San Diego State's pitching has been outstanding this season, but what I'm most impressed with at the season's midpoint is the Aztecs' ability to rally for victories. It is a characteristic that has been noticeably absent in recent years.
— SDSU rallied for two runs in the ninth inning today at TCU for a 2-1 victory over the Horned Frogs. It was a huge win, allowing the Aztecs (18-9, 6-3 MWC) to take the series and control of the Mountain West Conference. TCU (15-9, 3-3), ranked No. 16 in the nation, has won the MWC regular season and tournament titles all three years since moving over from Conference USA. But the Aztecs took it to them, setting up a big rematch April 24-26 when TCU comes to Tony Gwynn Stadium.
— SDSU rallied for six runs in the ninth inning of a 10-6 victory at UCLA.
— The Aztecs scored runs in the eighth and ninth innings for a 9-8 win over Kansas.
— Cory Vaughn hit a three-run walkoff homer in the 10th inning of a 6-4 win over USD.
— SDSU scored seven runs in the eighth inning for an 8-7 win over Southern Utah.
The only game I recall SDSU coughing up a lead was in a 4-2 loss against BYU last week after Stephen Strasburg had staked the Aztecs to a 2-0 lead through seven innings. Strasburg has been outstanding, of course, but starters Tyler Lavigne, Jon Berger and Nate Solow also have pitched well. Relievers Kegan Sharp and James McLaughlin both have ERAs under 3.00. Closer Addison Reed's ERA is 0.87 and he already has eight saves (Royce Ring set the school record in 2002 with 17). The pitching staff's collective ERA is 3.44.
The pitching staff has kept SDSU in virtually every game. The big difference to me, though, is the Aztecs' ability to rally for victories. The key now is keeping it up. SDSU has struggled down the stretch each of the past two seasons when the hitters have stopped hitting. It's been 18 years since SDSU made its last postseason appearance. This is an NCAA Tournament team if the Aztecs avoid an offensive collapse this season.