Aztecs shut out by Oklahoma in second game of Tony Gwynn Legacy


Abraham Jewett

Senior shortstop Angelo Armenta arrives safely to second base for a double during the Aztecs 1-0 loss to Oklahoma on Feb. 23 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Kyle Betz, Staff Writer

San Diego State baseball senior shortstop Angelo Armenta doubled down the right field foul line with one out in the eighth inning, sparking a potential comeback against Oklahoma on Feb. 23 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The Aztecs trailed 1-0 and were looking for their second comeback win in as many days.

Their plans, however, were foiled by Oklahoma junior right fielder Brady Harlan.

Following a walk by junior center fielder Julian Escobedo, sophomore catcher Joe Fitzhugh hit a sharp line drive to right field. Harlan made a sliding catch and doubled up Armenta, who was caught in between second and third.

The play ending the inning and the Aztecs’ (4-2) chance to win the game, as the they were held scoreless for the first time this season and lost to the Sooners 1-0 in their second Tony Gwynn Legacy game.

Head coach Mark Martinez said the team struggled offensively.

“Offensively, I think we did a very poor job playing our at-bats,” he said. “We gave a lot of at-bats away tonight and we’re a better offensive club than that.”

Armenta, alongside junior second baseman Jacob Maekawa, were the only Aztecs who had multiple hits.

Oklahoma junior pitcher Nathan Wiles pitched seven innings and held the Aztecs to four hits while striking out 10.

Martinez said one reason Wiles had such a dominant performance was his pitching arsenal.

“Our guys got spooked a little bit, (Wiles) had a four-pitch mix. They’re trying to cover four pitches instead of picking one out and being aggressive on that,” Martinez said. “That’s kind of where we showed our immaturity tonight.”

Wiles finished the day with a 0.86 ERA.

Armenta said Wiles was consistent throwing first-pitch strikes throughout the game.

“He was tough, he was throwing pretty much everything first strike,” Armenta said. “He was mixing it up pretty well, throwing his off-speed for strikes, so it was tough.”

The Aztecs received a solid starting outing from senior starting pitcher Harrison Pyatt, who pitched 4.2 innings and did not allow a hit until the fifth inning.

Martinez praised Pyatt’s five-strikeout performance.

“(Pyatt) had a really good performance tonight,” Martinez said. “Pounding the strike zone, he was aggressive. He definitely spent a lot of energy trying to keep a goose-egg up there.”

The sole run came courtesy of Oklahoma freshman center fielder Milan Walla’s single into center field.

Freshman pitcher Aaron Eden entered the game with the bases loaded to relieve Pyatt. Eden struck out Oklahoma senior third baseman Brylie Ware looking to end the fifth inning.

Eden allowed a hit and walk with two outs in the top of the 7th. Eden finished his night with three strikeouts while allowing two hits and a walk.

Junior pitcher Adrian Mardueno replaced Eden and retired Ware on the first pitch to end the top of the 7th inning.

Martinez said the bullpen’s reliability will continue to help the Aztecs win games.

“Our bullpen, again, answers the bell and does a phenomenal job. It’s kind of how our make-up is, we’re going to continue to tax our bullpen and try to win games.”

The Aztecs stranded eight baserunners throughout the night but had two prime scoring opportunities.

The first hit of the game was a Maekawa single in the bottom of the third inning.

Maekawa advanced to third via a steal and ground ball out, but a junior right fielder Mike Jarvis infield groundout ended the inning.

After Armenta and Escobedo were walked in the sixth inning, Fitzhugh hit a fielder’s choice, giving freshman first baseman Brian Leonhardt runners at the corners with two outs. Leonhardt struck out, however, ending the inning.

Pyatt was frustrated with the loss, but credited Oklahoma.

“It’s frustrating, but that’s a good team. That’s like the team we play in a regional,” Pyatt said. “That’s the type of atmosphere it’ll be; it’ll be a close game and pitching duel. We just have to overcome and try to score more and win.”

The Aztecs will wrap up the Tony Gwynn Legacy against Big 12 opponent Kansas State tomorrow at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

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