Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NCAA releases latest RPI rankings

The NCAA released the RPI today, providing a glimpse at one of the components the selection committee uses to choose at-large teams and seed the bracket for the 64-team tournament.

San Diego State (28-17) checks in at No. 27 and is followed by USD (27-17) at No. 31.

The information was based on games played through Sunday.

North Carolina is No. 1. Georgia Tech, Rice, Cal State Fullerton and Miami round out the top 5.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Down the stretch they come

USD remains in control of its destiny in the West Coast Conference after taking two of three games in its weekend series against Portland. San Diego State, meanwhile, lost two of three to TCU and now will need to finish strong AND get some help if the Aztecs
are to finish among the top two teams in the Mountain West Conference (the top two earn first-round byes in the MWC Tournament).

USD has a first-place showdown at Loyola Marymount this weekend, then closes out the regular season by hosting USF. The key to all this will be how the Lions do against USD and Gonzaga in their final two series. By the way, Gonzaga holds the tiebreaker advantage over USD and would host the WCC Championship Series if both teams tie for first, or edge out the Toreros for the second berth in the series if both teams tie for second.

The Toreros are hoping to get sophomore right-hander Kyle Blair (biceps tendinitis) back for the series.

Plan B for USD to reach the postseason would be gaining an at-large berth. The Toreros still have nonconference games remaining against UC Riverside, Arizona State (two) and UC Irvine that would enhance their resume.

Here's the current standings and remaining conference schedule for the top four teams:

West Coast Conference standings
TEAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CONF . . . . OVERALL
USD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-5 . . . . . 27-17
Gonzaga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-5 . . . . . 28-13
Loyola Marymount . . . . . . . . . . 9-6 . . . . . 25-21
USF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-7 . . . . . . 22-22
Pepperdine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-8 . . . . . . 24-19
Saint Mary's . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-8 . . . . . . 25-20
Portland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-10 . . . . . 21-20
Santa Clara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-11 . . . . . 15-24

Remaining WCC series for top four teams:
Gonzaga — vs. Saint Mary's, vs. LMU
USD — at LMU, vs. USF
Loyola Marymount — vs. USD, at Gonzaga
USF — at USD, at Portland

WCC Championship Series (best-of-three)
Second-place team at first-place team May 22-24
(winner receives automatic berth to NCAA Tournament)

The Mountain West Conference race is a jumble, as usual, because of its unbalanced schedule and weather cancellations. New Mexico and BYU lost the last game of this weekend's series because of rain and TCU lost its entire series against Air Force two weeks ago. That means the standings will be determined by winning percentage once again.

The top two regular-season finishers receive a first-round bye to the MWC Tournament. There is still a road for the Aztecs to get one of those spots, but they will need to win all six of their remaining games and New Mexico or BYU would need to lose twice or TCU would need to lose four times.

SDSU also has positioned itself for an at-large berth if it doesn't win the MWC's automatic berth. The Aztecs have a four-game series at Santa Clara this weekend to regroup for the final two weeks. Their RPI is currently 27 and they likely need to win at least nine of their final 11 games to keep their RPI in at-large range.

Here's the current standings and remaining conference schedule for the top four teams:

Mountain West Conference standings
TEAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CONF . . . . OVERALL
New Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-6 . . . . . 31-12
BYU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-6 . . . . . . 24-16
TCU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-4 . . . . . . 27-12
San Diego State . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-8 . . . . . . 28-17
UNLV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-8 . . . . . . 22-21
Air Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-9 . . . . . . 14-26
Utah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-12 . . . . . 15-24

Remaining MWC games for top four teams:
New Mexico — UNLV, at Air Force
BYU — at TU, vs. UNLV
TCU — vs. BYU, vs. Utah, at UNLV
SDSU — at Utah, vs. Air Force

MWC Tournament
Double-elimination format May 19-23 at TCU
note: top two regular-season finishers receive first-round byes
(winner receives automatic berth to NCAA Tournament)

Friday, April 24, 2009

SDSU beats TCU 4-3


Stephen Strasburg (9-0) remains unbeaten in SDSU's 4-3 Mountain West Conference win over TCU before 3,072 at Tony Gwynn Stadium, the largest crowd ever to see a college baseball game at the school.

Strasburg struck out 14 and set SDSU single-season and career strikeout records, but also was touched for a three-run homer by the Horned Frogs' Bryan Holaday in the seventh inning that made it 4-3. Strasburg threw 121 pitches over seven innings, allowing four hits with one walk. He now has 135 strikeouts and 13 walks in 70.1 innings pitched this season.

SDSU closer Addison Reed got the game's final four outs, finishing off No. 16-ranked TCU (25-12, 6-4 MWC) for his national-leading 14th save.

SDSU's Brandon Decker led the offense with three hits and three RBI for the No. 19 Aztecs (28-15, 10-6 MWC).


1ST INNING — Strasburg comes out firing — striking out Corey Steglich, Taylor Featherston and Matt Carpenter to open the game. That still wasn't enough to get out of the inning, however. Carpenter reached base when the ball bounced high and rolled up the screen behind the plate. Strasburg got Chris Ellington to fly to left field to end the inning. A radar gun in the second row behind the plate gets two pitches at 100 mph in the first inning. He will be consistently 98-99 mph over the next several innings.

SDSU put two runners on with two outs, but Hoelscher got out of it when Cory Vaughn's sharp grounder was gloved by Featherston and turned into a force play at second base. SDSU leadoff hitter Pat Colwell lines a ball off the pitcher to open the bottom of the inning, but Hoelscher takes a few warmup pitches and seems no worse for it.

2ND INNING — Strasburg retires the side in order — getting Matt Curry on strikes. That strikeout is the 305th of Strasburg's career, breaking the SDSU record held by former teammate Bruce Billings.

Hoelscher can't find the strike zone when he returns to the mound, walking Mitch Blackburn (who moves to third on a wild pickoff throw) and Jomel Torres. Easton Gust then parachutes a single into short right-center to bring home Blackburn and make it 1-0. Ryan O'Sullivan strikes out, but then Coldwell walks to load the bases. Brandon Decker's single up the middle plates two, making it 3-0. It should be plenty of support for Strasburg, who hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his previous nine starts this season.

