San Diego State blew open a close game with a seven-run eighth inning against UNLV tonight in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament on the way to a 12-1 win at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
The double-elimination tournament opened today with an upset, No. 6 seed Utah beating No. 3 seed BYU 2-1 in 10 innings.
That means the No. 5 seed Aztecs (38-19) will play No. 2 seed New Mexico, which received a first-round bye, on Wednesday at 1 p.m. (San Diego time) in one winner's bracket game and Utah will play top-seeded TCU in the other winner's bracket game. Also, BYU plays UNLV in an elimination game.
SDSU starter Tyler Lavigne (left) struggled early with his control against UNLV, but the junior right-hander allowed just one run and three hits over 7 2/3 innings. Lavigne (7-1) walked four and struck out eight.
Erik Castro, Cory Vaughn and Ryan O'Sullivan drove in two runs apiece for the Aztecs. Castro was 3-for-4, raising his team-high average to .395.
SDSU ace Stephen Strasburg (12-0, 1.34 ERA, 174 SO, 19 BB) is expected to start for the Aztecs against New Mexico. Strasburg pitched a shutout with 14 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the Lobos last month in Albuquerque.