.45.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Aztecs fall 4-2 at UC Irvine

San Diego State took an early two-run lead Tuesday night at No. 25-ranked UC Irvine, but SDSU couldn't maintain the advantage in what became a 4-2 loss at Anteater Ballpark.

SDSU sophomore left-hander Mike RoBards got his first start of the season for the Aztecs. He allowed six hits and two runs over five innings with two strikeouts and two walks.

The Aztecs (7-10) took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Ty France's fielder's choice scored Jake Romanski from third base in the fourth for the game's first run. Romanski had doubled with one out and moved to third on Matt Munoz's single to right-center. Greg Allen accounted for the run in the fifth inning when he singled, moved to second on Tim Zier's single, stole third and scored on a passed ball.

UC Irvine (13-4) came back in the bottom of the fifth to make it 2-2. A bunt single by Mikey Duarte scored Grant Palmer, who had tripled, for the first run. Duarte moved to third on teammate Connor Spencer's double before scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Tyler Sapp (0-1) relieved RoBards in the sixth and got two quick outs before Irvine put together the go-ahead rally. Scott Gottschling hit a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on teammate Palmer's single to right field to give the Anteaters a 3-2 lead. The Anteaters added an insurance run in the eighth of Bryan Crabb.

Romanski and Allen each had two hits for SDSU.

The Aztecs return to action this weekend when they open Mountain West Conference play with a three-game series Friday at Fresno State.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Arkansas sweeps DH — and series — with Aztecs

San Diego State had to scratch and scrape for runs in the first two games of its four-game series at Arkansas. On Saturday, the Aztecs struggled much of the day just to get a hit in Fayetteville, Ark.

The No. 19-ranked Razorbacks won the first game of Saturday's doubleheader 8-2, with the Aztecs collecting just two hits at Baum Stadium. Arkansas defeated the Aztecs 4-1 in the second game. SDSU managed seven hits in that game, although, like the first game, the Aztecs required a ninth-inning run to avoid being shut out.

In the opener, SDSU (7-9) was still looking for its first hit through seven innings. Pinch hitter Mitch Bluman's one-out single in the eighth inning was the first hit for the Aztecs. SDSU's only other hit came on Tim Zier's single, which scored teammate Evan Potter to avert the Aztecs' second shutout of the series and fourth shutout of the season. Justin Gheorghe's infield groundout brought home SDSU's other run.

Arkansas starting pitcher Trey Killian (2-1) did not allow a base runner until he issued a four-pitch walk to Potter with two outs in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Zier reached on a throwing error to lead off the inning, but he was quickly erased when teammate John Spirk grounded into a doubleplay.

Killian struck out seven and walked one through seven before he was replaced by teammate Colby Suggs to start the eighth inning. Suggs retired Jake Romanski on a liner to left field to start the inning. Bluman then pinch hit for Ty France and singled to right field on a 3-1 pitch to break up the no-hitter.

SDSU starting pitcher Ryan Doran (2-2) allowed eight hits and three runs over the first five innings before Travis Pitcher relieved him. In the sixth, the Razorbacks expanded their lead to 8-0 when they scored three runs (two earned) off Pitcher and two more when he was replaced by Tyler Sapp.

Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn earned his 1,000th career victory with the win by the Razorbacks (11-5) in the first game of the doubleheader. Van Horn is the 65th coach to reach the milestone. Former SDSU head coach Jim Dietz (1,230-751-18) ranks 22nd in all-time coaching victories.

In the second game of the doubleheader, SDSU starting pitcher Ethan Miller had his finest outing of the season. Miller pitched six scoreless innings, allowing three hits with five strikeouts and one walk. The Aztecs turned to freshman closer Bubba Derby (1-1) in the seventh. Derby suffered through his first poor outing, allowing four runs on five hits in 1.1 innings to take the loss.

The Aztecs resume play Tuesday night with a game at UC Irvine before traveling to Fresno State for a three-game series to open Mountain West Conference play.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Arkansas HR provides 4-3 win over Aztecs

San Diego State played another tightly-contested game with No. 19-ranked Arkansas, but the Razorbacks prevailed 4-3 on Friday night with a walk-off homer by Joe Serrano with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning before a crowd of 3,375 in Fayetteville, Ark.

The Aztecs (7-7) were tied or had the lead up until the final swing. Left fielder Matt Munoz gave SDSU a 2-0 lead in the second inning with a two-run homer, the sophomore's first career home run. The Aztecs would load the bases later in the inning, but did not score again.

Arkansas (9-5) tied the game in the third inning when SDSU starting pitcher Philip Walby allowed a walk and a single, with both runners eventually scoring on a pair of wild pitches.