3RD INNING — Three up, three down, with a strikeout of Aaron Schultz mixed in between a couple of line outs.

The Aztecs get a couple of runners aboard, but don't make anything of it.

4TH INNING — Strasburg gets Featherston on strikes again, then gets Carpenter on a soft grounder to second. He took a perfect game into the seventh here against TCU last season. Any chance for perfection was eliminated when Carpenter reached on the first-inning strikeout/wild pitch. A no-hitter was still a possibility tonight before Chris Ellington chopped a one-out single between third and short. Shortstop O'Sullivan gloved the ball deep in the hole but his throw wasn't in time to prevent Ellington from being awarded a single. The inning ended with the next batter, Matt Vern, who became Strasburg's seventh strikeout victim.

Cory Vaughn chases strike three as the Aztecs strand two runners for the fourth straight innings.

5TH INNING — Curry strikes out before Bryan Holaday works a 1-2 count into TCU's first walk of the game. Strasburg then strikes out Jason Coats looking and Schultz swinging for his 10th strikeout of the game. It is the ninth time in 10 games that Strasburg has reached double-digit strikes (he had but six against UC Davis).

6TH INNING — Sterlich fouls off several two-strike pitches before fouling out to Meredith at first. Strasburg then strikes outs Featherston and Carpenter to end the inning. That gives him 12 strikeouts for the game and 133 for the season, tying his single-season record.

Decker singles in another run to make it 4-0. It seems like a huge advantage, but the Aztecs would need every bit of it soon enough.

7TH INNING — Ellington and Vern surprise Strasburg with a pair of singles, but the real shocker comes one out later when Holaday gets ahold of a 3-1 pitch and launches it over the left field wall for a three-run homer to make it 4-3. Strasburg is clearly perturbed with himself as Horned Frogs players circle the bases. He gets a new ball from plate umpire Bill Van Raaphorst, refocuses and then strikes out Coats swinging and Schultz looking to end the inning. The strikeout of Coats breaks his single-season strikeout record, not that it meant much to Strasburg at that point.

SDSU goes down in order in the seventh.

Strasburg is done for the game, with Andrew Leary coming on in relief in the eighth inning.

STRASBURG'S LINE — 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 14 SO

8TH INNING — Leary finds himself in a predicament when TCU puts runners at second and third with one out. But he strikes out Ellington for the second out, then issues an intentional walk to load the bases and hands the ball to closer Addison Reed, who returns the situation to Defcon 1 by striking out pinch hitter Jimmie Pharr to end the inning.

9TH INNING — Reed gets Holaday on a tapper to the mound, then strikes out Coats and Schultz to end the game.


The Stephen Strasburg phenomenon should reach new heights tonight with a record crowd expected at Tony Gwynn Stadium for the junior right-hander's Mountain West Conference start against TCU.

No. 19-ranked SDSU (27-15, MWC 9-6) is in fourth place in conference, just behind New Mexico (11-5) and BYU (10-6). TCU (6-3) is in the mix, although the Horned Frogs have played far fewer games because of a bye and having last weekend's series at Air Force snowed out.

No. 16-ranked TCU is scheduled to send sophomore Sean Hoelscher (2-1, 7.00 ERA) to the mound.

Strasburg (8-0, 1.28 ERA, 121 SO, 12 BB in 3.1 IP) makes his 10th start of the season. He is coming off a 1-0 complete-game victory at New Mexico last week that people were still talking about this week. I saw good story in SDSU's Daily Aztecs the other day that included some choice comments from New Mexico coach Ray Birmingham, who said, in part: “There’s a guy down in San Diego State rumored to be worth $25 million. When he comes down here, we’re going to make him look like 25 bucks.”

All Strasburg did was strike out 14 batters — including the last two of the game with a runner at third base.

After the game, Birmingham was complaining about Strasburg pumping his fist when the game ended.

It's called emotion, Coach.

Strasburg has a chance to reach a couple of SDSU milestones tonight against TCU. He needs just four strikeouts to pass former teammate Bruce Billings (304) for most career strikeouts. Strasburg needs 13Ks to break the single-season record of 133 he set last season.

Strasburg had 14 strikeouts in an 11-5 win at TCU four weeks ago.

The largest crowd ever to see a college game is expected tonight to see what Strasburg has in store.

On Thursday, San Diego State sold out of tickets for regular seating. The school's supply of standing room only and picnic area seats was exhausted today.

Here are the top 10 crowds at Tony Gwynn Stadium:
3,158 — New York Yankees 12, SDSU 3 (March 30, 1998, exhibition)
2,857 — Texas 9, SDSU 3 (Feb. 4, 2005)
2,353 — Texas 13, SDSU 5 (Feb. 5, 2005)
2,102 — SDSU 4, UNLV 3 (March 13, 2009)
2,032 — BYU 4, SDSU 2 (March 20, 2009)
1,788 — Utah 2, SDSU 1 (Apr. 27, 2002)
1,549 — SDSU 6, Utah 5 (Apr. 28, 2002)
1,509 — USD 8, SDSU 4 (Apr. 15, 2003)
1,507 — SDSU 5, UC Riverside 4 (Feb. 5, 2002)
1,491 — SDSU 7, Fresno State 4 (May 15, 1997)
1,446 — SDSU 5, New Mexico 3 (May 3, 1997)

Injuries continue to plague Toreros

USD took the field for today's West Coast Conference game against Portland glad to be home but with its numbers continue to dwindle.

The Toreros (25-16, 8-3 WCC) have managed to stay competitive this season despite a string of injuries that have tested their depth on the mound and in the field.

The latest setback was to third baseman Steven Chatwood, who suffered a broken leg Tuesday night at Cal State Fullerton when he slid into a wall just beyond the Titans dugout after making a catch on a foul fly. Chatwood, who was at third because starter Victor Sanchez is out for the year with a shoulder injury, has seen his season come to an end.

Tony Strazzara started at third today against the Pilots. Strazzara has played third before, but he looked shaky in the third inning when a chopper down the line got under his glove and led to a run for the Pilots (20-18, 4-8).

Freshman Jon Hotta was in center field for Zach Walters, who was inexplicably missing from the starting lineup.

