Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
February 26, 2022 (San Diego) - Despite a career-high seven strikeouts from starter Kelena Sauer, San Diego State found its offense short-circuited in a 4-0 defeat against Utah in the Tony Gwynn Legacy on Saturday at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
The Aztecs (2-4), who managed just three hits on the night, were handed their first shutout in 72 games dating back to May 17, 2019, when they were stymied by New Mexico at home, 2-0
Conversely, the Utes (4-0-1) scored twice in the fifth and sixth innings, while starter Randon Hostert (1-0), allowed just three hits and three walks against eight strikeouts, helping the visitors keep their unbeaten record intact.
Sauer (1-1) recorded all of his punch-outs in the first three frames, yielding just one hit during that span, a two-out single in the top of the second by Alex Baeza, who was left stranded.
However, Utah dented the scoreboard in the fourth when Chase Anderson smacked a one-out double and promptly scored on Jayden Kiernan’s RBI single. Kiernan advanced to second on the play, courtesy of an SDSU throwing error, before moving to third on a wild pitch. Shortly thereafter, Baeza hit a sharp grounder through the right side that plated Kiernan with an unearned run.
The Utes doubled their lead with one swing in the fifth when Kai Roberts belted a two-run homer with two outs, driving in Dakota Duffalo, who previously singled up the middle and was bunted over to second.
Sauer surrendered all four of Utah’s runs on six hits and no walks before giving way to Robert Brodell to start the sixth. Brodell remained on the hill through four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walks while posting four strikeouts.
On the flip side, Hostert went 6 2/3 innings before Ben Kibbe pitched the rest of way, fanning three batters against two walks.
One of those walks was issued to SDSU pinch hitter Shaun Montoya with two outs after Tino Bethancourt drew a base on balls moments earlier, hastening Hostert’s exit. However, Kibbe induced a grounder to keep the goose egg on the scoreboard.
Santana alum Tyler Glowacki later walked with one out in the eighth but was left stranded as well.
Prior to Saturday’s contest, the San Diego State baseball program honored 14 alumni from the Aztecs’ 1983 and 1984 teams that advanced to the NCAA regionals in a ceremony behind home plate. The 1984 squad set 15 team records including most wins in a single-season, finishing with a 66-23 mark, highlighted by a No. 1 ranking at midseason from Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
In addition, both the current Aztecs and Utes wore special jerseys during the game, with each player donning the No. 19 as a tribute to the late Tony Gwynn.
San Diego State and Utah will once again do battle on Sunday to wrap up the 2022 edition of the Tony Gwynn Legacy starting at 2 p.m.