San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Aztec Baseball opens season in Scottsdale for MLB4 Tournament

Andrew Finley
The Aztecs will host the seventh annual Tony Gwynn Invitational in 2022.

To kick off the 2022 season, San Diego State Baseball will hit the road to play in the MLB4 Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona from Feb. 18 to Feb. 20. 

The tournament will be held at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the shared Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. They will be taking on opponents such as the University of California Berkeley Golden Bears (29-26, 2021), the University of Houston Cougars (19-34, 2021), and Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (41-19, 2021). 

The collegiate showcase tournament returns after a brief one-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The tournament was created to feature some of the best programs in the nation. In 2019 — the inaugural year of the tournament — competing teams included Vanderbilt (2-1), University of Virginia (0-3), California State University Fullerton (2-1), and a team returning to this year’s tournament, Texas Christian University (2-1). 

Aztecs’ head coach Mark Martinez said opening with a road series isn’t something his team is used to. 

“One of the things we do not do very often is go on the road opening weekend,” Martinez said. 

Each team will play in three games and some will be broadcasted nationally on MLB Network. The Aztecs will receive their national attention in their first game of the tournament against TCU on Feb. 18. 

“Really the idea behind it is for us to either open the season or sometime during the first couple weeks of the season, is to go someplace that is going to be challenging,” Martinez said.  “Mission accomplished; TCU is ranked, Houston is ranked, and Cal is going to be top of the PAC-12.”

 Each year, the MLB4 tournament hosts top-tier baseball programs and will provide exposure to a younger Aztec team that lost seven players to the MLB draft and free agency. The tournament will provide this year’s roster with the opportunity to go up against strong contenders from the Pac-12, AAC, and Big-12 conferences early in the season. 

The Aztecs finished second in the Mountain West Conference after slipping behind Nevada. The Scarlet and Black welcome 15 student-athletes with 10 freshmen and 5 transfers — three from Division 1 programs and two from California junior colleges.

Feb. 18 against Texas Christian University

From the Big 12 conference, TCU holds the best 2021 record of the four teams competing in the tournament at 41-19. The Horned-Frogs have previously experienced the MLB4 Tournament once before, competing in 2019.

The Horned-Frogs will likely be the team to beat for all-tournament teams after a dominating 2021 season with a conference record of 17-7, the title of Big 12 Conference Champions, and a NCAA regionals run in 2021.

Feb. 19 against University of Houston 

A member of the American Athletic Conference, Houston rode towards the lower end of conference standings in 2021 with a conference record of 7-21 but held an overall record of 19-34. 

The Cougars have a younger team, similar to the Aztecs, as 16 athletes will return to the program, of which only three were starters from the 2021 season. The team will also see 24 new additions to complete the roster. 

Feb. 20 against University of California Berkeley 

The Golden Bears ended in the middle of the Pac-12 standings with a conference record of 15-15 and an overall of 29-26. 

With two standout players being selected to the 2021 Collegiate National Team and the conference home run leader, UC Berkeley could prove to be a fit matchup for the Scarlet and Black on the final day of the tournament. 

SDSU Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament and Home Opener

Upon completion of the MLB4 tournament, the Aztecs will return home to host the seventh annual Tony Gwynn Legacy tournament at Tony Gwynn Stadium in San Diego, CA from Feb. 25 – Feb. 27. 

This year’s participating teams include University of Hawaii, University of Utah, and conference opponents Fresno State, and University of Nevada Las Vegas. The Aztecs’ first matchup of the tournament and home opener against Hawaii will be broadcast to Mountain West Network.

About the Contributors
Jenna Meyer, Staff Writer

Jenna is a third-year communication student from Seattle, Washington. This is her first year writing and reporting for the Daily Aztec. She hopes to work in the realms of broadcast journalism or as an in-game host for professional sports. Jenna follows Major League Baseball, specifically the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, as well as San Diego State baseball. She enjoys spending time on campus and in student organizations such as SDSU Women in Sports and Sports Business Initiative. Follow her on Twitter @jennaameyer.

Andrew Finley, '21-22 Assistant Sports Editor
Andrew Finley is 22 years old and was born and raised in Ramona, Calif. where he resides today. He is a junior who transferred from Grossmont College in fall 2020 with an associate's degree in journalism. During that time, Finley was an assistant football coach for his alma mater Ramona High School. He was hired straight out of high school as the youngest assistant coach on the staff. Finley is now an undergraduate journalism student with aspirations of being a professional sports reporter/analyst once he graduates.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztec Baseball opens season in Scottsdale for MLB4 Tournament