Sophomore right-hander Matt Thomson is USD's Friday starter now, by virtue of injuries to sophomores Sammy Solis (herniated disk) and Kyle Blair (biceps tendinities). Junior A.J. Griffin has made some Friday starts, but was pressed into service at Fullerton and likely will be used later in the series. Senior Matt Couch also is a candidate to start, but it remains to be seen how Couch (shoulder) responds from the inning he threw against the Titans.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

USD's call to arms

Pitching injuries have hit USD especially hard, costing the Toreros their entire weekend rotation at various points this season.

USD opened the year with senior Matt Couch still mending from last year's Tommy John surgery. Sophomore Sammy Solis was lost three weeks into the season with a herniated disk. And sophomore Kyle Blair has been sidelined in recent weeks with biceps tendinitis.

Couch, who had a cortisone shot recently to ease shoulder pain, is expected to be back for this weekend's West Coast Conference series against Portland. Solis is out for the season. Blair is expected to rest for another week with the hope that things will have calmed down enough to return to the mound the first week of may at Loyola Marymount.

Junior right-handers A.J. Griffin (6-2, 3 SV, 3.10 ERA, 54 SO in 49.1 IP), an All-American as the Toreros' closer the past two years, and Matt Thomson (5-2, 4.91 ERA, 68 SO in 62.1 IP) have stepped into the breach, along with relievers Scott DeNault, Tyler Fick and Matt Hauser.

"Credit goes to A.J. and Thomson, who have really been willing to tax their arms," said USD coach Rich Hill.

Griffin, who today was selected USD's male Athlete of the Year, is nothing short of amazing. He emerged as the school's closer as a freshman two years ago and earned All-American recognition after going 6-2 with 11 saves in 34 appearances. He made 29 appearances last season, set a school record with 14 saves and earned a spot on the U.S. National team.

Hill toyed with the idea of using Griffin starting and relieving this season, but kept him in the 'pen until the injuries mounted and forced his hand. Griffin's pitch eight shutout innings in his first collegiate start, an 8-0 win at Rice that marked the turnaround for a team struggling to get over .500.

So, in fact, the injuries haven't all been a bad thing.

"A lot of creativity has been borne out of it," said Hill.

Sophomore Zach Walters has been a hitter in search of a position the past two years at USD. He bounced around the infield for more than a year before finding a home in center field after starter Kevin Muno suffered a broken hand at Rice earlier in the year. Walters has been so good that Muno may have to move to left field now when he's healthy next month.

USD may uncover some hidden pitching talent, too.

Toreros coaches recently asked position players to raise their hands if they were interested in taking the mound to show off their arms. Several players volunteered. A couple showed some promoise. Freshmen outfielders Bryan Haar and Austin Green may even get a chance to pitch in tonight's game at Cal State Fullerton. Hill was especially impressed with Green, who hit 90 mph with his fastball and showed a good curve.

I knew Green had a strong arm (he put it on display from right field two years ago at the San Diego Showcase, a local high school event hosted that year by USD), so it will be interesting to see what he can do on the mound.

USD (25-15) has battled through the injuries and still has an opportunity to make this a memorable season. Despite losing series at Gonzaga and Saint Mary's the past two weekends, the Toreros are tied with LMU atop the WCC standings at 8-4. The top two teams in the regular season play for the conference's automatic NCAA Regionals berth. USD, with an RPI that is still in the 20s, also could be in line for an at-large berth.

Monday, April 20, 2009

MWC awards 2010-11 tournaments to SDSU

The Mountain West Conference today announced that hosting rights for the 2010 and 2011 baseball tournaments have been awarded to San Diego State. The six-team, double-elimination tournaments will be held at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The MWC Tournament champion receives the conference's automatic NCAA Regionals berth.

SDSU, which hosted the 2001 tournament, will host the 2010 event May 25-29 (Tuesday-Saturday). This year's tournament will be played at TCU for the second straight year. BYU, New Mexico, UNLV and Utah also have served as host sites for the tournament.

TCU is the three-time defending tournament champion.

Aztecs No. 19 in latest Baseball America rankings

San Diego State dropped to No. 19 in the Baseball America Top 25 rankings released today.

UC Irvine (26-10) ascended to No. 1 in the rankings for the first time in school history on the strength of a three-game sweep of UC Riverside. A midweek loss at USD wasn't held against the Anteaters.

The Aztecs were ranked No. 15 a week ago, but a midweek loss to UCLA and two losses in three games at New Mexico cost the club four spots in the rankings.

SDSU (26-15) plays Long Beach State at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Tony Gwynn Stadium before playing host to Mountain West Conference rival TCU in a crucial three-game series this weekend. The Aztecs won two-of-three games between the games at TCU last month.

The Aztecs are in fourth place in the MWC with a 9-6 record. New Mexico and BYU are 10-5 and TCU is 6-3. The Horned Frogs had their entire three-game series against Air Force cancelled over the weekend by snow and the games will not be made up. That means the MWC regular season champion will have to be determined by winning percentage since conference teams will not play the same number of games.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Strasburg slams door on New Mexico in 1-0 win


San Diego State's Stephen Strasburg (8-0) pitched a six-hit shutout for a 1-0 Mountain West Conference road win over New Mexico. Freshman Brandon Meredith's solo home run in the fourth inning for the Aztecs provides all the offense in the game. Strasburg makes it hold up with his first complete game of the season, striking out 14 while allowing just one walk. It is the first shutout of the season for the Lobos, who were averaging 9.9 runs a game.

The victory gives No. 15-ranked SDSU (26-13, 9-4 MWC) sole possession of first place in the conference over New Mexico (28-11, 8-5).

Things got tense in the late innings. The Aztecs threw out a runner at the plate to end the eighth inning. Strasburg, who threw nearly 130 pitches, stranded a runner at third base in both the fifth and ninth innings. New Mexico moved a runner to third with one out in the ninth, but Strasburg struck out the next two hitters to end the game.

Strasburg now leads the nation with 121 strikeouts and strikeouts/nine innings with 17.19 (the national record is 16.8 by Houston's Ryan Wagner). He is also among the nation's leaders in victories (8) and ERA (1.28). He moved into second place on SDSU's career strikeouts list with 301 (Bruce Billings is the leader with 304) and is approaching the single-season strikeout record he set last season with 133.

