Talk about a meltdown.
The San Diego State baseball team took to the field Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium looking to wrap up its second straight sweep of Mountain West rival UNLV.
It certainly appeared they would do just that, until a ninth-inning rally by the Rebels left both the Aztecs and their fans stunned, and on Senior Day, no less.
Appropriately enough, it was senior left fielder Chris Wilson who staked SDSU to its initial lead. In the third inning, freshman shortstop Matt Munoz doubled prior to Wilson’s seventh long ball of the season, which put the Aztecs up 2-0.
Sophomore second baseman Tim Zier helped add another run to SDSU’s total in the fourth when he brought Munoz home with an RBI double. In doing so, Zier extended his hitting streak to 20 games.
The Aztecs would score yet another run in the fifth when senior first baseman Jomel Torres walked with one out, was subsequently advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and was then driven in on an RBI single by junior first baseman John Spirk.
SDSU starter Ryan Doran was firing on all cylinders, and held UNLV to two runs throughout the course of eight innings. However, a leadoff ninth inning home run by Rebel Danny Higa would send him to the bench in favor of freshman Greg Allen, who made his second appearance as a pitcher after previously only playing as an outfielder.
After two walks and an error, the bases were loaded for UNLV with no outs. Sophomore lefty Mitch Bluman was brought in and delivered with a clutch strikeout before a sacrifice fly made it a 4-3 contest. Junior pitcher Ethan Miller then relieved Bluman, and the Rebels’ Trevor Kirk lifted a shallow fly ball to right field that was misplayed by Allen, allowing the tying run to score with runners on second and third.
UNLV’s Brandon Bayardi then delivered what would prove to be the game-winning hit, an RBI single that made it 5-4.
“It was a meltdown of epic proportions,” Channel 4’s Craig Elsten said. “This has to be demoralizing for this San Diego State squad.”
The Aztecs will resume play when they take on ninth-ranked Texas A&M at 4:35 p.m. on Friday in College Station, Texas.