San Diego State baseball defeated Kansas State 10-7 in the final game of the 2019 Tony Gwynn Legacy on Feb. 24 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
The Aztecs pounced on the Wildcats with an eight run bottom of the sixth inning that included a bases clearing three RBI double from senior designated hitter Chad Bible.
Head coach Mark Martinez said the bullpen and the eight run inning helped lead them to win.
“We got a great performance out of the bullpen by Justin Goossen-Brown and we had a big inning,” Martinez said. “An eight run inning and I think it was created by some really quality at bats.”
SDSU trailed 4-2 to begin the bottom half of the sixth, but took the lead with RBI hits coming from five different Aztecs
Bible highlighted the inning with his three run, two out double that brought home junior center fielder Julian Escobedo, senior shortstop Angelo Armenta and junior catcher Ryan Orr after the Aztecs had already piled on five runs.
Bible entered the game batting .154 with one RBI on the season as the team’s designated hitter, and said the three RBI hit was relieving after his early season struggles.
“I’ve been grinding this first part of the season, not having it my way. It just felt like a big monkey off my back,” Bible said.
Freshman first baseman Brian Leonhardt drove in the first run of the sixth inning with a single that brought home Escobedo and advanced Bible to second base after the two had reached base. Freshman right fielder Jaden Fein drew a four pitch walk to bring Bible in to score to tie the ballgame at 4-4 after freshman third baseman David Alamillo bunted his way to first to load the bases.
An at bat later, junior second baseman Jacob Maekawa gave the Aztecs their first lead of the game with a sacrifice fly that brought home Leonhardt from third and advanced both Alamillo and Fein for the 5-4 lead.
An RBI single from sophomore left fielder Matt Rudick brought home Alamillo. Fein advanced to home during the next at-bat after Rudick was caught in a rundown between first and second base after a failed stolen base attempt.
Bible said the eight run inning was due to the team’s quality at bats and their ability to feed off of each other’s momentum.
“We were just having good quality at bats. The opposing pitcher was kind of getting rattled and we kept stringing (hits) together and one guys feeds of the next guy,” Bible said.
Senior pitcher Justin Goossen-Brown earned the win, his first of the season, after a three inning performance from the bullpen.
Martinez said Goossen-Brown helped keep the team in the game.
“It was outstanding,” Martinez said. “He was really the only guy that pitched very good today. He did a phenomenal job. He kept (Kansas State) where they needed to be and gave us an opportunity to win.”
The senior lowered his ERA to 1.74 during the victory. He has pitched 10 1/3 inning and has struck out 10 batters so far in 2019.
Goossen-Brown said consistency in his daily routine has helped him this year.
“I just kind of try to have the same routine every day,” he said. “I work on playing catch and focus when I get out there.”
The Aztecs fell behind the Wildcats 3-0 in the third inning. SDSU’s sophomore pitcher Daniel Ritcheson surrendered a two RBI double to junior pitcher Will Brennan and junior second baseman Cameron Thompson delivered an RBI single later that inning.
Kansas State tacked on another run in the fifth inning after sophomore first baseman Terrence Spurlin hit a single to up the middle.
The Aztecs chipped away at the Kansas State lead in the bottom half of the third and fourth innings.
The switch hitting Armenta drove in Fein in the third inning with a shallow pop fly he hit in to right field and an inning later Fein singled home Leonhardt.
Kansas State’s scored a run in the eighth inning off of a sacrifice fly from junior catcher Chris Ceballos. In the ninth inning, the Wildcats threatened a comeback with another two added runs.
Freshman first baseman Dylan Phillips and sophomore pitcher Zach Kokoska singled home runs, but the Aztecs were able to shut the door on the comeback.
SDSU will play its next game on Feb. 26 at Tony Gwynn Stadium against University of San Diego.