Something else to ponder: Strasburg has four more regular-season starts plus one start in the MWC Tournament and remains on pace to become the 16th pitcher in NCAA history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. He would accomplish the feat in 14 appearances. No one else on the list did it in fewer than 19 appearances.

Strasburg's next start is Friday, April 24, vs. TCU at Tony Gwynn Stadium.


No. 15-ranked San Diego State travels to New Mexico for a first-place showdown with the Lobos, who sit atop the Mountain West Conference with the Aztecs. Both teams are 8-4 in the MWC coming into the three-game series in Albuquerque.

SDSU junior right-hander Stephen Strasburg (7-0, 1.49 ERA, 107 SO/11 BB in 54.1 IP) makes his ninth start of the season. New Mexico was the only MWC to avoid Strasburg last season. He missed his start against the Lobos with a cold that became a severe inner ear infection. It preceded his breakout game the following week when he struck out 23 batters against Utah.

Still weary from last week's roadtrip to Las Vegas (and wearing a barrel after dropping $31 in video poker), the blog will follow the game from our home offices in Santaluz (four miles north of the Ted Williams Parkway as the crow flies). Our vast network of information sources will be monitored for developments as they develop.

The teams take the field on a cold, misty evening with the temperature in the 40s.


1ST INNING — New Mexico strting pitcher John Hesketh retires the Aztecs in order to start the game. Strasburg takes the mound and immediately strikes out leadoff hitter Mike Brownstein looking, then gets Max Willett swinging (catcher Erik Castro throws down to first to get the putout) and Ryan Honeycutt on a fly to left.

One thing I've noticed in recent weeks is that Strasburg has gotten several strikeouts on wild pitches, including one last week at UNLV in which Ryan Thornton reached first base when the ball got past Castro. With teams trying to jump on Strasburg's fastball early the past couple of outings, he has switched to offspeed pitches and his curveball has made a few batters look silly. So much so that he's gotten strikeouts on balls bouncing in the dirt in front of the plate.

2ND INNING — The Aztecs get Cory Vaughn and Castro to second and third with one out, but can't get them home when Easton Gust grounds out Mitch Blackburn flies out. New Mexico's Rafael Neda singles off Strasburg to open the bottom of the inning. The Lobos have something going one out later when an error by Gust gives them runners at first and second. SDSU shortstop Ryan O'Sullivan helps Strasburg get out of it, catching a popup before turning a ground ball into the third out of the inning.

3RD INNING — SDSU goes down in order again. Meanwhile, Strasburg allows the leadoff hitter to reach base again, this time with a walk to Daniel Gonzalez. Gonzalez is sacrificed to second base before Willett strikes out. Honeycutt singles to put corners at the corners, but Neda strikes out (with Castro throwing down to first base for the putout).

4TH INNING — Brandon Meredith's leadoff homer to left field finally gives Strasburg a run to work with. It is the third homer of the season for the freshman from Montgomery High, who came into the game batting .289. Hesketh strands two runners later in the inning to prevent further damage. Strasburg strikes out Dane Hamilton to open the bottom of the inning before Brian Cavazos-Galvez singles to center. But Castro erases Cavazos-Galvez quicker than you can say his name on a steal attempt and Strasburg gets Justin Howard on a gronder to short to end the inning.

5TH INNING — SDSU is retired in order for the third time in five innings. Hesketh is pithing a heckuva game. He just picked the wrong day to do it. Perhaps a glimpse of hope for New Mexico when Adam Courcha leads off with a triple. Not to worry. Courcha is left standing around when Strasburg gets a grounder to third base for one and retires the next two batters on strikeouts. Willett ends the innings with is third strikeout of the game.

6TH INNING — Meredith and Castro open the inning with a walk and single, respectively, but are stranded when Hesketh sets down the next three hitters in order. Strasburg must have his curveball working again. Honeycutt strikes out leading off and for the third time Castro has to throw down to Meredith at first base for the putout. Neda then grounds out to second base before Hamilton strikes out looking. Strasburg has nine strikeouts and will return to the mound looking for his eighth double-digit strikeout game in nine starts.

7TH INNING — Pat Colwell's two-out double puts a runner in scoring position, but Brandon Decker follows with a flyout and the threat ends. Strasburg comes out with his strongest inning of the game — striking out Cavazos-Galvez, Howard and Courcha all swinging. That's 12 strikeouts for the game, 119 strikeouts for the season and 299 strikeouts career for Strasburg, who ties Mike Erb (1985-87) for second place on SDSU's all-time strikeout list.

Strasburg opened the season listed No. 15 on the school's career strikeout list. Former teammate Bruce Billings (2004-07) is the only one ahead of Strsburg now at 304. Enjoy it for another week, Bruce. Or another two innings? Craig Elsten on the Aztecs' internet broadcast has Strasburg at 96 pitches through seven innings.

Strasburg set SDSU's single-season strikeout record last season with 133. He is positioned to break that with next week's home start against TCU. Strasburg struck out 14 against the Horned Frogs at TCU three weeks ago.

8TH INNING — New Mexico employs a different method of retiring the Aztecs in order for the fourth time, using three different relievers to get the three outs. In the bottom of the inning, Gonzalez leads off with a single to right and nearly gets picked off after rounding hard when Vaughn throws behind him at first. Brownstein sacrifices Gonzalez to second to put the tying run 180 feet away. But pinch hitter Kevin Atkinson's grounder to third freezes the runner as the Aztecs get the second out. Honeycutt strokes a 2-2 pitch to left field for a single. On the internet broadcast, Craig Elsten says Decker fields the ball before Gonzalez rounds third. But Gonzalez is waved to the plate, anyway. Decker's throw is so fr ahed of Gonzalez that Castro could have enjoyed some peanuts and Cracker Jack before easily making the tag to end the inning.

9TH INNING — The Aztecs don't make anything of a two-out walk, trusting a 1-0 lead to their All-American. Strasburg returns with a complete-game shutout on his mind. Neda leads off with a single to left field before pinch runner Cameron Monger is sacrificed to second. Monger then surprises the Aztecs by stealing third base. SDSU brings the infield in. Strasburg takes care of Cavazos-Galvez himself with a strikeout, his 13th of the game and 300th of his career. Strasburg gets two quick strikes on Howard, then wastes a slider outside for a ball. Strasburg's next pitch is a strike that Howard can't handle and the game is over.

