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

Baseball outmatched by UNLV, drops series 2-1

Aztecs lose in a high-scoring game against the Rebels
Soraya Morgan
Right handed pitcher Jadon Bercovich gets into a swing pitch at the mound against UNLV at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Aztecs dropped their series against the Rebels after falling 14-5 on Sunday, April 14.

San Diego State baseball (11-24, 5-13 Mountain West) fell to UNLV (19-16, 7-11 MW) by a score of 14-5 on April 18. 

After a scoreless first inning, second baseman Josh Quezada stepped to the plate with a runner in scoring position, giving the Aztecs a chance to lead. He answered by hitting a two-run home run, the first of his collegiate career. 

Quezada felt pride in his achievement but had his sights set on the bigger picture. 

“It feels amazing to get the first one out of the way,” Quezada said. “It would’ve been better if we won the series. This series was a big one for us, especially in conference play,” he said. “It felt sweet but would’ve felt sweeter (with a win).”

The lead from Quezada’s bomb did not last long as UNLV quickly answered in the third inning. Center fielder Rylan Charles started the scoring for the Rebels with a solo home run to right field. After the homer, they weren’t done for the inning, UNLV added three more runs to take a 4-2 lead. 

UNLV built onto their lead in the following inning. Starting pitcher Xavier Cardenas was chased off the mound after giving up a two-run home run in the fourth inning on Charles’ second of the day. 

Head coach Shaun Cole attributed the Rebels’ success against Cardenas to the experience in their lineup. 

“His secondary pitches weren’t really working for him, so if you’re just gonna throw fastballs to an older lineup like that, they’re gonna punish you,” Cole said. “Your starter’s gotta give you at least five (innings).”

UNLV continued their strong performance at the plate in the middle frames. The Rebels scored two runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings, forcing the Aztecs to go deep into their bullpen, which featured two freshmen. 

“Against an older lineup, they’re not gonna miss pitches like maybe some of our guys were used to in high school that they got away with,” Cole said. “In the short term, it sucks, in the long term, it’s a good learning experience for some of these young pups.”

Despite finding themselves in a 10-2 hole in the bottom of the sixth, the Aztecs continued to battle at the plate. Quezada added another RBI on a sacrifice groundout to chip away at UNLV’s lead, which he saw as a confidence builder. 

“At that time we were trying to get runs and come back and get back in the game, so getting that RBI felt pretty great,” he said. 

SDSU continued to chip away at the Rebel lead in the seventh, which led off with a home run from shortstop Finley Bates. Following Bates’ home run, left fielder Jake Jackson tripled to right field, which brought right fielder Shaun Montoya home to cut the score to 10-5. 

Cole saw the Aztecs’ offensive resilience as a positive on what was an overall disappointing day. 

“It’s a positive, that’s what I said to the team afterward. The offense didn’t give up, the offense kept pushing which was good,” he said.

After the pushback from the Aztecs, UNLV stretched their lead to 14-5 with one run in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth. The bottom of the ninth was a 1-2-3 inning that concluded the game and series for SDSU. 

The Aztecs travel to Long Beach State on Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.