San Diego State University continues its dominance on the season.
Once again, they won the series, although that could be seen as a disappointment. They were 2-1 in the series but had a really good chance at winning the third game.
Let’s break down the series keys and take a look at each game.
SDSU Kept the Extra Base Hits going
In the series against UNLV, many clutch runs came due to even more clutch extra-base hits. For a team that leads the NCAA in hits per game, it’s shocking that they still need extra-base hits to seal the deal. However, in the first two games of the series, the extra-base hits weren’t needed. The pitching “carried the mail,” as coach Martinez likes to say. Still, the Aztecs poured them on. In the series as a whole, they had seven extra-base hits and resulted in over eight runs.
Wyatt Hendrie was the big slugger tacking on the extra-base hits. He had a double and home run on the track to win the MWC player of the week. In the series, he had five hits, five RBIs, and four runs. He also was able to throw out a runner against the fleet-footed Flacons. That marks the 5th individual award that an Aztec has earned this season.
Paredes repeated his success
Michael Paredes has been lights out in his last two outings. In 15.2 innings, he has given up eight hits, one walk, two earned runs, and struck out 15 batters. At first, he got the “Friday” starter role to give Troy Melton a chance to read the offense and create a plan of attack. Now it seems that this sequence is the best option for the team. Both Paredes and Melton have had two of their best starts.
SDSU shows Air Force how to fly
Coming into this series, Air Force had been the most aggressive team on the base paths in the Mountain West. It was going to serve as a chance for Wyatt Hendrie to show scouts how capable he is at playing catcher. In turn, Air Force managed two successful steals all series. Hendrie gunned out one runner, and Brian Leonhardt picked off a runner that got too aggressive.
The Aztecs successfully stole five bases in their seven attempts in the series. Matt Jarvis had three stolen bases which brought him up to 7-for-8 on steal attempts this season. Matt Ruddick was one of the runners caught and also sits at 7-for-8 on the season. Jaden Fein, not the stereotypical base stealer, went 1-for-2 this series to bring him to 5-for-6 on the series for SDSU.
Game 1 (Aztecs 9, Air Force 2)
This game is highlighted by Paredes’ great start. He pitched 7.2 innings while allowing five hits, two runs, one walk, and striking out nine. The 6th inning is when the Aztec bats came to life. They took advantage of two errors to score six runs in the inning, five of which were unearned. That six-run inning was enough to secure a 9-2 victory over the Falcons.
Game 2 (Aztecs 5, Air Force 1)
In the top of the 3rd inning, Troy Melton gave up a home run to Sam Kulasingam. That would be the only run Air Force would bring across all game. In the bottom of the third, the Aztecs would once again take advantage of an error. Caden Miller hit a double, Matt Ruddick walked, then Wyatt Hendrie hit a grounder to third. While that play should have ended the inning, the fielding error wound up with a bases-loaded situation. Jacob Cruce walked to bring in one run, then Jaden Fein doubled to bring in two more. Once again, Air Force put the game out of reach because their defense kept making errors.
Game 3 (Air Force 13, Aztecs 9)
This time around, both teams had costly errors. A total of eight unearned runs were scored and 21 total in the contest. After many strong appearances, Kelena Sauer started out the bullpen game. Unfortunately, his luck couldn’t hold up as he allowed three runs, two hits, and two walks in just one inning of work. He was pitching in the second inning but failed to get an out. Christian Winston, who replaced Sauer, also failed to get an out before being pulled in the 2nd inning. These two weak appearances lead to a five-run 2nd inning which set the tone for the game.
On the offensive side of things, Wyatt Hendrie was doing everything possible to keep his team in the game. He was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a walk. One of those hits was a towering home run that hit the light pole in left field. Mike Jarvis was often the runner scoring whenever Hendrie made contact. Jarvis went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs this game.
Jarvis has been a huge asset at the top of the order. This season he has had eight multi-hit games, three of which he had three or more hits. On top of that, he is a threat on the basepaths with the seven swipes previously mentioned.
Despite the great performances at the plate by these two, the pitching staff just kept giving up runs. The game ended 13-9 with Air Force avoiding a sweep. SDSU is yet to lose a series all season, but this was their best chance for a sweep yet. If they can figure out their pitching, they have a good chance at sweeping not just this series, but many more.