The Daily Aztec

Aztecs fall to No. 4 Arkansas, 5-2, after ninth inning letdown

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Arkansas junior shortstop Jax Biggers beats the throw to second base during the Aztecs 5-2 loss to the No. 4 Razorbacks on Feb. 24 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Arkansas junior shortstop Jax Biggers beats the throw to second base during the Aztecs 5-2 loss to the No. 4 Razorbacks on Feb. 24 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Arkansas junior shortstop Jax Biggers beats the throw to second base during the Aztecs 5-2 loss to the No. 4 Razorbacks on Feb. 24 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Mayer Pohlod, Staff Writer

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San Diego State baseball held tough with No. 4 University of Arkansas for eight innings, but a three-run ninth gave the Razorbacks a 5-2 win on a chilly Saturday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The defeat drops the Aztecs to 4-2 on the season, while Arkansas improves its record to 5-1.

Sophomore southpaw Matt Cronin (2-0) picked up the win for the Razorbacks, while freshman righthander Daniel Ritcheson (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season. 

The score was tied at two apiece in the top of the ninth inning, but Arkansas would score three runs in the frame without recording a single hit.

Senior infielder Jared Gates walked to get on base to start the inning, and pinch running sophomore Jordan McFarland scored the winning run after a throwing error by senior third baseman Grant Mayeaux brought him home on a sacrifice bunt.

The Razorbacks added two insurance runs after a sacrifice fly scored junior catcher Grant Koch and a bases loaded walk scored freshman third baseman Casey Martin.

SDSU went down in order in the bottom half of the inning after a flyout and two strikeouts.

Aztecs head coach Mark Martinez said that his team did a good job sticking with one of the top ranked teams in the country, but allowing free bases was their undoing.

“We only gave up three hits, so it’s obvious we’re good enough to handle (Arkansas),” Martinez said. “I think where we got ourselves in trouble was walking people… the mistakes were free bases and a big error on that bunt play.”

In total, the Aztecs walked nine batters and hit two.

Junior pitcher Harrison Pyatt started for SDSU, and stymied Arkansas lineup through five innings of work, allowing only one hit.

Arkansas had a combined 10 home runs between their starting lineup coming into the game, and Pyatt was able to stifle their power bats for the first five innings.  

The Razorbacks just missed against Pyatt on a few balls to the warning track, before junior right fielder Eric Cole took him deep on the first pitch of the sixth inning.

“(Pyatt) puts himself in a hole sometime, but he’s got really good stuff,” Martinez said. “He pitched well enough for us to win, but he’s got to be able to pitch deeper in the game with the stuff he has.”

Pyatt was pulled for freshman pitcher Daniel Ritcheson after giving up a walk to the next batter, and Ritcheson was able to get out of the rest of the inning unscathed.

“I didn’t have my best stuff today, but I competed,” Pyatt said. “We’ve been competitive up on the hill the entire year, but this is the one game where we actually fell behind guys.”

The Aztecs tied the score back up in the bottom of the sixth, after senior outfielder Chase Calabuig lead off the inning by advancing to third after slicing a ball down the left field line.

Freshman left fielder Heston Kjerstad  got the ball back in quickly, but it bypassed three of the Razorbacks infielders, allowing Calabuig to advance to third.

Junior catcher Dean Nevarez singled home Calabuig to tie the game at two apiece.

Ritcheson would not surrender a hit until the eighth inning, when junior shortstop Jax Biggers beat the shift for a single through the third base side.

Biggers stole second and advanced once more on a wild pitch, but failed to score after shortstop David Hensley made an off balance throw to first to get the Aztecs out of the inning.

Arkansas only hit in the first five innings was a double to lead off the game by Biggers, who would come in to score after two consecutive sacrifice flies.

SDSU senior outfielder Denz’l Chapman recorded his first hit of the season on a triple down the right field line to lead off the bottom of the third inning, before scoring on a throwing error by Biggers to tie the game at one.  

The Aztecs threatened with runners on first and second later in the inning, but Nevarez lined out to the second baseman to end the frame.

SDSU concludes the Tony Gwynn Classic on Sunday against Grand Canyon University.

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