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.

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