SDSU took a 3-2 lead in the fifth when Brad Haynal's double followed Tim Zier's single to put runners at second and third. Jake Romanski followed one out later with an RBI single. Arkansas made it 3-3 with a run in the seventh when Tyler Spoon singled off reliever Justin Hepner to bring home teammate Jacob Mahon.

Arkansas reliever Jalen Beeks (2-0) picked up the win in relief, limiting the Aztecs to one hit while striking out three over the final 2.2 innings. Evan Potter was the only SDSU player with more than one hit, collecting two of the Aztecs' seven hits.

Hepner came on in the seventh for Walby, who allowed six hits and three runs over 6.1 innings with four walks and three strikeouts. Hepner (0-1) pitched effectively into the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out two before Serrano got him for the home run. Hepner got a strikeout and a groundout in the ninth before Serrano's ball cleared the fence in left field at Baum Stadium.

The four-game series concludes Saturday with a doubleheader, necessitated because of poor weather predicted for Sunday. SDSU senior right-hander Ryan Doran (2-1) is the scheduled starter for the Aztecs in the first game. The starter for the second game has not been announced.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Arkansas edges Aztecs 2-0 in series opener

San Diego State sophomore right-hander Michael Cederoth was outstanding Thursday night at Arkansas, but the No. 16-ranked Razorbacks found a way to win in a 2-0 victory over the Aztecs in Fayetteville, Ark.

Cederoth (1-2) allowed just three hits, struck out a season-high seven and walked three over eight innings as he went the distance for SDSU.

The game hinged on two runs Arkansas scored in the third inning. A leadoff walk to Bret McAfee, who stole second, and a single by Jacob Mahan pu runners at the corners. Cederoth was on the verge of getting out of the inning unscathed when he struck out the next two batters. But a wild pitch allowed McAfee to score. Brian Anderson followed with an RBI double and that was that.

Arkansas (8-5) must have felt fortunate by game's end because after Anderson's hit Cederoth retired the next 16 batters he faced.

Unfortunately, the offense for SDSU (7-6) didn't provide any run support for its pitcher. The Aztecs were limited to six singles by three Arkansas pitchers. SDSU's best opportunity to score came in the third inning when they loaded the bases with one out. The threat was erased, however, when John Spirk grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Aztecs picked up just two hits after the third inning. No player had more than one hit in the game, although Jake Romanski (single, walk) and Evan Potter (two walks) both reached base twice.

The four-game series was to continue Friday afternoon at Arkansas' Baum Stadium with junior right-hander Philip Walby (1-1) on the mound for the Aztecs.

This Weekend: Aztecs (7-5) at Arkansas (7-5)

No trip, no opponent, no setting will test San Diego State more than what awaits the Aztecs this weekend.

SDSU travels into SEC country for four games against Arkansas, a team that reached the College World Series last season and opened this season ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Razorbacks play at Baum Stadium, where they averaged 7,924 fans a game last season. That ranked second only to LSU in average attendance.

"I don't know if you can prepare them for what we're going to go through," said SDSU coach Tony Gwynn. "SEC flavor, big crowds, hootin' and hollerin.' It's going to be tough for our guys to tune that out, but we'll see. ... "We don't get that environment very often on the West Coast, so you're going to be tested."

Arkansas is in the midst of a four-game losing streak after falling twice to Arizona State and once to Gonzaga and UOP at the Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise, Ariz., so the Razorbacks are expected to be extra focused coming into the series that begins Thursday evening in Fayetteville.

"They're going home and looking to get things back on track," said Gwynn. "For us, we have to put runs on the board and give our pitchers something to work with. If we can do that, I like the way we're playing."

This week's schedule (San Diego time), probable pitching matchups and other items of interest:

Thursday — SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (1-1, 2.60) vs. Arkansas LHP Colin Poche (1-0, 0.00), 3:05 p.m.

Friday — SDSU RHP Philip Walby (1-1, 1.12) vs. Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek (1-1, 2.84), 1:05 p.m.

Saturday (DH) — SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (2-1, 3.32) vs. Arkansas RHP Trey Killian (1-1, 1.29), 9:35 a.m. p.m.

