Baseball comes up short after grand slam ends upset bid against No. 14/11 Texas Tech


Jocelyn Moran

Redshirt senior pitcher Justin Goossen-Brown readies to pitch during the Aztecs’ 5-1 loss to Texas Tech on March 5 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Daniel Guerrero, Staff Writer

San Diego State baseball lost 12-9 to No. 14/11 Texas Tech after a ninth-inning collapse on March 6 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The Aztecs (6-5) blew a 9-8 lead in the top of the ninth inning after Texas Tech senior first baseman Cameron Warren hit a game-winning two-out grand slam off of junior outfielder and pitcher Julian Escobedo.

Escobedo, who went three for six with three RBIs and a home run at the plate, failed to earn the save during his collegiate pitching debut.

Head coach Mark Martinez said Escobedo’s first collegiate pitching outing was a lot to ask for out of his player.

“He had two outs and then he kind of fell apart a little bit,” Martinez said. “That’s his first opportunity for him to pitch in college, so that’s a tough task for anybody.”

Both teams matched one another in the eighth inning, scoring four runs a piece in their respective halves of the inning.

The Aztecs got RBI hits from junior catcher Ryan Orr, junior second baseman Mike Jarvis and senior designated hitter Chad Bible to match Texas Tech’s four-run inning and take a 9-8 lead.

Sophomore left fielder Matt Rudick said the run scoring was a step up from SDSU’s previous performances.

“I thought we had a good game offensively,” Rudick said. “The offense hasn’t been there as much lately. I thought we hit pretty well.”

Warren, sophomore center fielder Dylan Nuese and freshman shortstop Dru Baker all delivered RBIs tor the Red Raiders in their half of the four run inning.

Texas Tech also scored three runs in the fifth inning.

Aztecs’ sophomore pitcher Daniel Ritcheson walked the bases loaded and then walked Baker to bring in Neuse from third base. Sophomore pitcher Christian Winston surrendered the other two runs after Ritcheson was pulled.  

In each of their last five games, the Aztecs have surrendered innings of three or more runs to their opponents, a streak that dates back to the team’s home victory against Kansas State on Feb. 24.

Martinez said the pitching staff needs to throw more strikes to prevent high scoring innings.

“I think seven of their 12 runs were free bases whether they were walks or hit batters,” Martinez said. “We’ve got to eliminate that with our bullpen. Those kinds of things, definitely against good programs, are going to kill you.”

Rudick said the big innings negatively affect the way the team plays.

“It hurts a lot, obviously, because we put up a lot of runs previous to that and it kind of changes the complexion of our team,” Rudick said.  

Senior shortstop Angelo Armenta’s and freshman first baseman Brian Leonhardt both had RBIs in the first inning.

Sophomore starting pitcher Casey Schmitt made it through three innings of work before he was replaced by Ritcheson.

The Aztecs will look to get back on track when they take on Nevada on March 6 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.