STRSBURG'S LINE — 9 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 14 SO (121 SO/12 BB in 63.1 IP this season with a 1.28 ERA)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Toreros get boost by beating No. 3 UC Irvine

The bitter taste from USD's series loss at Gonzaga over the weekend was washed away today with a 7-4 victory over No. 3-ranked UC Irvine at Cunningham Stadium.

USD catcher Nick McCoy got things started for the Toreros with a home run leading off the second inning. Teammate Chris Engell added three hits and Steven Chatwood had two RBI.

On the mound, USD's Matt Hauser (1-1) picked up his first win in relief of starter Scott DeNault. Darrin Campbell closed out the Anteaters for his first save.

It is an important midweek win for the Toreros, who are trying to build their resume for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament should an automatic berth escape them. Irvine (23-10) came into the game with an RPI of 7. USD (24-13) had an RPI of 24.

The teams meet again May 12 at Irvine.

A postseason get together is forecast in Baseball America's projected Field of 64 posted online today. BA's Aaron Fitt has UC Irvine hosting a first-round regional that includes USD, USC and Canisius.

The same article has San Diego State reaching the postseason and going to a regional host by Cal State Fullerton that includes Boston College and defending national champion Fresno State. In fact, the Mountain West Conference is projected to have an unprecedented three Regionals teams, with TCU and New Mexico joining the Aztecs. The MWC has never had more than one team — its tournament champion — selected.

We'll See.

The No. 15-ranked Aztecs (25-13) can expect to see their RPI — which was 25 — slip after tonight's 7-3 home loss to UCLA (14-19). SDSU had its biggest rally of the season last month at UCLA, scoring six runs in the ninth inning for a 10-6 win. UCLA — with an RPI of 98 — rallied tonight with five runs in the eighth to overcome the Aztecs.

UCLA's Gavin Brooks (Rancho Buena Vista) came on in the ninth inning closed out the game.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Aztecs rise to No. 15 in the nation

San Diego State moved up three spots today to No. 15 in the nation in Baseball America's newest Top 25 rankings.

The uptick came on the strength of last week's 3-1 record, which included a midweek win at Long Beach State and a Mountain West Conference series win at UNLV, where the Aztecs (25-12) won two of three games.

MWC rival TCU is right behind SDSU at No. 16 in the rankings.

USD (23-13), which was ranked No. 25 last week, fell out of the rankings after losing two or three games in the Toreros' West Coast Conference series at Gonzaga over the weekend. The Bulldogs jumped into the rankings for the first time in school history, debuting at No. 22.

LSU took over the top spot in the rankings after winning two of three games at SEC rival Alabama. The Tigers replace Arizona State, which fell to No. 4 after losing a midweek series to Arkansas.

The top 25 rankings include seven West Coast teams — No. 3 UC Irvine, No. 4 ASU, No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, No. 14 Oregon State, No. 15 SDSU, No. 18 Cal Poly, No. 22 Gonzaga — and TCU.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Aztecs, Toreros in good standing

It's way too early to count chickens, but San Diego State and USD are well positioned to reach the postseason. Both SDSU and USD share first place in their respective conferences as the season turns toward the home stretch.

The Aztecs took two of three at UNLV and are tied with New Mexico, with a showdown looming this weekend in Albuquerque. USD lost two of three over the weekend at Gonzaga, which could come back to bite the Toreros if the teams tie for the regular season championship. The series winner hosts the WCC Championship Series.

Both teams can secure automatic berths by winning their conference's postseason events. Plan B would be an at-large berth, which also seems within the realm of possibility (although it would be the first ever for a MWC team). Strong RPIs, overall record and record in their last 10 games are among the keys to at-large selection.

SDSU's RPI was as high as ninth earlier in the season after winning two of three at TCU — according to RPIs modeled by boydsworld.com. The Aztecs' RPI sits at 27 now and will drop some — call it the curse of the MWC — with series remaining against New Mexico (65), Utah (123) and Air Force (266). Only TCU (7) is ahead of SDSU in RPI among conference foes.

USD's RPI is at 25, with conference series remaining against Loyola Marymount (67), USF (103), Saint Mary's (115) and Portland (184).

Best-case scenario: Both teams reach the postseason and SDSU hosts a first-round NCAA Regional. The Aztecs are expected to make a host bid. They would have to play themselves into position to be at least a No. 2 seed to host one of 16 four-team regionals. The West is expected to get three and perhaps four regional sites. Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, Stanford and Oregon State are other West Coast schools that could be in position to bid and host. SDSU was the site for a regional in 2007 that was hosted by USD.

Perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves here, though. There's still a lot of baseball to be played before the postseason arrives.

Mountain West Conference standings
TEAM                                           CONF   OVERALL
San Diego State . . . . . . . . . . . .   8-4       25-12
New Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8-4       28-8
TCU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6-3       22-10
BYU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7-5       20-13
UNLV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5-7       16-18
Utah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3-9       13-18
Air Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2-7       11-22

SDSU's remaining MWC games
April 17-19 at New Mexico
April 24-26 vs. TCU
May 8-10 vs. Air Force
May 14-16 at Utah

MWC Tournament
Double-elimination format May 19-23 at TCU
note: top two regular-season finishers receive first-round byes
(winner receives automatic berth to NCAA Tournament)

West Coast Conference standings
TEAM                                         CONF     OVERALL
USD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7-2          23-13
Loyola Marymount . . . . . . . . . . 7-2          22-15
Gonzaga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-3           23-10
Pepperdine . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4-5          20-13
USF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4-5          16-20
Saint Mary's . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3-6          19-17
Santa Clara . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3-6          13-17
Portland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2-7          17-16

USD's remaining WCC games
April 17-19 at Saint Mary's
April 24-26 vs. Portland
May 1-3 at Loyola Marymount
May 8-9 vs. USF

WCC Championship Series (best-of-three)
Second-place team at first-place team May 22-24
(winner receives automatic berth to NCAA Tournament)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strasburg, offense lead SDSU past UNLV 15-4


LAS VEGAS — San Diego State's Stephen Strasburg (7-0) remains unbeaten, striking out 13 in the Aztecs' 15-4 win over UNLV in the opener of a three-game Mountain West Conference series. Strasburg increases his nation-leading strikeout total to 107 in a six-inning effort in which he allowed one earned run.

