Aztecs say aloha to Hilo

by Staff

A five-game losing streak, including three straight losses to start off Western Athletic Conference play, was what the San Diego State baseball team was faced with heading into its first road trip of the season.

After being swept by No. 9 (Collegiate Baseball) Rice University this past weekend, the Aztecs (5-9) headed to Hawaii where they opened a three-game series with the University of Hawaii-Hilo (4-17) on Tuesday night.

In the beginning of the game, it looked as if the Aztecs’ woes would continue, as the Vulcans used five consecutive hits to score five runs in the first inning.

But SDSU was able to come back and hold on for a 10-8 win, putting an end to its losing streak.

“They made some errors, which let us back in,” Aztecs head coach Jim Dietz said, “and we just kept plugging away.”

Down 6-2 in the fourth, SDSU capitalized on two Hilo errors and scored four runs in the inning to tie the game 6-6.

The same scenario played out in the fifth and sixth innings as the Aztecs capitalized on three more costly Vulcan errors, combined with some clutch hitting, to score a total of four runs.

SDSU’s lineup looked a little different from lineups past for this non-conference game. Freshman Beau Barcus (1-for-4, 1 RBI) got the start at third base, giving usual starter Alex Pelaez a rest. Pelaez was moved to the designated hitter spot, where he continued his hot hitting, belting two home runs and driving in three.

The outfield also had a different look to it as Damien Kolb (2-for-3, 1 RBI) started instead of Jason Pacheco in center, and in right Ryan Hurd was 1-for-3 and scored twice.

“I was just trying to play some guys,” Dietz said of all the changes.

“I was trying to get them some innings.”

Freshman pitcher Mike Garber got his first start of the year. He gave up eight hits and six earned runs in his four-inning stint before eventual winner Joe Bernhard came in.

With his strong three-plus innings of relief, Bernhard picked up his second win of the season and some praise from his coach.

“I was happy with the young freshman’s (Garber) performance,” Dietz said. “I thought Bernhard and (Ruben) Aguilera did a good job, too.”

The Aztecs are hoping this win will get them started on a different kind of streak: a winning one.

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