Aztecs' Season Ends with 12-11 Loss to USC at NCAA Baseball Regional
LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - USC scored three runs in the top of the ninth to overcome a late two-run deficit as it defeated San Diego State, 12-11, in a wild game at the NCAA Regional at Lake Elsinore Sunday. With the loss SDSU was eliminated from the tournament and saw its season come to an end with a 41-23 record.
The game was one that saw the momentum switch between the two teams with the Trojans (39-20) finishing on top. It began with the Aztecs racing out to a 3-0 lead after the first two innings on RBI by Seby Zavala, Spencer Thornton and Alan Trejo. Zavala would end the day with four hits including a double, three RBI and two runs scored.
SDSU's three runs came against Trojan freshman starter Mitch Hart, who settled in and retired 12 in a row after Trejo's RBI single in the second inning. Hart's mastery over that period gave his team a chance to come back, and they did so impressively.
Aztec starter Cody Thompson tossed three shutout innings before USC touched him up for a pair for runs in the fourth to close to within one. A two-run homer by Timmy Robinson in the fifth gave the Trojans their first lead of the day at 4-3, and they extended their advantage to 7-3 with three runs in the sixth capped off by a two-run homer by AJ Ramirez against SDSU reliever Brian Heldman.
With Hart's apparent mastery of the Aztec hitters it appeared the USC was well in command and on its way to victory. But San Diego State would not go quietly.
The Aztecs exploded for five runs in the bottom of the sixth on five hits to take an 8-7 lead after sending nine men to the plate. The big blow in the inning was a two-out two-run triple to right by freshman second baseman Alan Trejo that scored SDSU's final two runs of the frame. The hit was Trejo's second of the game as he finished with three RBI as well.
SDSU was not finished, however, as it batted around again in the next inning, adding three runs to its total. RBI singles by Zavala, Thornton and Justin Wylie upped the Aztecs' lead to 11-7 after seven.
Unfortunately, the USC offense would have the final say in the contest as it scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth before rallying for its final three in the ninth.
Steven Pallares was on the mound in the ninth in relief of CJ Saylor when Martinez stroked a two-run double to right center that gave the Trojans a 12-11 lead. Tyler Gilbert (5-2) would toss the bottom of the ninth for USC, getting the final three outs to secure the win for his team. Pallares (1-2) would take the loss.
Pallares, who played first base over the first eight innings, and shortstop Danny Sheehan both ended the afternoon with two hits and two runs scored while Thornton recorded two RBI in the contest.
San Diego State concludes its 2015 season after registering its second consecutive 40-win campaign since 1990-91. The Aztecs won their third consecutive Mountain West championship, had seven players receive all-conference honors and produced the Mountain West Tournament MVP along with four other all-tourney honorees.