Sunday, April 28, 2013

Aztecs take series against Fresno State with 4-2 win

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — San Diego State took advantage of solid pitching and defense and timely hitting Sunday afternoon for a 4-2 Mountain West Conference victory over Fresno State that gave the Aztecs the series at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The victory enabled SDSU (22-21, 12-9) to move past UNLV (27-16, 11-10) into second place in the conference standings, five games back of first-place New Mexico (27-16, 17-4). Fresno State (14-27, 9-12) is tied for fourth with Nevada (9-12, 22-21). The top two teams in the regular season receive a first-round bye at the double-elimination MWC Tournament, which will be hosted May 22-26 by Fresno State.

The Aztecs took control early against the Bulldogs in the deciding game of the three-game series, building a 3-0 lead through four innings. SDSU opened the scoring in the second inning when Ty France's two-out double scored teammate Ryan Muno from first base. The Aztecs added two more runs in the fourth when Greg Allen and Tim Zier opened the inning with back-to-back singles and both eventually scored on wild pitches by Fresno State starting pitcher Tim Borst (1-2).

Fresno State made it a 3-2 game with single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings against SDSU junior right-hander Philip Walby. The Aztecs responded in the bottom of the sixth when Zier advanced to second on a two-base throwing error leading off the inning and later scored to make it 4-2 when Muno hit into a double play.

Walby (3-2) allowed two runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and three walks.

Freshman right-hander Tyler Sapp relieved Walby with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh and got out of the predicament with an inning-ending double play. On the play, Fresno State's Chris Mariscal hit a liner that SDSU shortstop Evan Potter dove to his right to snag and then flipped to Zier to double off the runner at second base.

The Aztecs escaped trouble again in the eighth inning with their defense. Right fielder Steven Pallares battled the sun before making a rolling catch at the warning track on a liner hit by Jordan Luplow. That saved a run. The Aztecs got out of the inning moment laters when Taylor Tempel hit a ball hard off the glove of France at third and ricocheted to Potter, who threw out Tempel at first base. Potter made another fine play in the ninth, ranging behind second base for a diving stop before throwing Brody Russell out at first.

SDSU sophomore left-hander Mike RoBards got the last out of the eighth and the first out of the ninth before freshman closer Bubba Derby came on to finish off the Bulldogs for his ninth save of the season.

The Aztecs return to the field Monday at 3 p.m. for a nonconference home game against the University of San Francisco before returning to the road for a three-game MWC series Friday-Sunday at Nevada.

New Mexico (17-4, 27-16)
San Diego State (12-9, 22-21)
UNLV (11-10, 27-16)
Fresno State (9-12, 14-27)
Nevada (9-12, 22-21)
Air Force (5-16, 12-30)

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