Aztecs lose 3-2 in extra innings to crosstown rival USD


Photo by Weicheng Han

Daniel Ritcheson throws a pitch during the Aztecs 3-2 loss to USD on Feb. 20 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Mayer Pohlod, Staff Writer

San Diego State baseball saw its season opening three game win streak snapped on Tuesday night, losing 3-2 to the University of San Diego in ten innings at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The loss drops the Aztecs record on the season to 3-1, while USD improves to 3-2.

Senior Jorge Fernandez was saddled with the loss in the game, while junior pitcher Justin Friedman came away with the win for the Toreros.

USD struck in the top of the extra frame for the game winning run after sophomore catcher Dante Gutierrez doubled down the left field line, following an error by senior shortstop David Hensley. 

SDSU started the game by sending freshman right hander Daniel Ritcheson to the mound for his first collegiate start, where he lasted 4.1 innings, allowing six baserunners.

Ritcheson’s only blemish of the night came off a second inning home run from senior outfielder Daniel Gardner.

“I made one bad pitch and the guy hit it really hard, but we’re all confident going into the weekend,” Ritcheson said. “We did a great job today, we were picking everybody up”

Aztecs pitching coach Sam Peraza said that the team expects big things from its young right hander.

“(Ritcheson’s) a big arm and a big prospect for us coming into the season, we expected a a lot of big things from him and we’re gonna bring him around slowly,” Peraza said. “We’re gonna give him another couple starts in the midweek and we’ll see how he settles in.”

His Toreros counterpart, fellow freshman righty Gabriel Ponce, allowed one run while striking out six through five innings of work.

Aztecs senior outfielder Chase Calabuig recorded his second hit of the night in the fourth inning, which led to the teams first run after an errant pickoff attempt sailed past the first baseman and junior infielder Jordan Verdon singled him home.

In the top of the sixth, Calabuig made a diving catch on a shallow pop fly to end the inning and hold a runner on second.

The Aztecs knocked Ponce out of the game after loading the bases in the bottom of the frame, with one out, but weren’t able to capitalize after junior reliever Anthony Donatella struck out the next two batters to get the Toreros out of the inning.

Freshman southpaw Jacob Flores, sophomore right hander Adrian Mardueno and seniors Jacob Erickson held USD scoreless over their combined three innings in relief for the Aztecs.

Fernandez pitched a scoreless eighth, but the tie was broken after he gave up a run to USD in the top of the ninth.

“We talk about picking each other up in the bullpen… they know that’s how we’re gonna do it,” Peraza said about his relievers. “We’re gonna pick eachother up, we don’t have a set bullpen of who’s going when, it’s just about matchups and we have plenty of arms to use out there.”

Senior infielder Grant Mayeaux was down to his last strike in the bottom of the ninth inning, but singled up the middle to drive home freshman outfielder Matt Rudick, knotting up the game at two apiece.

The hit was the his first hit and RBI of the season for the senior veteran.

“We’re a team that wants to win. I think it’s a confidence builder for me,” Mayeaux said. “I just wanted to do a job and help my team and grind through the rest of the game, and hopefully pull out a win.”

Escobedo struck out with runners on first and second to send the game into extra innings.

Up next for the Aztecs is a date with Arizona in the Tony Gwynn Classic, starting on Feb. 22 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.