By Liz Alper
Video courtesy goaztecs.com
January 29, 2019 (San Diego) - At today’s press conference, San Diego State men’s basketball was joined by baseball head coach Mark Martinez and junior pitcher Logan Boyer. Aztecs baseball started practice last Friday in anticipation for their season opener on February 15.
“....We’re in a good place moving into the 2019 season,” Martinez opened with. "We’ve lost some key ingredients, we’re going to have to replace some key components – losing Chase Calabuig, Dean Nevarez, Jordan Verdon, David Hensley, those guys have kind have been mainstays the last three or four years. Now we have to upgrade the program from where they were and that’s the idea that went into recruiting this class. Upgrading the athleticism – not that those guys were bad – but trying to get better in order to win a regional. I think that’s the next step for our program is to get into a regional, continue to play in the postseason, and the next step is to win a regional and give us an opportunity to play past a regional, into a Super Regional and get to Omaha. That’s the expectation of our program, to play for a national championship and we’re working on it. So we’ve upgraded in a lot of areas, starting with Logan Boyer being our Friday night guy, he can run the ball up there anywhere from 94-96 miles per hour...So we’re very excited about our pitching staff moving into this year, it’s an experienced staff with Logan anchoring the Friday night position and Harrison Pyatt on Saturdays and a graduate transfer from USC, Brad Wegman. So, pretty good pitching, we have a great closer in freshman All-American Casey Schmitt, he had a 0.28 (ERA) last year... He’s going to be our closer, we have a wealth of pitching whether it’s experienced guys or new guys coming into our program, we’re very excited about that and replacing some of those key components...Our middle infield is going to look a little different as well. We have a graduate transfer at shortstop, fifth-year senior Angelo Armenta from USC. Mike Jarvis is a transfer from Saddleback Junior College, we also have Jacob Maekawa who played every game at second base last year, so those two guys are kind of competing for that job and of course Casey Schmitt. Our outfield is very strong, we have Julian Escobedo playing centerfield, Matt Rudick, who should have been a freshman All-American and hit .319 as a freshman, will be in left field. I skipped right field, we haven’t figured that out yet. The idea is to upgrade athletically to compete on a national level. We’ve found that out the past couple of years, when we won our first championship in 2013, we were extremely excited, it was awesome, we hadn’t won in many, many years. 2014, sort of the same thing, we pulled some strings and smoke and mirrored a little bit. 2015 we made some noise up at Lake Elsinore, we had a bad year in 2016 and the last couple years we’ve figured out we have to figure out how to compete nationally. That (includes) upgrading our athleticism, running ability, and of course, the pitching piece has upgraded drastically. So we’re very excited about that heading into the season.”
How specifically has the team upgraded? Number one, speed, obviously, but I think its batting ability, making more contact and creating havoc offensively. I think that’s a big deal for us, we have an upgraded offense and we want our guys to run and create havoc and those kinds of things. The other thing is making big plays defensively and the only way you can do that is being very athletic. We’ve done a great job making the routine plays and that translates into a lot of wins but to win at the next level you have to make a lot of those dynamic plays in big moments.”
Boyer appreciates his role as Friday night starter. “It’s very humbling, but I’m excited the season off well and give the team a good start to every weekend.”
Boyer says he feels good to start the season. “I’m very excited, everything feels healthy, I feel strong. I stayed back this summer and lifted a lot with our strength and conditioning coach, and there have been no problems – I’m ready to go.”
The Aztecs open the season on Friday, February 15 against San Francisco at 6:00 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.