Video courtesy goaztecs.com
February 19, 2021 (San Diego) - San Diego State combined for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings on Friday to pull away from visiting San Diego en route to a 14-7 triumph in the 2021 season opener for both teams at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Brian Leonhardt and Jacob Cruce drove in three runs apiece to lead the Aztecs (1-0), who battered seven Torero pitchers for 19 hits to notch their fifth straight victory on opening day.
In all, seven players recorded multiple hits for the Scarlet and Black, including Leonhardt, Jaden Fein and Ryan Orr, who finished with three apiece, while Wyatt Hendrie (2 hits) and Cole Carrigg knocked in a pair of runs, along with Fein.
Starting pitcher Troy Melton (1-0) emerged victorious in his 2021 debut, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk to go with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
The Aztecs gave up two tallies in the top of the first but roared back with four markers in the second, taking the lead for good on run-scoring singles by Leonhardt and Mike Jarvis, sandwiched around Carrigg’s clutch hit up the middle that plated two more runners.
SDSU soon extended its lead to 5-2 in the third when Leonhart brought home Hendrie on a sacrifice fly to center.
USD (0-1) crept to within 5-4 in the fifth, but the Aztecs kept the visitors at bay when Jarvis alertly threw to plate after a diving stop of Cody Jefferis’ infield hit, nailing Adam Lopez, who tried to score from second on the play.
Buoyed by their good fortune, the Aztecs extended their lead with three runs in their half of the frame before tacking four additional tallies in the sixth. Cruce delivered the big hit in the latter inning with a three-run double, while Fein followed with an RBI single to put the host school in command 12-4.
Subsequently, SDSU closed out the scoring in the seventh on Hendrie’s two-run single to center, which brought home Orr and Caden Miller.
Jake Miller (0-1) absorbed the loss for USD, yielding five runs on eight hits to go with three strikeouts in three innings, while Otsuka and Jefferis had three hits apiece for the Toreros in the defeat.
The two teams continue their series on Saturday at Tony Gwynn Stadium, starting at 1 p.m. The Aztecs are expected to start right-hander Kohl Simas, who pitched for the Toreros last season, while USD is slated to call righty Carter Rustad to the mound.