SDSU TBA vs. Arkansas LHP Randall Fant (0-0, 2.25), TBA

Catchers Jake Romanski (5-of-14) and Brad Haynal (5-of-8) have cut down 10-of-22 would-be base stealers. Romanski is on a hot streak at the plate, batting .529 (9-for-17) in last week's five games. The senior's nine-game hitting streak leads the team. Sophomore center fielder Greg Allen has two four-hit games already this season. He leads the team in hits (18), runs (13) and stolen bases (5). First baseman John Spirk is batting .360 during a seven-game hitting streak. Spirk is batting .455 (5-for-11) with runners in scoring position, second on the team to second baseman Tim Zier's .467 (7-for-15). Freshman third baseman Ty France clubbed the team's only home run last week against Seton Hall.

Sophomore Michael Cederoth has recorded six strikeouts in each of his three starts. Junior Philip Walby lowered his ERA to 1.12 last week with five shutout innings against Seton Hall. Senior Ryan Doran picked up his second win after limiting the Pirates to two runs over 7.2 innings. Freshman closer Bubba Derby ranks among the national leaders with four saves. He has made six relief appearances, covering nine innings with 13 of the 27 outs recorded by strikeout.

— Arkansas dropped from No. 2 to No. 19 in the nation after losing four straight games last weekend. The Aztecs and Arkansas met last season at Tony Gwynn Stadium, with the Razorbacks winning three of the four games in the series.
— The Razorbacks are averaging .285 as a team, with an offense led by OF Tyler Spoon (.391, 2 HR, 15 RBI), Brian Anderson (.357, 7 RBI), Joe Serrano (.306, 5 RBI) and Jake Wise (.256, 9 RBI).
— The Arkansas pitching staff has a team ERA of 1.82, which ranks eighth in the nation. Junior Ryne Stanek is among the nation's top prospects after going 8-4 with a 2.82 ERA last season.
— SDSU remains on the road after returning from Arkansas, playing a Tuesday game at UC Irvine before opening Mountain West Conference play with a three-game series at Fresno State.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Aztecs complete sweep of Seton Hall with 6-2 win

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Senior right-hander Ryan Doran does not possess the velocity of teammates Michael Cederoth and Philip Walby, the starting pitchers who precede him on the mound each weekend. But Doran finds ways to be successful nonetheless.

Ryan Doran picks up
his second victory.
Doran kept Seton Hall off balance throughout the afternoon Sunday at Tony Gwynn Stadium, helping the Aztecs to a 6-2 victory and a sweep of the three-game series with the Pirates.

"We wanted to get back on track," said SDSU coach Tony Gwynn, whose team was swept at home in a four-game series last week against Oregon State. "I thought we did a better job competing. This weekend we were putting the bat on the ball. We weren't as anxious as we had been. We were much better."

Seton Hall (0-8), after losing the first two games of the series while still searching for the season's first win, went to the bullpen quickly. The Aztecs (7-5) loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning — on a single by Jake Romanski and walks to Brad Haynal and Ty France — and Seton Hall coach Rob Sheppard immediately replaced starting pitcher Jose Lopez (0-1).

Reliever Josh Prevost retired SDSU's Steven Pallares on an infield fly before Avondre Bollar hit a sacrifice fly to give the Aztecs a 1-0 lead. SDSU shortstop Evan Potter then lined a two-strike pitch over the head of Seton Hall left fielder Ryan Sullivan for a two-run double and a 3-0 lead.

Evan Potter's two-run
double provides big lift. 
It was a big hit for Potter, who came into the series just 1-for-25 on the season. The slow start prompted Gwynn to pull Potter aside earlier in the week and put the junior's mind at ease.

"Coach Gwynn talked to me and said 'Stop pressing,' " said Potter. "He said that I was going to be the everyday shortstop and just do what I do."

Potter collected three hits in Saturday's 10-4 win over the Pirates, and he was hoping he got enough of the ball in the second inning to add another hit.

"I was running down the first base line just muttering to myself, hoping it got over his head," said Potter. "When it did, it felt great."

The Aztecs boosted their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning when Greg Allen's single brought Pallares home from third base. SDSU would add two runs in the eighth inning, but it already was plenty of offense for Doran (2-1), who allowed two runs, scattered eight hits and struck out six with two walks over 7.2 innings.

Doran took charge from the first pitch, worked rapidly on the mound and responded each time the Pirates threatened to get back in the game.

"I have to do the little things right since I don't throw as hard," said Doran. "I know that pace of game is important, especially for my defense. ... It's easier pitching with a lead. You can get ahead of guys a lot easier when the offense is kicking in. You just go after them."

Doran allowed two hits in the second inning, then retired 10 straight hitters before walking Seton Hall's Alex Falconi with two outs in the fifth inning. Doran came right back and struck out D.J. Ruhlman to end the inning.

