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.