No. 2 San Diego State Beats No. 1 Nevada 9-7 To Advance In MW Baseball Championship
RENO, Nev. – No. 2 San Diego State (37-21) defeated No. 1 seed Nevada (41-15) 9-7, eliminating the host of the 2015 Mountain West Baseball Championship. The Aztecs will face the loser of No. 3 Fresno State vs. No. 4 New Mexico in Game 10 of the tournament. Game 9 between the Bulldogs and Aztecs has been postponed to Saturday, May 23 at 11 a.m. PT due to rain in the area.
Home runs proved to be the difference maker between the two clubs. The Aztecs tagged Wolf Pack pitchers for five long balls total in the contest. Danny Sheehan (1-for-4), Seby Zavala (2-for-5), Andrew Brown (1-for-4) and Justin Wylie (2-for-4) all sent the ball over the fence. Zavala brought in three runs with his two homers. The Aztec defense also excelled, stranding 13 Nevada base runners.
“I was just trying to win the game,” Zavala said. “We have to find ways to win, and that’s what we did.”
“We knew coming into this game that they were going to put runners on,” said Wylie. “I have to give credit to our defense today.”
The Aztecs struck first in the ballgame, putting runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the first inning. Spencer Thornton stepped up to bat and hit a two-RBI double to the gap in left field to give SDSU the early 2-0 lead.
Nevada answered back in the bottom half of the inning when Austin Byler dropped a single into right field to send Trenton Brooks home and Kewby Meyer to third. During the next at-bat, Byler took off for second. An errant throw to second by the SDSU catcher sailed into the outfield and allowed Meyer to score. Coming around all the way from second, Byler was waved home and beat the tag at the plate to give Nevada its first lead of the tournament, 3-2.
Sheehan tied it up 3-3 in the top of the third with his second home run of the tournament. Zavala followed up with a carrying two-run shot of his own to center field. The Aztecs took a 5-3 lead before the inning ended with back-to-back groundouts.
Byler returned the favor with a solo shot to center field in the bottom half of the third, bringing the score to a 5-4 deficit for the Pack.
Playing down a run, Nevada put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Jordan Pearce, the freshman, found the gap in right center to bring both base runners home as Nevada reclaimed the lead, 6-5.
San Diego State tied it up at six in the top of the sixth as Brown hit the team’s third home run of the game.
With the game all tied up, the Aztecs put runners on second and third with Nevada closer Adam Whitt on the mound. An intentional walk put Ty France on first to load the bases with one out. Zavala grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, still tied at six.
The tie was broken in the top of the eighth when Justin Wylie homered to left field, bringing in two runs and giving the Aztecs an 8-6 lead.
Nevada scored a run in the bottom of the eighth, when, with two runners on, Meyer doubled to the wall in left field. Stevenson crossed home plate, but Brooks was tagged out attempting to score. SDSU led the Wolf Pack 8-7 headed into the ninth inning.
Zavala hit his second home run of the game, fifth for the team, in the top of the ninth to give the Aztecs an insurance run up 9-7 before Nevada’s last licks.
With one more shot at staving off elimination, Nevada loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with one out on the board. A foul out to the catcher and a strikeout, ended the rally and kept SDSU’s chances at a third consecutive tournament title alive.
Several players performed for Nevada in the close game. Stevenson went 3-for-6, scoring a run. Austin Byler brought in two runs and scored three of his own as he went 3-for-4 on the day with a home run.
You can follow all the MW Championship action at TheMW.com.