SDSU wins first road series at New Mexico since 2004
Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
May 6, 2018 (Albuquerque) - The San Diego State baseball team defeated New Mexico, 7-3, in its series finale at Santa Ana Star Field on Sunday afternoon to capture a series win over the Lobos. SDSU improves to 33-15 (15-8 Mountain West), while UNM drops to 16-30-1 (9-18 MW).
For the second consecutive game, SDSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Aztecs capitalized on a two-out error by New Mexico left fielder Derek Marshall, as the miscue opened the door for Julian Escobedo's two-RBI double that plated Granite Hills alum Jordan Verdon and Dean Nevarez.
After New Mexico responded with a two-run third inning, SDSU extended its lead to 4-2 in the ensuing frame, as Casey Schmitt hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Escobedo.
The two-run third inning was SDSU starter Jorge Fernandez's one of few blemishes on the afternoon, as the senior right-hander was one out shy of his third consecutive quality start, pitching 5.2 innings with three runs and seven hits allowed.
Fernandez allowed a two-out RBI single to UNM's Dan Herrera to cut the Aztec lead to 4-3. SDSU then turned towards Garrett Hill, who was making his first career relief appearance and left a pair of runners stranded, including the potential game-tying run at third base.
Hill again left the potential game-tying run stranded again in the seventh, forcing Dan Collier into an inning-ending 4-3 groundout.
Schmitt took over on the hill for a six-out save opportunity in the bottom of the eighth. Schmitt worked around a leadoff single by Derek Marshall, who eventually ended up at third base after a pair of groundouts. Schmitt ended the threat and continued the late-inning trend of stranding runners in scoring position after inducing a Garrett Goldsmith groundout to end the inning.
The Aztecs came through with a trio of insurance runs -- all with two outs -- in the top of the ninth. Jacob Maekawa, who doubled to start the inning, traded places with Chase Calabuig after he ripped a ground-rule double over the wall in left-center field. Two pitches later, Jordan Verdon singled up the middle to bring home Calabuig and to cap the ninth-inning scoring, Escobedo posted his fourth hit of the day after singling through the right side of the infield to score Verdon.
Schmitt recorded his ninth save of the season after posting a scoreless ninth inning.
Escobedo led the SDSU lineup, posting a career-high four hits in a 4-for-4 performance with three RBIs. Chase Calabuig and Dean Nevarez also had strong showings at the plate, going 3-for-5 and 2-for-4, respectively.
- San Diego State has won 11 of its last 13 games. It's the best 13-game stretch for SDSU since starting the 2015 season 12-1.
- SDSU won its first weekend series at New Mexico since taking two-of-three from the Lobos from March 26-28, 2004.
- SDSU is now a perfect 11-0 in series finales and a perfect 5-0 in rubber games this season. The Aztecs are also 12-1 when playing on Sundays this season and captured its fourth consecutive weekend series win with today's victory.
- San Diego State won its 80th consecutive game when leading after eight innings.
- Chase Calabuig and Julian Escobedo extended their on-base streaks to 18 and 12 games, respectively. Calabuig also owns a seven-game hitting streak, which is the longest active streak on the team.
- Over its last 28.1 innings pitched in conference play, the SDSU bullpen has allowed just one earned run, good for a 0.32 ERA in the last seven conference games.
- Casey Schmitt lowered his ERA to 0.35 after recording a two-inning save on Sunday. Schmitt has not allowed an earned run in any of his last 13 appearances (20 consecutive innings), with his last earned run allowed coming against Cal Poly on March 17. Schmitt's ERA of 0.35 is the lowest by an Aztec (minimum 10 IP) since joining the Mountain West in 2000 and all nine of his saves in 2018 have come in the past 34 days. Schmitt has not allowed more than two hits in any outing this season.
- Since joining the SDSU starting rotation, Jorge Fernandez owns a 2.14 earned run average and a 3-0 record. Fernandez is now tied for the team lead in wins (Adrian Mardueno and Garrett Hill), with six.
SDSU is back in action next weekend, hosting San Jose State for a four-game series beginning Friday at 6:00 p.m. SDSU and SJSU will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:00, making up a game that was postponed in San Jose earlier this season. Stay tuned for possible coverage of either game by ECM Sports.