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

SDSU Baseball Collects its First Win of the Season Defeating Portland 7-1

The Aztecs hit not one, not two, but three home runs
Callum Wilson
San Diego State outfielder Shaun Montoya running past base during an inning against Portland on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Montoya scored the first run for the Aztecs that helped defeat the Pilots 7-1.

After a long game Saturday night that ended in defeat, the Aztecs were able to come out victorious Sunday afternoon to add the first win to their record. SDSU made a statement, scoring four runs in the first six innings and not letting any up until then. 

“It was great. The biggest thing for me is that our guys fought hard in those first two games, so for them to get a win off of their shoulders today, especially at home, and salvage at least one win of the series is huge,” said coach Shaun Cole.

SDSU’s lead-off hitter, Shaun Montoya, fired the bats up early with a base hit, stealing two bags on a passed ball, and scoring the first run thanks to an RBI groundout by Jake Jackson. To continue the rally, in the second inning, junior returner, Irwin Weems, went yard for a solo home run. 

“It felt good. I was more aggressive with the fastball and got the results I wanted,” said Weems, who hit the first Aztec home run of the young 2024 season.

Tensions were high the next time Irwin Weems was up to bat as he was nailed by the first pitch. This caused a ruckus from both teams but the umpires handled it by giving a warning to both SDSU and Portland.

Nevertheless, the Aztecs didn’t let this phase them. In the sixth inning, they scored two runs from the bat of Jake Jackson once again, who got on by his first hit of the game. Irwin Weems collected his second hit of the game and came home on a wild pitch. 

The seventh-inning stretch brought new power to Aztec hitters. Xavier Gonzales came out swinging and hit a solo home run off of the Pilots relief pitcher, Morgan Codron. The next hitter, Drew Rutter, walked to first and trotted around the bases when Jake Jackson hit a two-run bomb over the left-field fence.

“Since the fall, we talked about dominating the fastballs, on the mound and at the plate. I think all of our home runs were off of fastballs. That’s a big aspect of the game. We got to be able to hit home runs in this conference and if guys are going to get walked in front of you, you have an opportunity to hit a two, three-run home run, that can change the game dramatically,” coach Cole stated.

Offense wasn’t the only stand-out element of the game. Sophomore pitcher, Xavier Cardenas, worked hard on the mound to get his first win of the season. He collected three strikeouts, only allowed four hits, and did not give up any runs. 

“The nerves were kind of there, first outing, first start. I just rode my plan on staying consistent and with my routine. I really trusted all my work, and all my preparation which led up to today. Being able to [offensively] put runs up early on, gives us a lot of assurance as a pitcher. It doesn’t put too much stress on us to pitch” said winning pitcher Xavier Cardenas.

Then relief pitcher, Aidan Russell, took the mound in the sixth inning and sealed the victory recording six strikeouts, one hit, and one run.

“Both those guys did really well. I pushed Cardenas a little bit, knew he was getting tired in that fifth inning but it was good for him psychologically. The big thing for me today is that we reduced our walks, you can’t give the other team so many free passes. That is a big point of emphasis is that we have to reduce the walks,” said coach Cole. SDSU pitchers had a combined 18 walks from the first two games but only walked five on Sunday. 

The opening weekend of San Diego State baseball gave this young team a taste of what to expect for the rest of the season. The freshman this weekend opened with Jake Jackson recording four hits (one 2B and one HR), four runs, and four RBIs. Colby Turner also collected two hits (one 3B), and one RBI, while Jacob McCombs hit a double and an RBI, and both Sammy Kahler and Drew Rutter scored runs. Coach Shaun Cole said, “I thought our freshman showed very well. I was proud of them.” 

For the next game, the Aztecs will keep it at home playing CSU Northridge on Tuesday, February 20 at 6 p.m.


About the Contributors
Victoria Hamilton, Staff Writer
Victoria Hamilton is a second-year, communication studies major with a minor in journalism. Raised in the Salinas Valley, California, she grew a love for sports whether it be playing, watching, or commentating on games. Aspiring to become a sideline reporter, she joined the KCR College Radio and the Daily Aztec Sports section. Through the radio, Hamilton hosts a weekly sports radio show, color commentates on SDSU women's basketball, sideline reports for SDSU football, and hosts a podcast "Sideline Sounds." Through the Daily Aztec, she covers multiple SDSU athletic teams and interviews coaches and athletes. In her free time, she enjoys staying active under the sun, going to the gym, being with friends and family, helping out at her church, and of course watching sports.
Callum Wilson, Staff Writer
Callum Wilson (he/him/his) is an 18-year-old journalism major switching to international security conflict resolution. He is originally from a small college town in the middle of Kansas called Manhattan. At six years old he moved to Kansas City where he spent the next six years of his life. In the summer of 2016, he moved to San Diego where he graduated from high school. He did one year at his school’s paper before participating in The San Diego Union-Tribune Community Scholars Program during the summer of 2022. He has an older brother who recently graduated from UCLA. When he isn’t taking photos he is watching soccer, the NFL, and the MLB. Callum religiously supports Kansas City sports, Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, and the local men's team San Diego Loyal.