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.