Aztecs strand would-be tying run at third base in the ninth
Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
March 29, 2018 (San Diego) - The No. 23/23 San Diego State baseball team dropped a 5-4 decision against New Mexico in its series-opener Thursday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Aztecs fall to 17-8 (6-2, Mountain West) on the year while the Lobos improve to 11-12-1 (5-5, MW).
Jacob Erickson continued an impressive start to his senior campaign, turning in a quality start for the Aztecs with 6.2 innings pitched and scattering five hits and two runs. Erickson, who is now just one appearance shy of tying SDSU’s all-time pitching appearance record, logged a career-high eight strikeouts in a 99-pitch outing against the Lobos Thursday night.
The Aztecs broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third, using a Julian Escobedo leadoff single to start the frame. Escobedo later came around to score two batters later on a wild pitch.
New Mexico gained a 2-1 lead in the ensuing frame in a two-run, two-hit frame. The Aztecs regained its lead in the bottom of the fifth as Jacob Maekawa drove home Escobedo on an RBI single through the middle of the infield to tie the game at 2-2. Maekawa later came home to score on a throwing error by Lobos catcher Robby Campillo, and to cap the scoring, Chase Calabuig drove in his conference-leading 15th RBI in MW play this year to give the Aztecs a 4-2 edge.
The Lobos tied the game back up in the top of the eighth courtesy of a 2-RBI single by Connor Mang off SDSU closer Jorge Fernandez. New Mexico took its final lead of the game after Phillip Sikes drove home Brayden Merrit on a two-out RBI single. Casey Schmitt took over on the mound with two down in the eighth inning and picked off Sikes at first base to end the frame.
The Aztecs showed signs of a potential comeback in the bottom of the ninth, as a leadoff Escobedo hit by pitch ended a run of nine consecutive SDSU batters retired. Escobedo advanced to second on a softly hit groundout by Schmitt and advanced to third after Maekawa grounded out to third base. With the tying-run just 90 feet away, New Mexico closer Chris Tripp forced Matt Rudick to fly out to right field and end the ballgame.
The Aztecs were held hitless in the game’s final four innings. Five different hitters in the SDSU lineup recorded one hit each.
- The Aztecs are 8-3 in its last 11 games. All three losses over that span have come by a one-run margin.
The Aztecs and Lobos continue their three-game series tomorrow, Friday, March 30 at 6:00 p.m. The Aztecs are expected to send RHP Harrison Pyatt (1-1, 4.45 ERA) to the mound, while the Lobos are expected to start LHP Robert Gasser (1-1, 4.68 ERA).