It appeared Seton Hall might make a game of it in the sixth inning when the Pirates' Zack Granite led off with a double and teammate Mike Genovese followed with a triple just inside the first-base bag to make it 4-1. A one-out walk to Giuseppe Papaccio put runners on the corners, but Doran picked off Papaccio moments later for the second out.

The play brought Sheppard down from the third base coaches box to argue with home plate umpire Ron Ridd. Sheppard was ejected after some discussion. When play resumed, Doran got Falconi to hit a foul popup to Romanski behind the plate that ended the inning.

"Ryan pitched great," said Gwynn. "He's not going to blow you away. He's just going to pitch. He worked both halves of the plate, mixed in his curveball and change-up and kept them off balance. ... He's a perfect Sunday guy because he's a strike thrower. When you throw strikes, guys are going to want to swing the bats. They outhit us today (nine hits to SDSU's six hits), but we made enough plays behind him and put enough runs on the board to get him a W."

Doran remained in control into the eighth inning before Seton Hall scored a two-out run that made it 4-2. At that point, the Aztcs turned to freshman closer Bubba Derby to get the final four outs. Derby struck out Papaccio looking to end the eighth. In the ninth, he got two quick outs before Seton Hall's Zack Weigel singled to left. No matter. Derby went right after Falconi and got a popup to the infield to end the gave and pick up his fourth save.

The Aztecs now embark on the most challenging road trip of the season. They open a four-game series Thursday at Arkansas, which opened the season as the top-ranked team in the nation.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Aztecs get offensive in 10-4 win over Seton Hall

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — San Diego State enjoyed its biggest offensive day of the season in Saturday afternoon's 10-4 victory over Seton Hall.

The Aztecs (6-5) tallied all 10 runs over the game's first five innings, scoring at least one run in each frame against the Pirates (0-7).

Ty France smacks
team's first homer.
SDSU's corner infielders made the biggest impact at the plate. First baseman John Spirk had two hits and three RBI and third baseman Ty France hit the team's first home run of the season and also had three RBI. Shortstop Evan Potter contibuted three of the team's 13 hits.

The offensive output was quite a contrast for SDSU junior right-hander Philip Walby, who pitched well for the third straight start. Walby was on the short end of a 2-0 score last week against Oregon State, though he allowed one earned run in 7.2 innings against the Beavers. Walby (1-1) went one better against Seton Hall, shutting out the Pirates over the game's first five innings. He allowed four hits, walked four and struck out two before handing the game over to the bullpen in the sixth inning.

The Aztecs opened the scoring in the first inning when Jake Romanski's single to left field scored teammate Greg Allen. SDSU chased Seton Hall starting pitcher Anthony Elia (0-1) during a four-run second inning highlighted by Spirk's two-run single. Tim Zier walked to force in the first run of the inning. Brad Haynal's sacrifice fly to center field brought home the run that made it 5-0.

Philip Walby lowers
his ERA to 1.12.
France's two-run home run to right field was the big blow in a three-run third inning that included an RBI single by Zier. The Aztecs added single runs in the fourth — on France's infield groundout — and fifth — on Spirk's single up the middle — to reach double figures. SDSU's highest-scoring game before Saturday had come in the Aztecs' 8-1 season-opening victory two weeks ago at USD.

Allen scored three runs for the second straight game and remains SDSU's top hitter at .370. Spirk's two hits boosted his average to .364. Romanski also had two hits and is now batting .343.

Seton Hall finally scored in the seventh inning off reliever Mitch Bluman. Tyler Sapp pitched a scoreless eighth before the Pirates collected three runs in the ninth against Cody Thompson.

The teams conclude the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Senior right-hander Ryan Doran (1-1, 3.97) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Aztecs.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Aztecs beat Seton Hall 4-3 on Haynal's hit (by pitch)

SDSU players sing the fight song following victory over Seton Hall.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The Aztecs sing the school's fight song in front of their dugout after each home victory. The team's first opportunity to do so this year came Friday night after DH Brad Haynal was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning, forcing home the winning run in SDSU's 4-3 victory over Seton Hall at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

SDSU (5-5) began the winning rally against Seton Hall (0-6) when Greg Allen opened the inning with a single to left field. Teammate Tim Zier followed with a single to right to put runners at the corners, so the Pirates intentionally walked John Spirk to load the bases. Haynal took it from there, taking one for the team from Pirates pitcher Brian Gilbert (0-2).

Freshman closer Bubba Derby (1-0) picked up his first collegiate victory. Derby had to work for it. In the ninth, he stranded runners at second and third when he struck out Seton Hall's Tyler Boyd to end the inning. An inning earlier, Derby had to give a tip of the cap to Allen, threw out Seton Hall's Kyle Grimm at the plate to prevent the Pirates from taking the lead.

