Baseball begins Tony Gwynn Legacy with 3-2 victory over Utah


File photo

Then-sophomore left fielder Matt Rudick fields a ball in the outfield during the Aztecs 9-8 loss to San Francisco on Feb. 16, 2019 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Daniel Guerrero, Staff Writer

San Diego State baseball opened up the 2019 Tony Gwynn Legacy by defeating University of Utah, 3-2, on Feb. 22 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Sophomore left fielder Matt Rudick delivered a go ahead RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to help lift the Aztecs (4-1) to a win.

Rudick’s RBI came after the Aztecs bullpen gave up a 2-0 lead in the top half of the eighth inning. Sophomore third baseman and pitcher Casey Schmitt earned the save after escaping a bases loaded no out situation in the top of the ninth inning.

Head coach Mark Martinez said he was impressed to see Schmitt get the save.

“We competed our tails off,” he said. “Ninth inning, bases loaded no outs and a great job by Casey Schmitt… to see him come out and do what he did tonight was phenomenal.”

Schmitt struck out Utah junior center fielder Dominic Foscalina and junior second baseman Oliver Dunn for the first two outs of the ninth. He followed that up with a game ending ground out off the batt of junior catcher Zack Moeller.

Schmitt found himself in the jam after allowing the first two batters he faced to get on.

He walked left fielder Chandler Anderson and gave up an infield single to Matt Richardson after his bunt attempt was popped up down the third base line and fell out of reach of a diving Aztecs sophomore catcher Joe Fitzhugh.

Schmitt said getting his team out of the situation with a win was great.

“(The third out) was great. It was awesome to get that ‘W’,” Schmitt said.

Rudick’s go-ahead hit came after sophomore Casey O’Sullivan gave up the lead.

Ruddick singled up the middle to bring around Schmitt, who walked in his at-bat, from second base for the two out RBI and the 3-2 lead.  

Rudick said his approach in the situation was just to try to get something small.

“I’m just trying to do my part on this team,” Rudick said. “There was a guy in scoring position with two outs and I was trying to do too much. I was just trying to put the ball in play and it found a hole.”

O’Sullivan inherited runners on second and third base with one out in the top of the eighth inning after senior Justin Goossen-Brown was pulled from the game.

O’Sullivan got out of a no-out bases load against UC Irvine on Feb. 19, but could not replicate his success in this one.

He managed to get Moeller to hit a shallow pop fly to right, but an error by junior right fielder Mike Jarvis allowed Foscalina to score from third. The Utes followed that with single from senior right fielder Erick Migueles that brought Dunn in to score to tie the game.

The Aztecs added two runs in the bottom of the third inning after sophomore catcher Joe Fitzhugh lead off the inning with a double to left-center field gap.

Schmitt smacked an opposite field single to right field to bring home Fitzhugh and deliver the game’s first run.

Martinez said Schmitt’s performance showed the sophomore’s potential.

“(Schmitt’s) a freshman all-american for a reason,” Martinez said. “He didn’t get off to a great start, but he’s an exceptional talent and he proved that tonight. He has the ability to be really really good.

Schmitt advanced to second base after junior second baseman Jacob Maekawa layed down a successful sacrifice bunt with Rudick on deck.  Rudick pulled hard hit ball to Utah’s sophomore first baseman Shea Kramer, but Kramer was unable to field it allowing Schmitt to score from second and Rudick to reach base via an error.

Utah threatened to score in the top of the third inning when they had runners on second and third base with two out, but sophomore starting pitcher Logan Boyer was able to get himself out of the jam.

Utah’s sophomore shortstop Matt Richardson drew a two-out walk which he followed up with a double to left field. Moeller stepped up with the runners in scoring position and battled into a 3-2 before being, struck out by a high 3-2 fastball from Boyer.

Boyer exited the game after finishing five innings of work. He had seven strikeouts on the night while he gave up four walks and three hits in his second outing of the season.

Goossen-Brown was the first man out of the bullpen for the Aztecs and he cruised through his first two innings of work by setting the Utah batters down in order in the tops of the sixth and seventh innings before being pulled in the top of the eighth.

SDSU will take on University of Oklahoma in the team’s second game of the 2019 Tony Gwynn Legacy on Feb. 23 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

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