No. 14 Titans take advantage of Aztec errors

by Michael Manbert

SDSU sophomore second baseman Tim Zier drove in the Aztecs’ only run in a 7-1 loss to Fullerton. | Dustin Michelson, staff photographer
SDSU sophomore second baseman Tim Zier drove in the Aztecs’ only run in a 7-1 loss to Fullerton. | Dustin Michelson, staff photographer

The San Diego State baseball team was picked apart Tuesday night by a nationally renowned Cal State Fullerton squad that utilized several SDSU miscues to take an early lead that would not be relinquished.

The Aztecs sent sophomore right-handed pitcher Philip Walby to the mound, who had only a single start under his belt this season before facing the No. 14 team in the nation in front of a large crowd at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Although the final score would indicate otherwise, Walby pitched well. His defense, however, made quite a few mistakes in a game in which there was little room for error.

Fullerton would strike first, wasting little time getting on the scoreboard with a pair of singles and a fielder’s choice that saw it take a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning. Things would then get a bit sloppy for SDSU in the second as the Titans tacked on two more runs, both of which were unearned and caused by defensive lapses.

The Aztecs narrowed the lead to 3-1 with some opportunistic play and timely hitting in the third inning. With two outs, sophomore infielder Evan Potter reached base on an error, stole second, and was subsequently driven in by sophomore second baseman Tim Zier’s double that was slapped down the left field line, barely remaining fair.

The score remained 3-1 into the fifth, when SDSU’s defense committed two more errors to allow the Titans to put another run on the board. They would also score once in the eighth and twice in the ninth, which led to a final score of 7-1 in favor of Fullerton.

After only scraping out three hits in a shutout loss against the Titans in their last matchup, the Aztecs were again unable to get much going on the offensive end as they finished with seven hits — two apiece for junior catcher Jake Romanski and Zier, whose RBI double yielded the team’s lone run on the night.

“We definitely need to just stay solid and play good defense (in the future),” freshman pitcher Adam Anawalt said. “We also need to begin creating our own scoring opportunities. When we’ve been winning lately, we’ve capitalized on other teams’ mistakes rather than scoring on our own at times.”

“We feel that we can sweep in Vegas if we keep playing our game, and if our bats can stay hot,” he said.

SDSU will resume play at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday as it begins a three-game series against UNLV in Las Vegas.