The San Diego State Aztecs baseball team continues to climb College Baseball Nation’s leaderboard.
The team won two of the three games against UNLV, while multiple teams ahead of them lost this weekend.
UNLV proved to be a formidable opponent, and at times they looked like the better team. Their pitching limited SDSU to only four runs in their first two games. It hasn’t been unusual for SDSU to put up four runs in a single inning.
Before going into a game-by-game analysis, let’s see the three keys to watch in this series.
- Who will play third for SDSU?
- Will Melton have the same level of success in the second game.
- Can both teams limit their bullpen usage on Saturday?
The third base question got a little bit murkier with the surprise addition of Fisher Pyatt as a starter. He started both games in the Saturday doubleheader and didn’t do much to earn his time. He was 0-for-5 with a hit by pitch. The one good part of his play was the defense, a positive change for how past third basemen performed defensively this season.
Cole Carrigg returned to the starting role on Sunday. He looked ready to retain his role as the starter. He went 2-for-4 with a triple and scored after both base hits. Defensively, he did his job, although in a very small sample size. Right now, whoever is getting time at 3rd will earn it using their bat.
Troy Melton had his best start of the season when he pitched in the second game of the series. Coach Mark Martinez said it helps to track the opposing team’s hitters and get an attack plan in place. In this start, Melton was his biggest enemy. He threw 110 pitches in 5.1 innings. He gave up six hits, three earned runs, walked five, and struck out three. It’s obvious that command was his big issue. The pitches themselves looked really good, with his off-speed deliveries being deceptive. He just wasn’t finding the strike zone enough to get batters to chase after pitches.
Game 1 (SDSU 3, UNLV 1)
Paredes deserves so much credit for the victory. He pitched eight innings, struck out six, and only allowed three hits which resulted in an unearned run. Fein looked like he hadn’t missed a beat, recording two doubles, a single, and a steal. In the outfield, Matt Rudick was showing off his range. In center, he had four putouts, and all of them were highlight catches like this.
Matt Rudick has been covering a ton of ground this. This is one of his many great catches pic.twitter.com/oI5j5lPde6
— East Village Times (@EVT_News) March 13, 2021
Game 2 (UNLV 5, SDSU 1)
The Aztecs were able to deal with Melton not throwing an absolute gem in this game. Typically their offense can support any pitching staff struggles. This game was the worst hitting performance for SDSU. They scored one run on five hits. The Aztecs struck out nine times and walked only once.
What is notable about Melton’s performance, and season as a whole, is his ability to limit extra-base hits. This game, he did give up a home run to Austin Kryszczuk, but that is only the fifth extra-base hit allowed all season by him. When Melton is missing with his potential its mostly results in singles and walks. When Melton is limiting the walks, he performs similar to how he pitched against Fresno State.
Game 3 (SDSU 8, UNLV 6)
This game had the setting to be a vital game in both team’s seasons. SDSU was supposed to embark on their first road series after this. Momentum would be huge. UNLV had the chance to win the series against the conference favorites. The battle itself was great to watch.
Diego Alarcon got things started for UNLV with a two-run home run. In the second inning, he would bring in another run with an RBI single.
In the third, Cole Carrigg would hit a triple, and Caden Miller would bring him in with a single up the middle. Then in the fourth inning, Hendrie showed the power he loves to flash. This solo shot brought the game within one.
— East Village Times (@EVT_News) March 14, 2021
In the 6th inning, a Mike Jarvis throwing error would allow two unearned runs to cross for UNLV. The Aztecs were down 5-2.
Then in the 7th, the Aztecs’ offense exploded. Jaden Fein would get things started with a leadoff single. A single by Brian Leonhardt and fielder’s choice for Ryan Orr scored Fein. Carigg grounds into a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning. Then Miller and Jarvis single to score Carrigg. Rudick hits an RBI single, and Hendrie is hit by a pitch. This brings Jacob Cruce up to the plate in a 5-5 game with two outs in the bottom of the 7th inning. A wild pitch by Troy Balko scores Jarvis. Then Cruce singles to drive in both Rudick and Hendrie. The Aztecs now lead the Rebels 8-5.
In the 8th, UNLV is able to get one back to make it an 8-6 game going into the 9th inning. Tre Brown comes in to close out the game. He quickly strikes out the first batter on four pitches. Then allows two straight singles. He bounces back with yet another strikeout before walking James Gamble to load the bases. His battle against Kryszczuk gets intense. The count is full in the top of the 9th inning with two outs and with a two-run lead. Brown blows a fastball by the batter for the final out of the game.
Tre Brown strikeouts 3 in the 9th inning. Aztecs beat the Rebels 8-6. SDSU also takes a 2-1 victory in the series pic.twitter.com/vWsEx28xj7
— East Village Times (@EVT_News) March 14, 2021
The Aztecs win 8-6 and advance to 9-4 on the season.