SDSU moves to 5-1 after defeating Nebraska in day two of Tony Gwynn Legacy

Sophomore+pitcher+Troy+Melton+delivers+a+pitch+during+the+Aztecs%27+4-2+win+over+Nebraska+on+Feb.+22+at+Tony+Gwynn+Stadium.

Daniel Guerrero

Sophomore pitcher Troy Melton delivers a pitch during the Aztecs' 4-2 win over Nebraska on Feb. 22 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Luis Lopez, Staff Writer

San Diego State baseball continued its run in the Tony Gwynn Legacy with a 4-2 win over Nebraska on Saturday, Feb. 22.

The Aztecs once again struggled offensively to begin but started to pick things up later in the game, putting up a four-run sixth inning after falling down by two runs in the top of the sixth.

Aztecs starting pitcher Troy Melton continued his impressive start to the season by going six innings, giving up only two runs on four hits.

The win puts the Aztecs at a 5-1 record on the year.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game.

1. More late inning magic

SDSU could not get much going against Nebraska’s starting pitcher, sophomore Colby Gomes.

Gomes went five innings pitched, giving up only one run on two hits.

However, much like Friday’s game against Iowa, a pitching change would go on to ignite the Aztec offense.

The Aztecs’ first answer would come in the form of a fielder’s choice by senior left fielder Ryan Orr, which was followed by an RBI single by junior shortstop Anthony Walters to tie the game up at 2-2.

Sophomore catcher Wyatt Hendrie then followed with a two-run RBI single to give the Aztecs the lead at 4-2.

After last night’s win against Iowa, sophomore Jaden Fein mentioned how one part of the team’s approach to offense is a “next man up” mentality.

Head coach Mark Martinez agreed and said his offense is all about moving along.

“Pass the baton, don’t get too caught up in what you’re doing,” Martinez said.“If you fail, pass the baton to the next guy.”

Hendrie talked about the “next man up” concept as his mindset during his go-ahead RBI in the sixth inning.

“My only goal when I’m going up there is to get the next guy up, you get the next guy up, you’re doing your job,” Hendrie said.

2. Melton’s start to the season

Melton’s solid five innings of work continued what has been a great start to the season for him, as he gave the Aztecs 5.0 shutout innings on only two hits and with five strikeouts.
Melton talked about how he felt comfortable with his entire pitching repertoire on Saturday night.

“I had everything right from the pen honestly, I felt good with the fastball, changeup, and slider,” Melton said. “Normally I’m just fastball (and) slider, so it’s good to have all three. I felt good all day.”

Saturday’s game against Nebraska showed that Melton could potentially be primed for a big 2020 season.

This is essentially Melton’s first year as a real contributor to SDSU, as last year he only saw 2.2 innings of action in four appearances.

Melton is now ready to make a significant impact on the Mesa.

“It was good to finally get out there and start playing again,” Melton said. “Everything’s just been feeling good, so I’m just happy, trying to stay healthy and trying to help the team win.”

3. Aztecs’ hot start

The Aztecs have handled the start to their season well, and their 5-1 record to the season only confirms that.

With Saturday’s win, the Aztecs have now won both their non-conference series thus far. In addition to their win against No. 24 Cal State Fullerton, SDSU has gotten off to a hot start at home.

Martinez said every game — not just non-conference matchups — has importance.

“They’re all important,” Martinez said. “We’re not in a position where we can fill up the loss column and expect to be rewarded at the end of the year.”

Melton said the Aztecs have had to remain strong mentally and stay close as a team.

“A lot of our focus is being mentally tough, and I feel like we’ve done a really good job of that, Melton said. “Today (we had) a comeback victory, we’re just feeling good as a team.”

Hendrie said the team has a special bond, and these thoughts were verified after a few of his teammates gathered to watch his postgame interview with The Daily Aztec — followed up by a few aww’s and a round of applause for Hendrie’s compliments.

“I love the guys, we all love each other,” Hendrie said. “We’re just having fun, we pick on each other a bit, we get after each other a bit, but that’s what makes it special.”

The Aztecs will wrap up the Tony Gwynn Legacy on Sunday against Southern California at 2 p.m.

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