Aztecs topple San José State on walk-off single in 11th inning

Senior+shortstop+Angelo+Armenta+celebrates+after+clinching+a+victory+during+the+Aztecs%27+series+against+Nevada+from+March+8-10+at+Tony+Gwynn+Stadium.
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Aztecs topple San José State on walk-off single in 11th inning

Senior shortstop Angelo Armenta celebrates after clinching a victory during the Aztecs' series against Nevada from March 8-10 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Senior shortstop Angelo Armenta celebrates after clinching a victory during the Aztecs' series against Nevada from March 8-10 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Raymond Gorospe

Senior shortstop Angelo Armenta celebrates after clinching a victory during the Aztecs' series against Nevada from March 8-10 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Raymond Gorospe

Raymond Gorospe

Senior shortstop Angelo Armenta celebrates after clinching a victory during the Aztecs' series against Nevada from March 8-10 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Daniel Guerrero, Staff Writer

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San Diego State senior shortstop Angelo Armenta stepped up to the plate with two outs in the eleventh inning – the winning run was on second base and his team was down 6-5 to San José State – his approach was simple.

“I was just trying to get a good piece on it and hit it up the middle,” Armenta said.

With two strikes on the count, the senior did just that and sent his teammates flooding out of the dugout to celebrate the Aztecs’ (27-19, 12-9 MW) 7-6 walk-off victory over the Spartans (19-27, 12-10 MW) on Friday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The walkoff lifted the Aztecs to a half game lead over the Spartans for second place in the Mountain West standings.

Head coach Mark Martinez said this victory puts the team in the right direction to contend for the MW regular season title.

“We got to win them all honestly to be in a position to try and win the conference regular season, so this is one step towards our ultimate to win a regular season championship,” Martinez said.

Despite the walkoff win, the Aztecs were hampered by three errors that lead to three unearned runs and a 4-2 deficit by the fifth inning of the ballgame.

A throwing error from sophomore third baseman/pitcher Casey Schmitt in the second inning allowed SJSU freshman first baseman James Shimashita to score from third base.

Then, a throwing error from Armenta pulled freshman first baseman Jaden Fein off the first base bag for what would have been the inning-ending out to close the second inning, but it allowed SJSU junior center fielder Anders Davidson to score from third base in the process.

Martinez said the fielding errors are mental mistakes amid the high pressure games that can determine the conference standings as the season winds down.

“We’re playing tight, and we’re trying to do too much,” Martinez said. “It’s a little bit of a playoff atmosphere and it’s good to kind of experience it now when it’s regular season because we’re going to start to experience that down the stretch.”

But the fielding errors didn’t stop there.

After Davidson reached on a throwing error by Aztecs senior pitcher Justin Goossen-Brown, Spartans junior center fielder Anders Davidson was later brought home to score on a single from freshman catcher Ryan Belluomini.

Goossen-Brown finished his start after pitching 5.2 innings, allowing four runs and walking five batters.

Goossen-Brown said his start didn’t go as he expected.

“(It was) not great. I couldn’t really find the (strike) zone. I was just trying to hang in there and throw strikes,” he said.

The Aztecs chipped away at the deficit with RBIs coming from Schmitt and junior center fielder Julian Escobedo before tying the ballgame at 5-5.

Two-out hitting in the first inning helped give the Aztecs a 2-0 lead over the Spartans as both Fein and senior designated hitter Chad Bible delivered consecutive two-out RBI singles.

Junior Adrian Mardueno pitched 3.1 innings from the bullpen and allowed one run on two hits after Goossen-Brown was pulled.

Schmitt, the game’s winning pitcher, went from third base to the pitcher’s mound in the tenth inning and pitched two innings and allowed one run on three hits.

The Aztecs will play the second game of the three-game series against SJSU on May 4 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

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