No. 18-ranked SDSU (24-11, 7-3 MWC) continues its offensive surge, collecting 15 hits against the Rebels (15-17, 4-6). SDSU catcher Erik Castro hit a three-run homer and had a game-high five RBI and teammates Easton Gust and Ryan O'Sullivan each collected three hits for the Aztecs.


LAS VEGAS — I thought they had a flyover for the national anthem, but I've never seen a 747 used for a flyover. No, we're in the flight path of McCarron International Airport. Nonstop landings. And it seems they use Earl E. Wilson Stadium here to line themselves up for landings. Will there be more pitches or planes tonight? It will definitely be close.

Anyway, San Diego State is here for a three-game Mountain West Conference series against UNLV. The No. 18-ranked Aztecs (23-11, 6-3 MWC) are tied atop the conference with TCU. UNLV (15-16, 4-5) has struggled ever since being swept by SDSU four weeks ago in the opening series of conference play.

SDSU's Stephen Strasburg (6-0) makes his eighth start of the season. Strasburg has a 1.49 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 10 walks in 48.1 innings pitched.

The game time temperature is pleasant enough at 62 degrees (it's expected to drop to 54), but a strong southwest wind is blowing from behind the stadium and out to center field.


1ST INNING — Brandon Meredith reaches on a two-out error, but Erik Castro strikes out to end any opportunity of mounting a threat.

Strasburg starts UNLV leadoff hitter J.J. Sferra with a strike, but then Sferra parachutes a single into short left field. Teammate Bryan Resnick sacrifices Sferra over to second with a bunt down the first base line. Strasburg then registers his first strikeout of the game, getting Jarred Frierson with a curveball. Strasburg goes 3-2 to Ryan Thornton (seemingly squeezed on ball three by plate umpire Jason Rogers), but gets Thornton looking at strike three on an inside fastball to end the inning.

2ND INNING — SDSU's Josh Chasse doubles just inside the third base bag off UNLV starting pitcher Jeff Urlaub, scoring teammate Mitch Blackburn with the game's first run. Blackburn led off the inning with a walk and moved down to second on an error. Easton Gust's single up the middle and Ryan O'Sullivan's double to right-center score two more runs to make it 3-0. It's a substantial lead, considering Strasburg hasn't given up more than two runs in any of his starts this season.

First-pitch swinging works wonders as UNLV's Rance Roundy singles and teammate Brian Gilbertson follows with a run-scoring double to make it 3-1. Strasburg restores order thereafter, sandwiching an infield out around two strikeouts to retire the side without further damage.

I've seen Strasburg's fastball touch 97 mph on one of the radar guns here, but he's using far more curves and sliders tonight than earlier in the season. Changing his approach is no surprise, really, given that UNLV saw Strasburg just four weeks ago.

3RD INNING — The Aztecs strand runners at first and third.

Strasburg starts bring more heat, making his other pitches even more effective. He strikes out Sferra on a ball in the dirt and gets Resnick looking. It is Strasburg's 100th strikeout of the season. Frierson throws his bat at a ball that he pokes up the middle for a single. Frierson is erased stealing a few moments later on a throw by catcher Erik Castro that arrives a few minutes before the runner.

4TH INNING — One of the things impressive about SDSU's offense this season is that the players have put the pressure on the opposition. It's been the other way around much of the time in recent years. It pays off here as Gust and O'Sullivan reach with singles and Pat Colwell follows with a good bunt down the first-base line. Just put the all in play and make them make a play. Urlaub overthrows first base, Gust scores, O'Sullivan moves to third and then he, too, scores on a sacrifice fly to right field by Meredith. Colwell then steals second and scores on Castro's single to center. It's 6-1 Aztecs and Urlaub's day is done.

Roundy gets a two-strike single off Strasburg with one out. A strikeout and a fly out make it moot.

5TH INNING — The Aztecs put two runs on against reliever Corey Hales, who gives way to Justin Baca, whogives up two RBI singles and a three-run homer to Castro. Castro lifted the ball into the air in right-center and let the jet stream do the rest for his seventh home run of the season.

I'm wondering if Strasburg will be taken out of his rhythm after sitting in the dugout so long at the top if the inning, but he strikes out Anthony Morel looking to open the inning. Chad Claus then bunts down the third-base line for a base hit and Sferra follows with a sharp single. But Resnick strikes out looking and Frierson strikes out swinging and that is that. The Frierson strikeout is Strasburg's 10th of the game, giving him double-digit strikeouts for the seventh time in eight starts.

The PA announcer reminds fans that no flash photography is allowed at UNLV. It seems some of them came to get a look and a photo of Strasburg. A good crowd begins to thin, having gotten a glimpse of the nation's top pitcher and seeing enough to know the Rebels aren't coming back from an 11-1 deficit.

6TH INNING — SDSU scores fur runs on only two hits, helped by passed balls and wild pitches to build a 15-1 lead.

Strasburg walks one but also strikes out the side, giving him 13 strikeouts for the game. He is approaching 100 pitches and likely done for the game.

Strasbug's line — 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO. He now has 107 SO/11 BB in 54.1 IP

7TH INNING — The Aztecs are retired in order — thanks to a double play — then Matt Skipper replaces Strasburg on the mound. The trickle of fans leaving picks up, leaving family and friends in the stands.

8TH INNING — Nothing of note.

9TH INNING — The game is all but decided but UNLV drags it out by getting to Skipper, forcing the Aztecs to go to the bullpen again and bring in Kegan Sharp to get the final out.

Roadtrip: Las Vegas

The blog hits the road today, bound for Las Vegas and the opener of San Diego State's three-game Mountain West Conference series against UNLV.

What happens in Vegas won't stay there. It will appear on the blog.

Stephen Strasburg (6-0) is the scheduled starter for the Aztecs, moved up a day because of the Easter weekend. Strasburg struck out just six — what's wrong, what's wrong — in last week's win against UC Davis at Petco Park. He went six innings, allowing three singles, two walks and a hit batter.

