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

Delayed game shakes things up as No. 24 Aztecs falls to Minnesota

Dee Dee Hernandez had 5 strikeouts in just 2 innings in Aztecs’ 5-3 loss to the Golden Gophers
Chinedu Nwoffiah
San Diego State first base/designated player Mac Barbara races to beat the throw at first base against Minnesota on Friday, Feb. 9 at SDSU Softball Stadium. Barbara had an RBI double in the sixth inning of the No. 24 Aztecs’ 5-3 loss to the Golden Gophers.

What was thought to be a normal evening game for the San Diego State softball team turned into a night game.

As the evening got darker, so did the diamond on Friday night. The stadium lights were not turning on during the previous game — Minnesota vs. UC Santa Barbara — ultimately, delaying the SDSU and Minnesota game by one hour and 20 minutes.

The first pitch was at 6:50 p.m. against the Gophers who came out aggressive, scoring 5 runs in the first two innings. The Aztecs had a slow start offensively and defensively with two errors.

“Right now we just need to settle in. There is the pressure of expectation. We are playing really good teams, top 30 teams. Every pitcher and batter we face is legit. This is what we signed up for,” said head coach Stacy Nuveman Deniz. “Our bats have been quiet, so we need more offense.”

Despite the five-run deficit throughout four and a half innings for SDSU, the Aztecs had a little momentum shift when Macey Keester hit an RBI single bringing Angie Yellen home.

Following the offensive jolt, the Aztecs made a change on the mound at the top of the sixth. Dee Dee Hernandez came in and wheeled and dealed on the mound Friday after a tough start Thursday.

Hernandez spoke about her pitching performance.

“Instead of keeping things internal, I start vocalizing things, talking to (coach Nuveman Deniz) about my plan of attack and also our pitching staff. We come together before the game, talk about goals we have and how they can help us and hold us accountable,” Hernandez said.

“Allie Light just did a good job of locking in with me, telling me what the umpire is looking for, and how I can be successful in the game.”

Hernandez was responsible for five of the six outs she recorded, picking up five strikeouts, allowing only two hits and zero runs.

“She looked confident. She got right back on the horse, really solid, and really confident. That’s what we need out of her and to be a compliment for our other pitchers,” Nuveman Deniz said.

As the seventh inning crept up on the Aztecs, Mac Barbara, 2023 Mountain West Player of the Year and 2024 Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year,  doubled and sent Micaela Maracio home from first base.

With a pinch runner in for Barbara, Elianna Reyes, on second base, moved to third base on a ground out. Then, Alyssa Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to center field for the RBI to bring in Reyes.

The odds were not in the Aztec’s favor as the Gophers collected the final three outs and defeated SDSU, 5-3.

“We are going to be fine, just this first weekend we feel a little bit tight. Once we can settle in and let our true selves show, we are going to be in good shape,” Nuveman Deniz said.

This weekend was a great way for SDSU to shake off the nerves, and make some adjustments early on in the season to prepare for the tough schedule they have ahead of them.

“If we play solid defense, get good pitching in the circle, we just have to get the bats going,” Nuveman Deniz said. “Once we get rolling, that pressure of the start of the season will wear off and we can be us.”

The last day of the San Diego State University Season Kickoff is Sunday.

The Aztecs have a doubleheader on Saturday, facing No. 29 Kentucky at 4:30 p.m. and UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. at the SDSU Softball Stadium.