San Diego State's offensive output was startling in the season-opening series against No. 11-ranked USD.
The Aztecs collected 45 hits and 37 runs in the three games(11-2 and 15-2 victories and a 17-11 loss). It didn't seem to matter who the Toreros put on the mound. It didn't seem to matter what the pitch was or where it was located. SDSU hit and hit and hit.
Most stunning was the pounding USD starters Brian Matusz, Josh Romanski and Matt Couch took. They allowed six, eight and 10 runs, respectively.
SDSU second baseman Garett Green has had the most impressive start, hitting .615 (8-for-13) with two homers and seven RBI. Returners Nick Romero and Troy Hanzawa and newcomers Cory Vaughn and Brett Tanos also have looked good at the plate, although everyone has hit up and down the lineup.
It's only three games, but you have to be impressed. USD coach Rich Hill sure is.
"This team is going to have a fun year," said Hill. "That is as good as a college lineup 1-4 (Tanos, Hanzawa, Romero, Green)as it gets. They've got a couple of those young guys in there, Vaughn and (Erik) Castro starts coming around. And then (Pat) Colwell and (Brandon) Glover. Offensively, those guys are scary.
"I've been very impressed with what Tony Gwynn and Mark Martinez have done with their hitters. Their approach has been very good."
Other observations over the weekend:
-- The Aztecs were struggling defensively behind the plate without starter Matt Parker, who is out for the season with a stress fractuce in his right ankle. Both Bubba Ruddy and Kevin Silvett were having problems blocking balls, and Ruddy was struggling simply to throw it back to the pitcher (he made an error that led to an unearned run in Saturday night's game when he threw it over Nate Solow's head). SDSU is already addressing the issue, trying Castro at catcher.
-- Vaughn hit a mammoth homer to straighaway center field in Saturday's afternoon game at USD, reminding people of the power his father Greg displayed when he hit 50 homers for the Padres in 1998.
-- Pitching is the primary concern for the Aztecs, but Stephen Strasburg was outstanding in Friday night's opener. That was to be expected. Even more encouraging was the efforts of Solow and J.R. Murphy, who combined on a three-hiter in Saturday night's win.
-- I don't believe the Toreros pitching staff has ever been hit this hard in three straight games during Hill's nine seasons as head coach. That's saying something when it's considered the Toreros have played some of the most demanding schedules in the nation the past few years. I also don't believe we'll see the staff hit so hard again this season. How could we? They'll be fine.
-- Not much to report yet on the newcomers USD will be counting on to support the offense. Freshman third baseman Victor Sanchez and outfielders Ryan Davis and Tony Strazzara each had two hits in the three games. First baseman James Meador was hitless.