We'll see how Strasburg fares in UNLV's thin air. We'll also see what the Rebels try against him after losing to Strasburg and the Aztecs 4-3 in the conference opener four weeks ago at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Strasburg struck out 14 and walked one over seven innings in the game.

First pitch for the Aztecs (23-11, 6-3 MWC) and the Rebels (15-15, 4-5) isn't until 7 p.m., giving us plenty of time for the four-hour +/_ drive today from San Diego. It's about 314 miles from my driveway to the parking lot at Earl E. Wilson Stadium, almost entirely on the I-15 north. Key points along the way include:

— The Flying J truck stop/convenience store/restaurant/sideshow in Barstow, which will give you gas at the pumps or in the diner. It provides plenty of people-watching possibilities.

— Zzyzx road, which doesn't go much of anywhere but does have its own Wikipedia reference. According to this entry, "The name Zzyzx was given to the area in 1944 by Curtis Howe Springer, claiming it to be the last word in the English language." After countless trips past the road I finally pulled off once to see if there was anything befitting such a great name. I guess there was once, but it is little more now than a 4 1/2 miles long road, dead-ending in both directions. Big mistake taking exit there. I should have stayed on the highway and always wondered/speculated. Roadtrip America provides better details about the road's history and old "Doc" Springer. So there's that.

— The World's Largest Thermometer in Baker, which also has a Wikipedia reference right here. I drove past it once on the way to Omaha for the College World Series and the temperature read 112. The next day I was driving through the Colorado mountains near Glenwood Springs and the temperature gauge in my car read 44 degrees.

— Primm, Nevada, just past the California-Nevada border. I liked it better when it was named Stateline, but I guess there was some confusion because there's a Stateline at the northern border, too. It is a good spot to stop when the urge strikes to ride a roller coaster or get a $5 steak at the Silver Spur Steakhouse. I was tempted to book a night's stay at Buffalo Bill's Casino. Cost: $9. Only problem is it's 40 miles from Las Vegas. I opted for the Tuscany Suites & Casino, splurging for $30.

— The Strip. I have budgeted $20 for entertainment. I don't think that will be enough to see a show, so it likely will all go on two hands of Blackjack or all on red 14 at the craps table.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Strasburg will pitch Thursday at UNLV

San Diego State junior right-hander Stephen Strasburg's next start has been moved up a day to Thursday at UNLV.

Strasburg originally was to go Friday against the Rebels and junior left-hander Nate Solow was to throw in Thursday's opener of the three-game series in Las Vegas. But Solow pitched Sunday against UC Davis and is unavailable.

Strasburg (6-0) has a 1.49 ERA and leads the nation with 94 strikeouts (with 10 walks) in 48.1 innings pitched. He struck out 14 against UNLV in a 4-3 Aztecs victory four weeks ago at Tony Gwynn Stadium, starting SDSU on a three-game sweep of the Rebels.

The No. 18-ranked Aztecs play a nonconference game at Long Beach State tonight at 6:30, then hop on a bus tomorrow for UNLV.

SDSU (22-11, 6-3 MWC) are tied atop the MWC standings with TCU. UNLV (15-16, 4-5) is in fifth place.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Aztecs, Toreros both in Top 25

San Diego State moved up three spots in Baseball America's Top 25, rising to No. 18 in the nation. SDSU (22-11) split a home-and-home with UCSB and took three of four against UC Davis over the weekend.

The BA rankings released this morning also included USD (22-11), which returned at No. 25. The Toreros opened the season at No. 11 but tumbled out of the Top 25 by losing nine of their first 17 games. USD has won 14 of 16 games since, including a three-game sweep at Santa Clara over the weekend.

Arizona State has replaced Cal State Fullerton atop the new rankings.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Toreros score 22 runs again and again

USD third baseman Victor Sanchez reinjured his shoulder in Tuesday's game at UC Riverside, putting his season in doubt.

The injury forced Sanchez off the 25-man roster for this weekend's West Coast Conference series at Santa Clara, meaning the Toreros would be without their biggest bat.

Somehow, they made do.

USD scored 22 runs in Saturday's 22-10 victory over the Broncos and repeated the feat today in a 22-7 win that completed a three-game sweep (the Toreros won Friday's opener 9-4). First-place USD should expect to be back in the Baseball America Top 25 when new rankings are released on Monday.

Shortstop Sean Nicol homered twice and Nick McCoy and Mike Lugo also homered for the Toreros, who had 23 hits in the game.

USD is now 22-11 on the season and 6-0 in the WCC, putting the Toreros in complete control of their destiny the remainder of the season. The next five weeks of conference play look like this: at Gonzaga, at Saint Mary's, host Portland, at Loyola Marymount, host USF. Nicol went 3-for-7 with 5 RBI. Lugo and Jon Hotta each had 4 RBI. Zach Walters led the way with five of USD's 23 hits.

The Toreros collected 22 hits in Saturday's win. Right fielder James Meador led the team with four hits in that one. Hotta, McCoy and Chris Engell each had three RBI.

Steven Chatwood and Tony Strazzara replaced Sanchez at third base during the season, going a combined 6-for-18 with 5 RBI and 5 runs scored.

The Toreros are batting .322 as a team, led by Meador (.392) and Walters (.391).

A.J. Griffin (5-1) picked up Sunday's win, allowing one run on three hits over five innings. Matt Thomson (5-0) was Saturday's winner, remaining unbeaten on the season. Thomson has been outstanding this season, but it didn't look like it was his day. He allowed eight runs on six hits in the second inning (10 runs in seven innings overall) as the Toreros fell behind 8-5 before going all '27 Yankees on Santa Clare.

It remains to be seen how badly Sanchez's shoulder is injuted. It is the second straight season the sophomore from Norwalk has been so bothered. Sanchez was having a monster freshman season last year when he injured his shoulder on a swing at the plate midway through the season. Sanchez was never the same when he returned from a week of rest. He had 11 homers when he was hurt. He finished the season with 12 (which still led the team).

