Everything was going according to plan for San Diego State through the first half of today's Mountain West Conference Tournament game against UNLV. The Aztecs led by two runs, ace Michael Cederoth was on the mound and the Rebels were on the ropes at Fresno State's Beiden Field.
That's when the wheels fell off. The Rebels rallied for five runs in the fifth inning on the way to a 6-3 victory over SDSU. The third-seeded Aztecs (27-29) now must come out of the loser's bracket if they are to win the tournament title and the automatic NCAA Regionals berth that comes with it.
SDSU plays an elimination game Friday at 3 p.m. against the winner of the morning's elimination game between fourth-seeded Fresno State and fifth-seeded Nevada. Second-seeded UNLV plays top-seeded New Mexico, a 7-3 winner over Nevada on Thursday night. Fresno State eliminated Air Force with a 6-4 win in today's early game.
The Aztecs struck quickly against UNLV, scoring a run in the first inning when leadoff hitter Greg Allen doubled and scored on a single by teammate Tim Zier. SDSU made it 2-0 when Brad Haynal singled to bring teammate Ryan Muno home from second base.
Cederoth (3-8) yielded just three singles through the first four innings. But he allowed the first five hitters he faced in the fifth to reach base — the comeback punctuated by Brandon Bayardi's grand slam. Ethan Miller came on in the sixth to relieve Cederoth, who allowed seven hits in five innings with seve strikeouts and two walks.
Allen and Muno each had two hits apiece for SDSU, which collected just seven hits overall. Haynal had two RBI.
SDSU (27-29) w