San Diego State baseball recorded its most impressive win of the 2016 season on Monday night with a 6-5 result against Oregon State University, the No. 6 team in the nation according to d1baseball.com.
The victory gives the Aztecs (6-16) their second consecutive win, and gives the Beavers (16-6) their fourth straight loss and second overall in Corvallis.
After jumping out to an early lead, SDSU trailed 5-4 in the eighth, but a run in each of the final two frames gave it a must-needed win.
“It’s simple execution,” coach Martinez said of his team’s recent success, “trying to win every pitch, and manage good at-bats.”
Sophomore shortstop Alan Trejo, who leads the Aztecs with 16 rbis and a .371 batting average, won every pitch in the ninth inning, as he sealed the win with a solo home run to lead off the top of the inning.
“I think we’re one of the best teams in the country,” Trejo said, “and tonight I feel like we really showed it.”
The shot was Trejo’s second home run of 2016, and made him the first Aztec to score twenty runs this season.
The first run of the game for SDSU also came on a home run.
Redshirt-senior left fielder Spencer Thornton broke a scoreless tie with a solo shot to lead off the second inning, putting the Aztecs up 1-0, and tying him for the team lead with three homers.
The Beavers responded, scoring two runs on a home run off the bat of junior center fielder Kyle Nobach.
SDSU retook the lead in the third with three runs, two coming on a singe from redshirt-sophomore right fielder Tyler Adkison.
The two-out, two-run hit gave the Aztecs a 4-3 lead, and marked the second consecutive game where Adkison provided them with a clutch hit, after his bases-clearing double on Sunday.
The top-ranked Beavers would strike in the third and again in the seventh to give them a 5-4 lead going into the eighth.
Sophomore catcher Hunter Stratton tied the contest with an rbi bunt in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for the game-clinching blast from Trejo.
While Stratton and Trejo led the late-inning charge, they had backup in the SDSU bullpen.
Redshirt-sophomore Jacob Erickon (2-2) recorded a win after a hitless eighth inning, and redshirt-senior Brian Heldman matched Erickson with a hitlesss appearance in the ninth, on the way to earning his second save of the season.
The late-game success shows growth in this young team.
In previous games, the late innings is when the Aztecs would give up a late rally, or leave runners on base, or commit a myriad of other miscues to prevent them from winning a very winnable game.
But tonight, for the first time, SDSU looked the part of a three-time defending Mountain West champion.
Mark Martinez shared the sentiment – at least regarding his team’s past struggles.
“A lot of games that we’ve not had success in this year,” coach Martinez said, “the formula wasn’t met. We especially haven’t pitched that great in late innings and we haven’t played good defense.”
“But we’re starting to play better baseball, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”
SDSU will get that opportunity, as well as the chance to win its second series victory of the season, when it completes the two-game set with Oregon State on Tuesday.