Baseball To Open Conference Season at UNM

March 15, 2012

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San Diego State opens its 2012 Mountain West season this week as it travels to Albuquerque to face New Mexico in a three-game series. The Aztecs-Lobos series will begin with a contest scheduled for Friday, March 16, at 6:00 p.m. (MT) at Isotopes Park. SDSU and UNM will also meet for games on Saturday (March 17) and Sunday (March 18) at 2:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. respectively.

SDSU leads its series against New Mexico by the count of 97-55. The teams faced each other for the first time in 1960 and were members of the Western Athletic Conference for 21 years before they moved to the Mountain West Conference in 2000. The Lobos have won 12 of the last 18 meetings between the teams dating back to the 2008 season. Last season the teams met in a three-game series at Tony Gwynn Stadium with the Aztecs winning two of those contests. San Diego State has a record of 62-25 vs. UNM in San Diego, 31-27 in Albuquerque and 4-3 on neutral fields.

Freshman outfielder Greg Allen has the team's current longest hitting streak at six games. During the steak he is hitting .391 (9-for-23) with a double and four runs scored. Center fielder Cody Smith had an 11-game streak end in the contest against St. Mary's on Saturday (March 10) During his streak, Smith recorded a double, five RBI and seven runs scored. Freshman infielder Steven Pallares had his nine-game hitting stopped alt Friday (March 9) vs. St. Mary's. During his streak, Pallares hit .360 (9-for-25) with six runs scored. Pallares has reached base safely (via hit, walk or hit by pitch) in each of his last 11 games

Junior right-hander Travis Pitcher recorded 13 strikeouts in six innings of work against St. Mary's last Saturday (March 10). It was the most strikeouts by an Aztec hurler since Corey Black struck out 13 over eight innings vs. Arkansas on March 12, 2011. Pitcher has struck out 21 batters in 19 innings this season. Opponents are hitting only .194 against him, a figure that leads the Mountain West this week. Pitcher is a first-year Aztec who came to SDSU from Cypress Junior College last fall.

Senior utility man Chris Wilson, who began the season hitless in his first 12 at bats, collected three hits in the series final vs. St. Mary's on Sunday (March 11). One of those hits was a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth that sent the contest into extras innings. Wilson also scored a pair of runs and walked once in that contest.

Junior first baseman John Spirk hit his second home run of the season in the game against St. Mary's on Sunday (March 11). During the three-game series vs. the Gaels, he went 4-for-11 with a pair of walks and also scored in each contest. Spirk has accounted for two of the team's three homers in 2012.

Sophomore right-hander Justin Hepner recorded his first two career saves and his first win as an Aztec over an eight-day span recently. In SDSU's win over San Francisco last Saturday (March 3), he went the final three innings, allowing no runs on four hits with four strikeouts for the save. On Tuesday, March 6, at Long Beach State, he came on to pitch with the score tied at 1-1, going the final two innings in a contest won by SDSU in the final frame, to record his first collegiate win. Last Saturday (March 10) vs. St. Mary's, he tossed the final three frames in a 4-1 Aztec victory to record another save. Over his last three relief appearances covering 7.2 innings, Hepner has allowed no runs on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

Evan Potter's three sacrifice bunts against St. Mary's last Sunday (March 11) tied an SDSU record. The only other player to record three sac bunts in a game is former catcher Brian Manfred, who did so against Utah on March 5, 2001. Potter's five sacrifice buns are the most by a player in the Mountain West this season.

Junior Ryan Doran has allowed only one run in his last two outings covering 11 innings. That included a start at Long Beach State on March 6 (7.0 innings, 1 run, 5 hits) and 4.0 innings of relief vs. St. Mary's on March 11 (0 runs, 3 hits). His earned run average in those two appearances was 0.82. His 1.80 ERA this season ranks third in the conference this week.

The Aztecs', who began the year with a 3-6 record, have won six of their last eight contests ... Travis Pitcher (2-0) is the only SDSU starter to record a win this season. The Aztecs' other seven victories have been credited to relievers ... After giving up four earned runs in 0.1 innings in the season opener vs. Washington, freshman left Mike Robards has allowed just one in his subsequent six relief appearances covering 5.1 innings ... Catcher Jake Romanski had a four-game hitting streak end in the series finale against St. Mary's on March 11. It also broke a string of four games in which he drove in a run ... Seby Zavala has recorded at least one hit in four of the last five games in which he has played included the final two vs. St. Mary's last weekend ... SDSU had a five-game win streak ended last Friday (March 9) vs. St. Mary's. That steak was its longest since May 201 when it had a five-game streak. The last time SDSU had a longer streak was during the 2009 campaign when it won six in a row on two occasions ... San Diego's .284 team batting average is the highest in the Mountain West this week ... Cody Smith's 20 hits is the second-most in the conference.