Aztecs Fall to Mississippi State, 5-2, at NCAA Regional

courtesy of San Diego State Athletics

LAFAYETTE, La. - Mississippi State took advantage of an SDSU miscue to score four unearned runs in the second inning and went on to defeat San Diego State, 5-2, in the opening game of the NCAA Regional in Lafayette, La.

With the victory, the No. 17 Bulldogs (38-22) advance to take on the winner of tonight’s Jackson State-Louisiana contest tomorrow evening. The Aztecs (42-20), meanwhile, will play Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. against the loser of tonight’s game.

Friday’s contest started well for SDSU as it scored a pair of runs against Mississippi State starter Trevor Fitts in the top of the second inning. Brad Haynal led off with a double to left and advanced to third when a swinging third strike by Seby Zavala came on a wild pitch that allowed Zavala to reach first. Steve Pallares followed with a single through the left side to bring home Haynal. Zavala moved to third on a ground out by Ryan Muno and he scored on Evan Potter’s sacrifice fly to left.

Mississippi State, however, would respond and get all the runs it would need in the bottom of the same frame. After retiring the first two batters in the inning, SDSU starter Mark Seyler surrendered a single. He then got a ground ball to shortstop that was fielded by Potter, but his flip to second was high and put two men on.

An ensuing single by Matthew Britton drove in the Bulldogs’ first run to cut the Aztec’s lead to 2-1. Seyler then walked leadoff man C.T. Bradford to load the bases before Jake Vickerson delivered a three-run triple off the fence in right field allowing Mississippi State to take a 4-2 lead.

After giving up the two runs in the top of the second, MSU’s Fitts settled in and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced (including a caught stealing) from the third through fifth innings. The single he allowed to Steven Pallares to open the top of the fourth would be SDSU’s last hit of the afternoon.

The Bulldogs brought on Myles Gentry in relief to start the sixth and he proceeded to set down SDSU’s final 12 batters over the last four frames. Between Fitts and Gentry, Bulldogs’ pitching retired the final 16 Aztec hitters in order. Fitts would be credited with the win to improve to 5-3 while Gentry recorded his fourth save of the season.

Mississippi State added one more run to its total in the fifth with the run being charged to Seyler. The Aztec sophomore went 4.2 innings allowing the five runs (one earned) on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. With the loss his record dropped to 8-6.

San Diego State managed only three hits in the contest with two of those being singles by Pallares. The only other Aztec to reach base more than once was Tyler Adkison who drew a pair of walks in three plate appearances.