San Diego State restored order in Mountain West with a weekend sweep of San Jose State that put SDSU back at the top of the conference table.
The Aztecs (25-12, 17-10, .630 MW) won Sunday’s final 8-3 after taking both ends of Saturday’s double header at 17-3 (7 innings) and 10-6 points.
SDSU’s offense was led by the catcher position against the Spartans (6-17, 2-8), with second-year Wyatt Hendrie going 4-for-7 with two homers, five runs and nine RBIs in the double header and novice Poncho Ruiz going 1-for -3 with home run and four RBIs in the final.
After being swept a week earlier in Nevada when SDSU’s high-scoring offense went AWOL, the Aztecs came swinging toward San Jose State. They scored 14 races in the first three rounds of the opening. The pond began with first-time homers by Hendrie, DH Brian Leonhardt and third baseman Cole Carrigg.
SDSU closer to Tre Brown (6-1) responded to the call for his first start after 14 eases and threw four laps without allowing a earned run to place the Aztecs for victory in the second double-headed game.
Sunday’s final contained a much needed mound effort from a staff that has had its matches. Leonhardt started and allowed only one hit and two unearned runs before giving the ball to Aaron Eden (3-0), who allowed one hit over the next three innings. Four other Aztec relief workers kept the Spartans hitless the rest of the way.
SDSU has nine more conference games – all on the way to UNLV, Air Force and New Mexico.
This week: Saturday-Sunday at UNLV, 13.00 (DH) / 13.00
USD looked at a lost weekend before a four-run, ninth inning rally Saturday afternoon at Fowler Park delivered a 13-12 walkoff win against BYU. The victory made it possible for Toreros – who lost the first two games in the series 6-4 (10 rounds) on Thursday night and 11-10 on Friday night – to avoid a costly sweep.
USD (29-10, 15-6 West Coast Conference) slipped behind idle Gonzaga (27-13, 14-4) for first place in the conference, but Toreros are still controlling their fate since meeting the Bulldogs head-to-head last weekend in the regular season. USD is free of finals this week, and then returns for a series against Portland before meeting Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs, who have been out for the past two weeks due to COVID-19 issues in the program, lead the WCC with a .778 winning percentage. USD is number two at .714. Third place Portland (21-21, 13-8, .619) and fourth place USF (19-21, 14-9, .609) also remain in the title race.
USD-educated senior DH Thomas Luevano continues to lead Toreros in the beat with a .356 batting average, 10 homers and 56 RBI.
This week: Of.
Cal State Fullerton has the biggest success story in the Big West, but UC San Diego treated the Titans as 98-pound weaknesses this weekend.
Fullerton (19-24, 12-12 Big West) managed to win the opening 6-3 in 16 innings, then saw the visitors Tritons (15-25, 12-16) win 5-2, 7-5 and 6-1 to take the series.
It was the biggest weekend of the year for UCSD, who saw their pitching escalate after being beaten around for much of the season. The 14 races allowed in the series were the fewest of the staff in a Big West series.
UCSD senior right-hander Brandon Weed (2-2) finished things off Sunday by letting a run over seven innings with nine strikes.
“Brandon Weed was huge, pitching with great balance and competitiveness,” UCSD head coach Eric Newman said. “Coming back after a 16-inning game on Friday and winning the series is an incredible achievement for these players.”
This week: Friday-Sunday vs. UC Davis, 3pm / noon (DH) / 1pm.
Update of sea lions
Point Loma Nazarene (11-21) ended the season with a split of their four-match non-conference series with Fresno Pacific, winning the opening 14-3 and final 5-0. Redshirt novice right-hander Dylan Miller (4-3) ended the campaign with a four-hit shutout.
Redshirt novice player Otto Kemp was the Sea Lions’ offensive leader this season, hitting .360 with 10 home runs and 21 RBIs and .760 in slugging percentage over 32 games.
Junior outfielder / left-hander Baxter Halligan was a two-way standout, hitting .311 with 18 RBI while going 3-1 on the mound with a 2.45 ERA and 22 strikes in 22 innings.