SDSU baseball secures first MW series victory of season with 4-2 win over UNLV

by Mayer Pohlod, Staff Writer

Redshirt-junior right-hander Cody Thompson pitched into the ninth inning for the San Diego State baseball team as the Aztecs defeated UNLV, 4-2, in the rubber match of the series which lived up to its rivalry.

Entering the ninth, Thompson got the first batter to fly out but was then tagged for three straight hits. Junior lefty Jacob Erickson finished out the game and recorded the save, ending the game on an exciting “strike ‘em out throw ‘em out” double play.

“He did a great job,” head coach Mark Martinez said of Thompson’s outing. “That was a veteran performance today.”

It’s the first series win of the season for the Aztecs, and their second win in a row against the Rebels. It counts as a season series win for SDSU against UNLV, as it’s the only time the two squads will meet in the regular season.

The win puts SDSU at 4-8 in the MW, with a 9-20 mark overall, putting it within striking distance of UNLV, who drops to 5-10 in conference and 12-19 overall.

Things were largely silent for the first third of the game, with both teams’ first hit coming in the third inning. However, the Rebels would strike first in the top of the fourth. Thompson surrendered a two-out single after retiring the first two batters. After an error by junior second baseman Andrew Brown, another single gave UNLV its first run of the game and put SDSU at a deficit once again.

But, as they’ve done before in the series, the Aztecs would not let that lead stand.

In the bottom half of the inning, sophomore outfielder Chase Calabuig singled to lead off. Sophomore shortstop Alan Trejo then attempted a sac bunt that rolled up the first base side. After a bit of miscommunication on the Rebels’ part, Trejo narrowly avoided a tag by UNLV pitcher Dean Kremer and reached first safely.

The next batter, sophomore infielder David Hensley, attempted a sacrifice bunt as well. His bunt went towards the third base side and was picked up by Kremer who threw to third in an effort to get the lead runner. However, he overthrew the fielder, prompting Calabuig to tie the game up at one a piece.

A wild pitch and a double by sophomore outfielder Tyler Adkison later, the Aztecs found themselves on top, 3-1.

SDSU would score again an inning later on an RBI single by sophomore catcher Hunter Stratton, that brought home Brown, who tripled to lead off the inning.

That would be the last run scored until the ninth inning, when UNLV put across one run but was shut down by the combination of Thompson and Erickson.

Thompson absolutely dominated the UNLV lineup, surrendering just five hits and two runs, neither of which were earned, while recording five strikeouts. He also worked at a blistering pace; the final time of the game was 1 hour and 51 minutes.

“Before the game today I told (pitching coach Sam) Peraza that I was going to keep it simple, try to repeat my mechanics,” Thompson said. “It’s a big win for us to get rolling on the right track.”

It was also Thompson’s first win of the season.

Up next for the Aztecs is a cross-town rivalry match against University of San Diego. The contest begins 6 p.m. Tuesday at Fowler Park on USD’s campus.