SDSU Baseball: Rain, Rain, Go Away

Tino Bethancourt after batting practice. (PJ Panebianco/EVT)

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Players from San Jose State play hacky sack while the umpires discuss the fate of the game. (PJ Panebianco/EVT)

Rain, rain, go away; let’s play ball today! The Aztecs returned to the field after postponing their last three games due to weather conditions. Here is a quick rundown of their rain-soaked week.

SDSU dropped the first game of the series to SJSU 7-4 last Friday on March 10. All four runs came in the fourth and fifth inning. One run, scored by Tino Bethancourt in the fourth, came off a single RBI from Tyler Glowacki. In the fifth, Aztecs’ star Cole Carrigg tripled to left center to bring in runners Shaun Montoya and Drew Gianinni to give the Aztecs a 3-1 lead. Shortly after, Carrigg scored off of a wild pitch at the plate. 

Unfortunately for the Aztecs, that would be it for them offensively. While San Jose State hit a homer in the sixth and another two-run bomb to right field to tie the game at 4-4. The Spartans did not stop there. A base hit in the eighth added two runs to take the lead, and another hit gave them their seventh and final run.

Although a doubleheader was scheduled, the following game was suspended by rain in the top of the fourth inning, with the Spartans leading 2-0. This series was originally scheduled to be played in San Jose but was moved due to rain. It has yet to be rescheduled following another rainout. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t stop after that weekend. Tuesday’s matchup against UC Irvine was also canceled due to weather conditions. 

On Thursday, the Aztecs began a four-game series against the Big East’s best team in Connecticut (9-4). The Huskies came into this series on a three-game winning streak, including against Hawaii. They took three out of four from the Rainbow Warriors. 

Cole Carrigg warms up. (PJ Panebianco/EVT)

Thursday’s outing started off with celebrating Athletic Trainer’s Month. The team decided to do something to honor and appreciate Bronson Santillan, the team’s athletic trainer, by having him throw the first pitch. 

 RHP Jonny Guzman started Thursday’s game. With an ERA of 3.94, he tops any starting pitcher on the team. He was also third in total strikeouts. The Aztecs started strong with a minor error in the first off a failed pickoff attempt to second base. SDSU held the leadoff runner at third, as they escaped the inning with both teams scoreless. Jonny Guzman got his one and only strikeout of the game off of UCONN’s Ben Huber and induced a meek flyout to get out of the jam.

Outfielder Irvin Weems got his first “light show” of the season with a shot to left field, giving the Aztecs the lead. Right fielder Shaun Montoya followed up with a base hit of his own, igniting the bullpen and crowd. It was a roaring start to the series for the Aztecs. 

“First pitch, I saw it pretty good, so I knew I got this pitcher,” Weems told EVT after the game. “Second pitch, he threw me a slider in the dirt. He threw another slider in the dirt, and it got to a 3-1 count. Then we have this “30/40” call in the dugout, and I heard “30” called (which is an) inside fastball, so I knew a fastball was coming. I knew to be on time for it and not miss it, so I put a good swing on it, and it ended up being a homer. It didn’t help our team win, but I got the job done right there. We’ll see how the next games go.”

Guzman continued to keep Connecticut scoreless with two groundouts. The Aztecs had a quick second inning themselves, getting just one hit.

The Aztecs led 1-0 after two innings. Guzman was back on the mound for SDSU. UCONN started with a bunt base hit to third base from Ryan Daniels, who advanced to second off of a wild pitch. The next batter, David Smith, walked, which put the go-ahead run on base. Dominic Freeberger hit into a 5-4-3 double play. With the crowd cheering on a great defensive play, Ben Huber returned to the plate for UCONN and cracked a two-run homer over the center field wall, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead in the third. 

Down entering the bottom third, Junior second baseman Caden Miller hit the first pitch over the Hall of Fame wall in right field. He talked about it after the game.

“Scouting report on this guy (Ian Cooke, UCONN RHP) was fastball mainly,” Miller said. “It’s gonna come in hard, and he’s gonna work inside, so I was just looking fastball in, and first pitch got it.”

SDSU discusses its plans with a player from SJSU during a rain delay. (PJ Panebianco/EVT)

However, that would be the last time that SDSU scored on Thursday. The offense sputtered as UCONN got runs in the fourth and fifth inning. The Aztecs changed pitchers in the fourth, bringing in LHP Brian Leonhardt. Guzman’s night capped off with 3.2 innings pitched, allowing four hits, two runs, and recording one strikeout. Leonhardt’s night was quick as the coaching staff decided to put in RHP Ricky Tibbett right after Leonhardt gave up a base hit.

Tibbett ended the inning with his first strikeout out of the four he had Thursday evening. The Aztecs’ offense went down in order in the bottom of the inning. SDSU collected two throwing errors from the infield, allowing one runner to score to make the lead 4-2 in the fifth. SDSU tied their season high with four errors. It was the fourth time this season they performed this poorly in the field. 

“I just think we were trying to do too much and make too many plays. Trying to make something happen that wasn’t there.” Miller gave his thoughts about the errors the infield caused. “(We need to) just slow everything down; I think we try to work too fast. In practice, we do a really good job at slowing things down, and in the game, I think we speed up a little bit. So just doing the little things right.” 

Irvin Weems gave his insights on what went wrong defensively postgame, “I think we got to be more locked in on the defensive side. Be more vocal during the games and not make as much errors as we did today. Be more consistent with our pitching, and not allow as many walks, and have better two-strike approaches and two-strike pitches as well.

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(We) need to not try to overdo so much like we had that one play at first. Tried to backdoor the guy and end up throwing it away. Making overly aggressive plays, I think we just got to take a step back and realize what is going on in the play and not try to overdo things. Play the fundamental side of baseball, and I think everything will fall into place after that.”

The Aztecs continued their sloppy performance after the fifth inning. UCONN scored six more runs and ended up taking this game 10-2. The reserves for the Red and Black got on base, but none were sent home for the rest of the night.

In other news, it was a scary sight seeing star hitter Cole Carrigg go down after a stumble from his groundout to first. Carrigg appeared to misplace his foot on the base after sprinting as fast as he could, trying to beat the throw, and was on the floor for a couple of minutes. The good news was he could walk on his own to the dugout. We’ll see if he is able to continue to play as the series heads into the weekend.

The Aztecs are back again at Tony Gwynn Stadium for game two of the four-game weekend series Friday night at six. They will be looking to even the series.

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