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March 22, 2011

One bad SDSU inning prevents MWC sweep

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Written by: Beau Bearden

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Jeff Lewis / Staff Photographer

Jeff Lewis / Staff Photographer

One inning.

If it wasn’t for one inning, the San Diego State baseball team would be undefeated in Mountain West Conference play.

But that was not the case after SDSU dropped the series finale against New Mexico, 6-4, on Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The Aztecs held a three-run lead heading into the top of the sixth inning, but that advantage quickly disappeared as the Lobos gained enough momentum to rally for five runs.

“An error started off the inning along with not throwing strikes and making plays,” junior outfielder Brandon Meredith said. “But we had plenty of missed opportunities on the offensive side, including many from myself.”

It wasn’t just the Aztecs who were unable to take advantage on offense, both teams combined for just four hits through 4.5 innings. But after putting three runs on the board in the fifth, SDSU struggled to continue its success.

The Lobos, on the other hand, were finally able to get to freshman starting pitcher Cole Swanson in the sixth. With a runner on first after a fielding error, New Mexico used a single and walk to load the bases. Then DJ Peterson doubled to left center to tie the contest at 3-3. The next two Lobo batters grounded out, but consecutive walks resulted in two more runs after Kyle Stiner singled up the middle.

New Mexico added another run in the eighth inning before the Aztecs began a comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth. SDSU was able to score once in the inning, but that was all.

On Saturday, the Aztecs nearly let a nine-run lead evaporate, but rallied with four runs in the bottom of the eighth to defeat New Mexico, 13-10.

“Coach (Tony Gwynn) was very disappointed in our play,” Meredith said about Saturday’s game. “But (he) was very pleased that we won the game. He shared that we need to keep scoring runs and stop sitting back on our lead.”

SDSU started the contest on the right track, scoring nine runs in the bottom of the first inning on seven hits, two walks and one error.

However, the Lobos mounted their comeback early on against starting pitcher Corey Black. The sophomore lasted just 3.2 innings after giving up four runs on seven hits, along with one walk and three strikeouts.

“I got very frustrated personally while I was on the mound yesterday because the Lobos had our signs, so they knew every pitch that was coming,” Black said. “Even though I cruised through the first couple innings, I started worrying about other things besides making my next pitch. Overall, it was good to see we can come back in the last couple innings.”

The other three relievers struggled as well. But after giving up two runs in the eighth inning, senior pitcher Craig Rasmussen settled down and tossed a shutout ninth to pick up the win.

On Friday, SDSU earned a 7-4 victory against New Mexico in both teams’ MWC season opener.

“It was good to get back on track,” freshman infielder Tim Zier said. “Coaches (have) stressed all week that it’s a new season and a new start. That everyone is 0-0 now.”

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Beau Bearden


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