Friday, March 6, 2009

SDSU beats USD 6-4 on Vaughn's walkoff HR in 10th

SDSU's Cory Vaughn hits a 1-2 curveball from USD closer A.J. Griffin for a three-run, walkoff homer in the 10th inning at Tony Gwynn Stadium that gives the Aztecs a 6-4 victory. It is the third straight victory over the Toreros (7-5) for SDSU (6-5), giving the Aztecs the season series between the teams.


The four-game series between No. 11-ranked USD (7-4) and San Diego State (5-5) continues today with the series moving to Tony Gwynn Stadium.

USD's Kyle Blair (1-0, 4.05 ERA, 17 SO, 8 BB in 13.1 IP) takes the mound against SDSU's Jon Berger (0-2, 4.61 ERA, 9 SO, 0 BB in 13.2 IP)

The Aztecs have won two games against USD this season, beating them 3-0 two weeks ago behind a two-hitter by Tyler Lavigne and 5-3 yesterday in a game highlighted by Stephen Strasburg's 18-strikeout performance.

SDSU has won 5 of the past 6 meetings between the teams, including taking 3 of 4 last season. USD had dominated the season before that, winning 9 of 11 games.

Berger defeated USD last year in his first start as an Aztec, pitching seven shutout innings in which he allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out three. It was quite a contrast to the rest of the season for Berger, who finished with a 2-7 record and an 8.54 ERA.

A late-arriving crowd will swell to 1,089 by mid-game.


2ND INNING — The Aztecs take a 1-0 lead in the second inning when freshman Jomel Torres (Eastlke High) singles in teammate Cory Vaughn from second base. Vaughn opened the inning with a walk and got into scoring position at second base on an infield out.

3RD INNING — Berger checks the Toreros without a hit through the first three innings. A two-out walk to James Meador in the first inning is the Toreros' only base runner to this point. The Aztecs make it 2-0 in the bottom of the inning when Vaughn lines a Blair fastball to center field to score teammate Pat Colwell from second base.

4TH INNING — USD comes to life. Steven Chatwood opens the inning with a walk, then Meador gets the Toreros' first hit with a single to center that just eludes SDSU shortstop Ryan O'Sullivan. A balk moves the runners to second and third. Sean Nicol had been showing bunt at the plate, but now he is allowed to swing away and lines a double to left field that makes it 2-2. Nicol advanced to third on an infield out and then scored when O'Sullivan dropped a a fly ball in short left-center that would have ended the inning. Left fielder Brandon Decker should have called O'Sullivan off and made the play. Instead, the ball falls and USD leads 3-2.

7TH INNING — A potential inning-ending double play goes awry for USD, allowing the Aztecs to score the tying run to make it 3-3. Decker hit a sharp grounder to second that led to a force of Colwell, but Nicol's throw to first got by Zach Walters and allowed Zach Baitt to come home with the tying run. USD closer A.J. Griffin is on the mound now for the Toreros, having replaced Blair with one out in the inning. It's Griffin's first appearance in more than a week after sitting out with mild shoulder tendinitis.

8TH/9TH INNINGS — SDSU's Keegan Sharp and Griffin keep both sides scoreless to send the game into extra innings.

10TH INNING — Meador leads off the inning with a walk, moves to second base on a wild pitch that gets away from catcher Chris Wilson and comes home on Nicol's single to right-center to give the Toreros a 4-3 lead. Nicol stole second and third, but was then caught in a run-down on a squeeze play that went awry with Chris Engell at the plate. Engell singled to center a few moments later.

Griffin comes out for his fourth inning of work and walks leadoff hitter Brandon Decker on four stright pitches. USD coach Rich Hill comes out to talk to Griffin and his infielders before Mitch Blackburn steps to the plate. Griffin then walks Blackburn on four straight pitches. Griffin recovers to strike out O'Sullivan looking for the first out. Up steps Cory Vaughn, who quicky finds himself in an 0-2 hole. Griffin misses just outside with his next pitch, then Vaughn jumps on an offspeed pitch and launches it over the fence in left-center for a game-winning three-run homer. It is the only hit allowed by Griffin in three-plus innings on the mound.

The 6-4 win is the third straight victory for SDSU (6-5) over the Toreros (7-5) this season.

The teams meet again Saturday at 1 p.m. at USD's Cunningham Stadium.

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