SDSU Baseball finds offensive groove in 11-6 win over Northwestern

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SDSU Baseball finds offensive groove in 11-6 win over Northwestern

by Zach Engberg, Staff Writer

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San Diego State baseball used a late-inning push to lead them to an 11-6 victory over Northwestern University, In the first ever meeting between the two programs,

The Aztecs (3-10) have tripled their win total in their last two contests, as they have picked up two consecutive wins after suffering through a seven-game losing streak.

Even better, they finally exploded on the offensive side, scoring 10 runs in the last two innings on their way to their first dominant win of the season.

“We are really preaching focusing and finishing,” sophomore second baseman Justin Wylie said after the win. “We are focusing on grinding out the last couple of innings and getting the bats going late in games.”

SDSU went with youth on Thursday night, starting eight underclassmen, with redshirt-senior left fielder Spencer Thornton as the lone veteran in the lineup.

Head coach Mark Martinez touched on the young lineup after the win.

“More of it is that they’ve earned those opportunities,” Martinez said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman, junior or senior, the guys that are working hard and paying attention to winning baseball games and doing things right will get rewarded with playing time.”

Adding the Wildcats’ lineup, eight freshman started in the game, including SDSU redshirt-freshamn right-hander Harrison Pyatt. He  threw 6.2 innings and lowered his season ERA to 1.93 in his second career start.

And it was one of those freshman, third baseman Jordan Vernon, who got things started for SDSU in the fourth inning.

With sophomore shortstop Alan Trejo on third base and the Aztecs locked in a scoreless tie, the El Cajon native drove a single up the middle, scoring Trejo and giving them a 1-0 lead.

The offense handed the ball, and the lead, to Pyatt, who was dominant against the Wildcat lineup for six innings, tearing up the hitters with six strikeouts while allowing only five hits.

In the seventh inning, Northwestern used two hits and one sacrifice bunt to get runners on second and third base, and were able to get one of the runners across home to tie the contest 1-1.

The Aztecs, however, redeemed themselves with an onslaught in the bottom of the seventh inning.

After loading the bases on two walks and a hit by pitch, the third Northwestern pitcher of the inning walked in a run to give SDSU a 2-1 lead.

The Aztecs finally tallied a hit in the inning when sophomore center fielder Chase Calabuig, who went 2-4 on the night, drove in sophomore outfielder Tyler Adkinson.

Freshman designated hitter Dean Nevarez landed the final blow, blasting a two-run homer, the first of his college career, to left field, giving the Aztecs an 8-1 lead.

Nevarez continued his hot start, as he has gone 11-for-25 from the plate with four RBIs in seven appearances.

Northwestern put together a rally in the eighth, loading the bases and scoring three runs, but could not do enough to come all the way back.

“It’s a big confidence boost,” Pyatt said. “I think from here on out we’re gonna come out every game ready to go and we’re gonna have a big winning streak.”

They will, however, still have a lot of work to do to continue to improve, according to Martinez.

“We always tell our guys, ‘winning is hard,'” Martinez said, “and sometimes that gets lost.

“But we’re trying to focus on the process. We have to continue to prove ourselves each game and each week in order to extend our season into June.”

Notes

Justin Wylie quietly had three RBIs, and is the first Aztec to drive in 10 runs on the season.

Thursday was also the first time on the season that SDSU notched 10 runs on the scoreboard, although they have allowed double-digit runs three times this year.

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