Video courtesy goaztecs.com
February 25, 2022 (San Diego) - San Diego State opened the annual Tony Gwynn Legacy in style with a 7-1 triumph over Hawai’i on Friday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
The Aztecs broke open a tight pitcher’s duel with five runs in the bottom of the sixth, capitalizing on two errors by the Rainbow Warriors, to help snap a modest two-game losing streak and raise their record to 2-3 on the year.
SDSU starter TJ Fondtain (1-0) posted a career-high seven strikeouts to earn his first collegiate victory, allowing just one unearned run on three hits and no walks in 6.0 innings, while Ricky Tibbett pitched final three frames to record his first career save.
Clinging to a slim 2-1 lead, the Aztecs added to their advantage in the sixth after Poncho Ruiz scored on Johnny Giannola’s RBI single to center, chasing Hawai’i starter Cade Helemanu. Earlier, Ruiz was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, while Brian Leonhardt followed with a base hit to right.
Tai Atkins took the mound at this juncture for the Warriors (2-3), but SDSU promptly loaded the bases when Cole Carrigg bunted on a sacrifice attempt and reached on a throwing error. The Aztecs’ next two batters Tino Bethancourt and Max Foxcroft each got aboard via fielder’s choice on consecutive grounders, plating Leonhardt and Giannola, respectively.
Shortly thereafter, Caden Miller stepped to the plate and roped a single up the middle, driving in Foxcroft and Alex Rodriguez, who previously reached on another throwing error and advanced to second on the miscue.
Tibbett, who entered in the seventh, fought himself off the ropes by inducing a flyout after Hawai’i put runners at first and third with two gone in the frame. The Aztec reliever also got through the ninth unscathed courtesy of game-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Despite seven strikeouts of his own, Helemanu (0-1) was tagged with the loss after yielding five runs (four earned) on six hits and one walk in 5.0 innings of work, while reliever Cory Ronan gave up just one walk over the final 2 1/3 innings after taking over for Atkins with two out in the sixth.
SDSU drew first blood in the third when Miller laced a two-out single to right, stole second and ultimately touched home on Ruiz’s base hit to left center.
The Aztecs extended their advantage in the fourth after Giannola led off with a triple into the right field corner and quickly scored on Carrigg’s ensuing groundout.
Hawai’i finally broke through with an unearned run in the fifth after Stone Miyao reached on a fielding error and scored on Dallas Duarte’s RBI single. However, Fondtain avoided further damage by picking off Matt Wong at second base and striking out Jordan Donahue to end the inning.
Wong and Duarte had two hits apiece to lead the Warriors in the defeat.
San Diego State continues play at the Tony Gwynn Legacy on Saturday when it squares off against Utah, starting at 6 p.m. The Utes (3-0-1) held on for a 2-1 victory over Fresno State on Friday afternoon.