USD will remain in Northern California for a game Tuesday at Stanford before heading to Spokane, Wash., for the series against Gonzaga. The Bulldogs (20-8, 4-2 WCC) took two of three this weekend from Pepperdine (17-13, 1-5), which has seen its season unravel the past two weeks. The Waves, preseason favorites to win the WCC, were swept by USD in the opening weekend of conference play.

LMU (19-14, 5-1) is in second place after taking two of three from Portland.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Aztecs beat UC Davis 14-0 at Petco Park

San Diego State's Stephen Strasburg is overshadowed by the Aztecs' offense, which collects 14 runs on 15 hits in a 14-0 victory over UC Davis at the Padres' Petco Park. SDSU catcher Erik Castro leads the Aztecs with two home runs and six RBI. Teammate Ryan O'Sullivan also homers for the Aztecs (20-10).

Strasburg (6-0) fails to register double-digit strikeouts for the first time in seven starts, getting but six Ks against the Aggies, who seem content to shorten their swings and just try to make contact to avoid strikeouts. The junior right-hander allows three hits and walks two over six shutout innings. Strasburg now has 94 strikeouts and 10 walks in 48.1 innings this season.

San Diego State opens a four-game series this weekend with a special venue for today's first game — Petco Park.

SDSU ace Stephen Strasburg (5-0) will be on the mound for the No. 21-ranked Aztecs (19-10), who have the week off from Mountain West Conference play. UC Davis sends freshman David Popkins to the mound. It is the first collegiate start for Popkins, who prep about five miles from Petco at St. Augustine High.

Here's a story I did today in the Union-Tribune leading into the game.

Following the game, the Padres play the Angels at 7:05 p.m. in an exhibition game.

Also, the MWC announced its 10th Anniversary baseball team and Strasburg was the only active member of the 13-man squad. SDSU had five players selected — closer Royce Ring, shortstop Taber Lee, third baseman Nick Romero and outfielder Anthny Gwynn.

Padres GM Kevin Towers is sitting in the fourth row on the field level adjacent to scouting director Chief Gayton. They are all but drooling, and it isn't in anicipation of fish tacos being delivered to their seats. They have the nation's No. 1 prospect on their mound — a guy who could probably step in as the Padres' No. 3 starter when the season opens next week — but know they'll likely never have a chance to draft him, even though they possess the third pick.

Before the game, Towers says: What amazes me is this guy added 10 mph (between his freshman and sophomore years). When guys gain 10 mph, they usually lose command, and this guy kept it."

Towers also commented on a cut fastball that approaches 100 mph, saying: "I haven't seen somebody throw that hard with movement on a baseball (the way Strasburg does). This guy sits at 96, 97, 98. Hard to believe he sits at that all the time and has command of the pitch. I can't remember anybody ever doing that."


1ST INNING — Strasburg shows an unusual lack of command early on, going 3-2 to two of the first three hitters. Leadoff hitter Daniel Cepin gets an infield single that SDSU shortstop Ryan O'Sullivan can't make a play on. Cepin is sacrificed to second, then Strasburg walks Ty Kelly. Tony Bongiovanni is Strasburg's first strikeout victim of the game. He gets out of the inning a batter later when Ryan Scoma hits into a fielder's choice. The scoreboard radar gun doesn't register the first 10 pitches or so, but Strasburg hits 96, 97, 98, 99 on several pithes thereafter. Strasburg needs 22 pitches to get out of the inning.

The Aztecs get going right away, cashing in walks to Pat Colwell and Brandon Meredith. Catcher Erik Castro singled in the first run and Mitch Blackburn brought home the other with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

2ND INNING — Strasburg has a 1-2-3 inning, but UC Davis puts the ball in play each time.

3RD INNING — Another 1-2-3 inning, and again the Aggies get the bat on the ball each time. One strikeout in three innings is something of a moral victory. UC Davis hitters are taking half swings, just trying to make contact. SDSU does more damage against Popkins, getting making it 4-0 when Brandon Meredith scores on a wild pitch and Cory Vaughn comes home on an infield out.

4TH INNING — UC Davis gets leadoff hitter Ty Kelly on when O'Sullivan juggles a grounder at shortstop. Strasburg strikes out the next two hitters, however. After issuing a walk to Grant Hirneise, followed by a wild pitch, Strasburg strands runners at second and third when he freezes Joseph Medeiros for a called strike three that ends the inning.

SDSU boosts its lead to 9-0 with a five-run fourth inning highlighted by Erik Castro's three-run homer to right field.

5TH INNING — UC Davis left fielder Rikki Foster leads off with a single to left for the team's second hit (and first one to leave the infield). Foster is forced at second a few moments later and Strasburg then gets out of the inning with a double play grounder. He isn't dominating in his customary fashion — racking up the strikeouts — but he is pitching effectively. You just know after the game some reporter will ask him what was wrong. All he's done is allowed two singles through five shutout innings. Strasburg has thrown 74 pitches now.

The story of the game shifts from Strasburg to his catcher, Castro, who homers again, this one a two-run shot off UC Davis reiever Tim Busbin that lands in the beach sand beyond the 400-foot fence in right-center. That gives Castro six RBI for the game.

6TH INNING — Strasburg hits leadoff batter Grant Bauer with a pitch, strikes out Kelly, allows a single to right to Bongliavanni, strikes out Scoma looking and gets out of the inning when Hirneise grounds out to third base. He has thrown about 90 pitches and is probably done for the day with the Aztecs leading 11-0.

STRASBRG's LINE: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO in 93-pitch outing. It is the first time in seven starts this season that Strasburg did not strike out at least 11 hitters. He now has 94 strikeouts and 10 walks in 48. 1 IP.

7TH INNING — Reliever John Pecoraro replaces Strasburg and sandwiches two strikeouts between two singles and a walk. Pecoraro gets out of the inning with a routine 9-3-5-4-2 out.

The Aztecs make it 13-0 on Matt Skipper's RBI double and an error by UC Davis first baseman Grant Hirneise on a hard-hit ball by Zach Babitt.

8TH INNING — SDSU's James McLaughlin comes in and retires the Aggies in order.

Ryan O'Sullivan clubs SDSU's third homer of the game, a solo shot to left field off UC Davis' Will Chapman that makes it 14-0. It is O'Sullivan's first career home run.

9TH INNING — George Snyder comes on and retires the Aggies in order to end the game.