What a series against UNLV.
In the San Diego State Aztecs’ first conference series, they were swept by the visiting Rebels. They followed it up with a 6-4 loss to Iowa. While things are on a downward trend, the young team is gaining much-needed experience.
The Aztecs are hoping San Jose State University is the perfect team to get some positive momentum going.
3 San Jose State Spartans to know
Charles McAdoo #21 2B
The Sophomore is a prolific slugger at second base. He boasts a .394/.494/.606/1.100 slash line, good for the third-highest OPS in the Mountain West. Be on the lookout for him to try to swipe some bags as he sneakily has four steals on the year.
Aaron Eden #88 SP
This name will be familiar to Aztec fans. Eden played three seasons at SDSU before transferring to SJSU this season. Back in the rotation, he has thrown 22.2 pitches and owns a 5.16 ERA. On the surface, that does not look like much, but it holds up when looking at a pitching staff riddled with ERAs of 10.00 or higher.
Hunter Dourragh #7 RF
Something clicked with Dourragh transferred from Sacramento State. He found a new power stroke, which is evident in his conference-leading seven home runs.
3 Keys to the SDSU Aztecs series at SJSU
Find a way to deliver late in the game
More than any other reason, the losses to UNLV sting because SDSU blew each game in the final innings. SDSU had the lead going into the 7th inning in all three contests against the Rebels. In those final three innings, they could not close out the victory. 13 of UNLV’s 19 total runs came in the 7th inning or later.
What caused the breakdown?
With this SDSU team, there might be no blowout victories this season. The pitching creates low-scoring games with very little wiggle room. In the series, it came down to some untimely errors. In game 3, an error led to three unearned runs scoring in a 10-8 game. Game 2 saw one error deliver the winning run for UNLV. This team does not have a problem on defense; it has a problem with making mistakes in the worst situations.
2. Find some offensive explosion
Another reason for the late game breakdowns? Razor-thin margins to hold on to. The offense is trending upwards, but they need to make a giant leap. 13 runs against UNLV’s weak pitching core is just okay.
The bar is raised even higher for this series.
SJSU has an astonishingly high 8.05 team ERA and is approaching a run per inning. Look toward the usual suspects of Caden Miller and Cole Carrigg leading the offense but keep an eye for Johnny Giannola and Tyler Glowacki to make an impact. Could Brian Leonhardt return to 2021 form?
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3. First away series pressure
The Aztecs have played a whopping four games outside of Tony Gwynn Stadium this season, and three of those were on neutral territory at the MLB4 tournament. This will be their first true away series of the year.
How will the team react? Coach Martinez may opt for more subs and rest days while many players acclimate to their first collegiate road series.
Evan is a student finishing up a degree in Finance from Northern Arizona University. The ability to break down numbers and find the story behind them has lead to his first of writing for East Village times. He covers baseball which is the sport he grew up playing and has followed even after his playing years.