SDSU baseball drops first game of series to rival UNLV, 7-6

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SDSU baseball drops first game of series to rival UNLV, 7-6

by Mayer Pohlod, Staff Writer

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SDSU couldn’t keep the same walk-off magic they had against Long Beach State last Tuesday, giving up two runs in the top of the ninth inning to UNLV en route to a 7-6 loss Friday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

With the game knotted up at 5-5, the Aztecs couldn’t hold off the Rebels to keep the score tied. After sophomore lefty Jacob Erickson walked the first two batters to start the inning, senior right-hander Brian Heldman came into the game. After a sacrifice bunt, he yielded a single through the right side of the infield to score the two winning runs.

The Aztecs would fight back, scoring a run in the bottom half of the ninth, but would leave the tying run on base after junior infielder Andrew Brown grounded out to second base to end the game.

The loss put the Aztecs at 2-8 in conference play on the season while UNLV improved to 5-8.

The Rebels struck first in the top of the second after junior second baseman Justin Jones singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by sophomore catcher Hunter Stratton.

SDSU would take the lead an inning later in the bottom of the third after six straight batters got on base to lead off the inning to plate three, highlighted by a RBI triple from sophomore outfielder Chase Calabuig  and a bases loaded wild pitch. The final run of the inning would come from freshman first baseman Jordan Verdon, who hit a sacrifice fly before a double play ended the inning. Verdon had three RBIs for the Aztecs.

After both teams traded runs to put the score at 5-2, the Rebels would stage their comeback.

After a flyout to open the top of the seventh, the Rebels would score a run following a walk and a double, the latter of which induced an error from senior left fielder Spencer Thornton. A strikeout, triple and single later, UNLV brought the score even, setting up their victory in the ninth inning.

The Aztecs almost took the lead in the bottom of the seventh after redshirt-sophomore outfielder Tyler Adkison lined a pitch into left field that went off the glove of the fielder. Adkison rounded the bases and headed for home but was thrown out by a couple of steps on a perfect relay by the UNLV.

SDSU had three errors on the day, two of which either caused or lead to a score by the Rebels.

“(They need to) get tougher. Mentally. That’s simple. Our guys are not tough enough,” SDSU head coach Mark Martinez said.

The starting pitcher for the Aztecs, freshman righty Harrison Pyatt, cruised through the UNLV offense for the most part until the seventh inning where he surrendered three of his five runs, four of which were earned.

Pyatt went 6 2/3 innings,  striking out seven, giving up seven and walking just two while pushing his pitch count to 116.

“He gutted it out. We can’t make plays so he gets tagged with the loss,” Martinez said.

Rebels starter D.J. Myers went just two innings while giving up four runs, all of which were earned. It was right-hander Cody Roper that did most of the work for UNLV, lasting six innings after Myers was taken out.

For the second game of the series on Saturday, SDSU will be sending out junior left-hander Marcus Reyes to face off against UNLV’s Kenny Oakley. The contest starts at 2 p.m.

 

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