Pallares’ Grand Slam Catapults San Diego State Past No. 2 New Mexico on Thursday
LAS VEGAS – While holding a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, San Diego State junior designated hitter Steven Pallares hit a grand slam over left-centerfield wall to propel the Aztecs to an eight-run inning and the lead for good.
Pallares’ homer helped charge his team to an 11-5 victory over No. 2 New Mexico on Thursday afternoon at Earl E. Wilson Stadium in the 2014 Mountain West Conference Baseball Championship.
“I am definitely not the homerun guy but they gave me a good pitch. I put a good swing on it and it paid off,” Pallares said. “I was looking for a fastball in and I just attacked it.”
Aztec assistant coach Mark Martinez pointed to a few Lobos defensive mistakes to help his team’s confidence.
“Their mistakes defensively loosened us up a bit offensively on the way to the win. We were trying to play to match-ups with our pitchers because they are extremely good on the offensive end,” Martinez said.
The Aztecs (39-18) remain undefeated in the tournament and will advance to face the winner of No. 5 Fresno State and No. 1 UNLV on Friday night at 7 p.m. PT.
After six innings of play the game was tied at 3-3. Aztecs’ sophomore third baseman Ty France hit a hard grounder that got past UNM freshman third baseman Andre Vigil that was ruled an error in the top of the seventh, allowing SDSU junior centerfielder Greg Allen to come around and score from second base to break the tie, 4-3.
Prior to the offensive explosion in the seventh by the Aztecs, Lobos’ senior Josh Walker had held SDSU to three runs on three hits. Walker (7-5) lasted 6.2 innings and was charged for eight earned runs, walked three and had three strikeouts.
SDSU freshman pitcher Brett Seeburger (3-0) grabbed the win as he came in in relief of starting sophomore pitcher Mark Seyler who went 5.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. Seeburger pitched 1.2 innings while giving up four hits and one earned run.
Pallares led the Aztecs with four RBI on the day after going 1-for-3 offensively, while Allen and senior second baseman Tim Zier went 2-for-5 with two RBI apiece.
Aztec senior shortstop Evan Potter turned in a strong performance, going 2-for-2 on the day with two runs scored. Junior catcher Brad Haynal reached base four times as he went 2-for-2 and walked twice to go with two runs scored.
New Mexico compiled 11 hits in the game and was led offensively by sophomore shortstop Jared Holley who was 2-for-4 from the plate with one RBI and one run scored.