Five-run third inning keyed by back-to-back home runs
Photo: Andrew Martinez's three-run homer gave the Aztecs a lead they would not relinquish in the 9-5 win over USD Tuesday evening. Courtesy goaztecs.com
May 16, 2017 (San Diego) - San Diego State scored five times in the third inning to overturn a one-run deficit and go onto defeat the University of San Diego 9-5 Tuesday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. That rally was aided by back-to-back homes runs by Andrew Martinez and Dean Nevarez.
With the win, the Aztecs swept the two-game season series from the Toreros and improved to 37-16 on the year as they head into their final regular-season series this weekend against Fresno State.
SDSU jumped on top early with a pair of runs in the opening frame. A leadoff single by Alan Trejo and walk to Danny Sheehan were followed by a wild pitch from USD starter CJ Burdick to move the runners to second and third. Jordan Verdon then lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score Trejo before a single over the third baseman’s head by Andrew Martinez plated Sheehan to give the home side a 2-0 lead.
USD (32-18-1) responded immediately with two runs in the second and one in the third to go up 3-2. Those markers came against Aztec starter Jacob Erickson, who departed the contest after 2.1 innings in favor of Jorge Fernandez.
Fernandez came on with one man on and one out in the top of third and didn’t get off to the best of starts as he surrendered a base hit and single to load the bases. However, he induced a comebacker to the mound to get a force at the plate and ended the inning with a fly ball to right.
The junior right-hander would go on to retire 13 of the final 14 batters he faced and would get credit for the victory thanks to his team’s rally in the bottom of the third. His effort earned Fernandez the win as he improved to 2-1 on the season.
The Aztecs five-run outburst in the third started with one-out walks to Chase Calabuig and Sheehan. After a fielder’s choice, a double steal by Sheehan and Tyler Adkison resulted in a run when the USD catcher’s throw to third skipped down the left field line with Sheehan scoring and Adkison advancing to third.
Another walk, this one to David Hensley, put runners at first and third which Andrew Martinez cashed in with his seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot to left. On the very next pitch, Dean Nevarez duplicated Martinez’s feat, sending a ball over the left field wall to give the Aztecs a 7-3 lead.
SDSU Added a pair of insurance runs in its half of the eighth on an RBI single by Calabuig and sacrifice fly by Sheehan to make it 9-3. That lead, however, would be in jeopardy as the Toreros put together a ninth-inning rally against Aztec closer CJ Saylor.
USD made it interesting in the final frame by scoring two runs on four hits to make it a 9-5 contest. The visitors had the bases loaded with one out and the tying run at the plate before Saylor got the final two outs of the game on swinging strikeouts to nail down the win.
Martinez was one of four Aztecs with two hits on the night as he drove in four runs with the help of his three-run homer. Trejo (2 runs scored), Hensley (run scored, 2 walks) and Andrew Brown (run scored) all ended the contest with two hits apiece.
Up next for San Diego State is a three-game series against conference foe Fresno State that begins Thursday evening, May 18, with a contest set to get underway at 6:00 p.m. PT at Tony Gwynn Stadium. ECM will have live coverage of Thursday evening's game. You can follow @ECMagSports on Twitter for updates.