Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
May 8, 2021 (San Diego) - San Diego State regained its winning touch on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of San José State, opening with a big 17-3 victory in seven innings before rolling to a 10-6 triumph in the nightcap at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
With the results, the Aztecs (24-12, 16-10 MW) claimed their 12th straight series victory over the Spartans and climbed back into first place in the Mountain West standings by percentage points over Nevada (14-9 MW), which swept a doubleheader from UNLV on Saturday at home.
SDSU combined for 25 hits in the twin bill, featuring a 4-for-7 performance from Wyatt Hendrie, who belted a two-run homer in each game and finished with nine RBIs overall, while Mike Jarvis totaled five hits and scored five runs on the day, along with Matt Rudick (4 hits, 4 RBIs).
In addition, Aztec pitchers punched out 23 batters in the doubleheader, including 12 in game two, as San Diego State improved to 13-3 this season when posting 10 strikeouts or more.
In game one, the Aztecs did most of their damage in the first three innings, cruising to a 14-0 lead against SJSU pitchers Trevor Ernt and Sean Prozell.
The Scarlet and Black launched three homers in the first inning alone, including solo shots by Brian Leonhardt and Cole Carrigg, following Hendrie’s two-run blast, while Rudick got things rolling with an RBI double to plate Jarvis.
SDSU increased its lead to 10-0 in the second, which featured a double steal in the inning. Caden Miller led off with a base hit through the left side and advanced to third on a balk and Jarvis’ ensuing single. Moments later, Jarvis stole second, while Miller slid safely across the plate on the throw back home. Rudick soon followed with a run-scoring single and later scored on Jaden Fein’s RBI groundout. Shortly thereafter, Jacob Cruce roped a two-run double, plating Hendrie and Leonhardt, who previously walked.
The Aztecs sent nine batters to the plate for the second straight inning in the third, highlighted by Fein’s two-run single. In addition, Leonhardt knocked in Miller with a single to right and later scored on Carrigg’s groundout.
SDSU plated three additional runs with two outs in the sixth, as Hendrie cleared the bases with a double down the left field line. Earlier, Miller tripled to right, while Jarvis was hit by a pitch and Rudick drew a walk.
The Spartans finally dented the scoreboard in the fourth on Andrew Jurado’s RBI single, while Ruben Ibarra smacked a two-run homer in the fifth.
Aztec starter Troy Melton (4-4) picked up his first victory since March 20, a span of seven starts, after yielding three runs on five hits and three walks in five innings to go with eight strikeouts. Meanwhile, Kyle Petri pitched two scoreless frames, giving up just one walk against three strikeouts.
On the flip side, Ernt (1-2) experienced a rough day on the hill, exiting the game after facing three batters in the second. The SJSU hurler surrendered the first eight runs of the game on eight hits.
SDSU featured a balanced offense in the opener, as six players totaled two hits apiece, including Hendrie (5 RBIs, 3 runs) and Rudick (4 runs), while Jarvis, Leonhardt, Miller crossed the plate on three occasions as well. Cruce also got into the act with a pair of hits, while Fein finished with three RBIs.
In the nightcap, the Spartans (6-16, 2-7 MW) drew first blood with two unearned runs in the second, as Jackson Forbes scored on a passed ball, while Reece Hernandez touched home on Jack Colette’s squeeze bunt.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Aztecs put up five markers with two outs in their half of the inning, highlighted by Hendrie’s two-run double and Leonhardt’s RBI triple. In addition, Miller walked, advanced to second on Jarvis’ infield single and promptly scored on Rudick’s base hit up the middle.
Jarvis also tripled to lead off the fifth, while Hendrie quickly followed with his second round-tripper of the day on a 2-1 offering, which increased the Aztecs’ lead to 7-2.
SJSU responded with a two-run homer by Charles McAdoo in the sixth, but the Scarlet and Black maintained its cushion with a three-spot in bottom of the frame. The Aztecs received RBI singles by Rudick and Carrigg, while Miller scored on errant relay throw after sliding into third on Rudick’s hit.
The Spartans closed out the scoring in the ninth on Santiago Cantu’s two-run double.
With the 10-6 outcome, SDSU surpassed double digits in runs for the 15th time this season, raising its record to 14-1 in such games.
Christian Winston (3-1) picked up the victory in relief of Tre Brown, who was making his first career start. Winston gave up just one walk in a scoreless fifth, while Brown allowed two unearned runs on one hit and four walks in four innings to go with five strikeouts. Ricky Tibbett (4 Ks) tossed three ensuing frames after Winston, while Jacob Flores (2 Ks) pitched the ninth.
Conversely, Corey Sanchez (0-4) absorbed the loss after yielding seven runs on seven hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Jarvis led all players with three hits in the nightcap, while Hendrie (4 RBIs) and Rudick (2 RBIs) notched two apiece.
San Diego State closes out its 2021 regular-season home schedule on Sunday when it battles San José State in a single game at Tony Gwynn Stadium, starting at 1 p.m. Prior to the contest, the Aztecs will hold a special ceremony to highlight Senior Day festivities.