San Diego State rallied for eight runs in the eighth inning and an amazing 9-8 victory over Utah tonight in the Mountain West Conference Tournament at TCU's Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
SDSU advances to Friday night's MWC Tournament finals — one win away from an automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals — awaiting the winner of an elimination game between Utah and TCU. First pitch is 5 p.m. (San Diego time). Junior right-hander Tyler Lavigne, who beat UNLV in Tuesday's opener, has asked for the ball on two days' rest, and it appears he is going to get it. The leash on Lavigne will be short. The Aztecs want to win it here and now, even though they would have another crack at the title on Saturday in the double-elimination event if they come up short on Friday.
SDSU starting pitcher Jon Berger pitched four hitless innings tonight against Utah and got two quick outs in the fifth before running into trouble when the Utes scored five runs. Utah stretched its lead to 8-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth and it seemed the Aztecs' were on their way to another disappointing tournament finish.
Instead, SDSU mounted the biggest comeback of a season that has been full of them.
The Aztecs (40-19) sent 13 men to the plate in the eighth. Ryan O'Sullivan opened the inning with a single. When O'Sullivan's turn in the order came back around, he singled again to drive in two runs that made it 8-8. Pat Colwell followed with a double to left-center that gave the Aztecs the lead.
In the ninth, SDSU closer Addison Reed came on and retired the Utes without incident for his nation-leading 19th save in 19 opportunities.
SDSU reached the MWC Tournament finals each of the conference's first five years, but this is the first time the Aztecs have reached thefinals since 2004. SDSU won the inaugural MWC Tournament in 2000, although the MWC did not receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament that season and the Aztecs were shunned by the selection committee. SDSU has not been to an NCAA Regional since 1991.