Aztec starter T.J. Fondtain tosses second straight complete game
Video courtesy goaztecs.com
May 15, 2022 (San Diego) - Behind starting pitcher T.J. Fondtain’s second straight complete game, San Diego State defeated Nevada 9-2 on Saturday in game two of a weekend series at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Despite the victory, the Aztecs (17-35, 9-17 MW) still sit four games behind Air Force and Fresno State for fourth place in the Mountain West race with four games left for all three squads. The top four teams will clinch a berth in the conference tournament later this month in San Diego.
The Falcons (25-25, 13-13 MW) doubled up on third-place San José State, 8-4, while the Bulldogs (25-26, 13-13 MW) edged first-place UNLV, 8-7, in 11 innings.
Meanwhile, the second-place Wolf Pack (26-22, 16-10) remain two games in back of UNLV (33-19, 18-8 MW) after the Aztecs scored nine unanswered runs to erase a 2-0 deficit.
On the mound, Fondtain (3-6) matched his career high with eight strikeouts, allowing just one earned run on five hits and five walks. The SDSU sophomore also helped himself at the plate after tying Poncho Ruiz for game-high honors with three hits.
In addition, Cole Carrigg maintained his hot bat with two hits of his own and added two runs to match Ruiz in that statistic.
Nevada struck first with an unearned run in the top of the third when Ryan Jackson drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a sacrifice bunt before alertly racing home after Josh Zamora beat out an infield hit and the late throw to Fondtain covering at first was mishandled.
Later in the fourth, the Wolf Pack added to its advantage when Anthony Flores smacked a solo homer over the fence in left center to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
SDSU initiated its comeback in the bottom of the inning when Ruiz singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch before crossing the plate on Carrigg’s double to deep right field.
The Aztecs vaulted in front for good in the sixth with three runs on three hits and a costly Nevada error. Irvin Weems, who led off with a single and advanced on Miller’s sacrifice bunt, promptly scored on Ruiz’s towering double to left center, which knotted the score a 2-2. Moments later, Carrigg’s grounder to second rolled under the glove of Zamora and into right field, as Ruiz darted home.
Fondtain then stepped to the plate and ripped a hot smash down the right-field line, sending Carrigg to third. Shortly thereafter, Shaun Montoya executed an ideal squeeze bunt, plating Carrigg to give the host school a 4-2 cushion.
SDSU added a run in the seventh when Santana alum Tyler Glowacki drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch before circling the remaining bases on Miller’s single to left.
The Aztecs later broke the game open with four runs on three hits in the eighth. Fondtain doubled home Carrigg, who led off with a single past first, while Montoya scored walked and scored after Glowacki reached on a fielder’s choice. In addition, Brian Leonhardt added an RBI single to bring in Fondtain and eventually crossed the plate himself on a wild pitch.
Wolf Pack starter Cam Walty (5-5) absorbed the loss after surrendering five runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk against only three strikeouts. Meanwhile, reliever Russell Hicks failed to record an out after entering the eighth, when he yielded three runs on two hits and a wal before giving way to Jordan Jackson (1.0 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 SO).
Conversely, Fondtain was aided by three double plays and allowed just one runner to reach third over the final five innings to nail down the victory.
San Diego State will look to secure its fourth straight Mountain West series on Sunday when it battles Nevada in its final home game of the 2022 regular season starting at 1 p.m. Prior to the Aztecs-Wolf Pack showdown, SDSU will recognize its seven graduating seniors in a special ceremony on the field at Tony Gwynn Stadium.