It was senior first baseman Spirk, making the most of his opportunity to start, who sparked the Aztecs in the early going. Spirk drove in the Aztecs' first two runs with an infield single in the first inning and a sacrifice fly to center field in the third.

It wasn't as if Spirk was going to be buried on the bench this season, but it is safe to say his playing time was going to be limited. Then sophomore Ryan Muno, the Aztecs' starter at first base coming into the year, suffered a broken right hand one week into the season. That pressed Spirk into service, in a platoon with teammate Mitch Blumen. Spirk has responded by going 6-for-17 (.353) over the past seven games.

Seton Hall made it 2-1 with a run in the fifth, but the Aztecs got that back in the sixth when Allen singled home a run to make it 3-1.

SDSU starting pitcher Michael Cederoth was cruising at that point, but his pitches were adding up and he came out of the game with one out in the seventh. Seton Hall rallied for two runs after Cederoth departed to make it 3-3.

Reliever Mike RoBards walked the first two hitters he faced in the seventh to load the bases. RoBards got a strikeout for the inning's second out, then was replaced by teammate Ethan Miller, who allowed a run-scoring single and a walk that forced in another run.

Cederoth allowed five hits, was charged with two earned runs, struck out six and walked four in 6.1 innings. Derby allowed three hits in his two innings, with a walk and a strikeout.

Allen boosted his team-leading batting average to .372 with three hits. He also scored three runs and stole two bases.

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

This weekend: Seton Hall (0-5) at Aztecs (4-5)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — There may be a temptation to take Seton Hall lightly, given the Pirates' winless record to open the season. But two of the team's five losses came against one of the top-ranked teams in the nation — North Carolina — and the other three defeats were against a team — East Tennessee State — that is batting nearly .300 in the early going.

The Aztecs just put a five-game losing streak behind them with Wednesday's 7-4 win at Santa Clara, however, so they shouldn't exactly be looking past the Pirates — even if next week brings a four-game series at top-ranked Arkansas.

First things first. How about building a little momentum before heading into the heart of the SEC?

This week's schedule, probable pitching matchups and other items of interest:

Friday — Seton Hall  RHP Jon Prosinski (0-2, 6.00) vs. SDSU RHP Michael Cederoth (1-1, 2.45), 6 p.m.

Saturday — Seton Hall LHP Anthony Elia (0-0, 3.60) vs. SDSU RHP Philip Walby (0-1, 1.64), 1 p.m.

Sunday — Seton Hall TBA vs. SDSU RHP Ryan Doran (1-1, 3.97), 1 p.m.

Most of SDSU's offense has come from three players — catcher Brad Haynal (.351, 5 RBI), center fielder Greg Allen (.333, 5 RBI, 7 R) and second baseman Tim Zier (.263, 8 RBI). ... Senior first baseman John Spirk, given an opportunity after the injury to Ryan Muno (broken hand), has responded by going 5-for-14 (.357). ... Be nice to see SDSU get the running game going this weekend. The Aztecs have stolen just six bases (in 12 attempts) in nine games. ... Freshman Ty France earned the starting spot at third base with his defensive play, although France has four of the team's eight errors in the early going. His batting average has dipped to .194, but it's still early enough that three or four hits this weekend would give him a big boost. ... Word for the weekend: Relax.

Harding-throwing RHPs Michael Cederoth and Philip Walby put the Aztecs in position to win last week against Oregon State, but didn't receive any offensive support. Cederoth left after six innings trailing 2-1. Walby allowed one earned run against the Beavers over 7.2 innings, but took the tough loss in the 2-0 defeat. Senior RHP Ryan Doran pitched five shutout innings against Oregon State before tiring in the sixth, when he allowed three runs in what became a 5-0 loss. ... Senior RHP Ethan Miller picked up the win Wednesday against Santa Clara, pitching 4.1 innings of shutout relief.

— SDSU and Seton Hall have played just once, with the Aztecs losing 9-7 in a 1984 game at the Riverside Invitational.
— Seton Hall's Scott Kalamar (.333) and Chris Selden (.333) are the only players in the lineup batting  above .300. The Pirates' overall team batting average is .210.
— One difference between West Coast baseball compared to other areas of the country is the parks out west tend to play bigger in the west. This may explain why in SDSU's first nine games there has been just one home run (by Santa Clara) while Seton Hall's first five games have seen a total of 11 homers (three by the Pirates). 
— The first 500 fans at Friday's game will receive a Tony Gwynn Jr. replica jersey shirt.