SDSU vs. USD: Crosstown Clash in San Diego
Following a rough series against Fresno State, San Diego came back to Tony Gwynn Stadium for a crosstown clash against the University of San Diego Tuesday. The Bulldogs took the series, winning two games over the weekend. This two-game losing streak for the Aztecs dropped them one game behind first place in the Mountain West Conference.
“We’re close to the programs, coaches are close, and a lot of the guys know each other on both sides.” Coach Martinez talked about the anticipation of facing the crosstown University of San Diego Tuesday night. “When the game starts, that kind of goes out the window, and you want to beat your buddy.”
San Diego State started their 6-foot-8 junior pitcher Julian Jackson on Tuesday. It would not be long before things got interesting as Jackson struck Torero’s lead-off hitter James Arakawa on the shoulder with the second pitch of the game. Jackson was able to regroup and struck out the next batter, and converted a double play to end the inning.
“It was going to be a really high-energy game.” Jackson spoke on the preparation for the crosstown clash Tuesday night, “We know these guys pretty well and play them throughout the course of the season a lot, so we have to come in and do our jobs and just be sharp.”
Cole Carrigg gave the Aztecs their first lead with a home run just over the right-field wall. Carrigg came back into the lineup recently and delivered only his second light show of the season. SDSU capped off the first inning with two flyouts, with the one-run-lead headed to the second.
“I haven’t played in a few weeks, got some lefty at-bats this past weekend, but my main thing was just stay sharp and see the ball and just throw my hands at it.” Carrigg reflected on his bomb in the first inning.
A hitless second inning from SDSU allowed them to send Ricky Tibbett to the mound. The hometown kid has one win under his belt this season with an ERA of 5.68 and a total of 19 strikeouts before this contest. His pitching helped the Aztecs in the third inning, preventing San Diego from touching a base.
San Diego State started the fourth inning with their third pitcher of the game, as they went with the freshman Xavier Cardenas. Torero’s Kevin Sim singled to third baseman Cade Martinez, who lost the grip of the ball when he tried to throw Sim out at first. Shortly after, Cardenas caught Sim sleeping with a pickoff to Tino Bethancourt. Cardenas capped off the fourth with a strikeout as Jack Gurevitvh went out swinging on a fastball down the middle.
After leaving one man on base in the fourth inning, the Aztecs brought in yet another pitcher to the mound; this time, it was freshman Aiden Russell that began the fifth. Russell, on the year, has one loss and six strikeouts before Tuesday night, a young man who looked to make many improvements for himself and his team.
Russell provided a sense of security for San Diego State when he went through three straight batters in the fifth. Coach Martinez and the pitching staff went with a strategy Tuesday night as they brought in another freshman pitcher to start the sixth inning with Isaac Araiza. The strategy had been working all game long when Araiza struck out two of three batters faced in the inning, which brought the crowd to their feet with the last strikeout. The pitching had helped the Aztecs keep their 1-0 lead.
With the Aztecs reaching base only twice by the seventh inning, pitching was the tale to tell Tuesday night. SDSU brought in Senior pitcher Jonny Guzman to continue its dominating performance on the mound. Guzman has yet to achieve his first win on the season, pitching an ERA of 6.35 and a total of 17 strikeouts this year. Guzman was able to get through the three batters he faced in the inning and protect the Aztecs’ lead before the seventh-inning stretch.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, second baseman Caden Miller was able to drop a ball in center field that gave the Scarlet and Black their third hit of Tuesday night. A wild pitch advanced Miller to second, but Xavier Gonzalez grounded out to the third baseman of USD to end the frame.
If you thought that SDSU was keeping Guzman on the mound heading to the eighth, you were wrong. Sophomore pitcher Eldridge Armstrong took the mound and did not disappoint. With a 2.77 ERA and 30 strikeouts, Armstrong is one of the Aztecs’ most efficient pitchers on the mound. Armstrong went three up and three down in the eighth and struck out two of those batters faced.
Coach Martinez explained his reasons with placing eight pitchers on the mound against USD, “It’s a Tuesday game. Both sides are just trying to keep their pitching fresh for the weekend and conference series. We’re both battling. We’re trying to win a conference, and they’re trying to stay in the mix of their conference tournament. This has been (happening) the last couple weeks that we’ve been shuffling the deck a lot on Tuesdays or Wednesday games to keep our guys ready to go for the weekend.”
As the Aztecs got nothing out of their eighth inning, San Diego State brought in Kelena Sauer to close out the matchup against the University of San Diego. Sauer was the eighth pitcher to approach the mound Tuesday night. Bethancourt added a little drama toward the end of the game as he dropped a ball to convert their first out in the ninth. Right after, USD’s Arakawa offered a sac bunt to advance Andrew Semo to second. Nothing more would come from the Toreros as Sauer held batters from hitting over the infield, solidifying the win on Tuesday.
The San Diego State Aztecs defeat the University of San Diego Toreros in a 1-0 win, a three-hit night for SDSU. Julian Jackson was awarded his first win of the year and was able to snap the Aztecs two game losing streak. “I just came out today and wanted to attack.” Jackson told EVT postgame, “I hit a two guys pretty early on but wanted to set the pace for the guys, keep putting up zeros, and everyone came behind me and did their jobs as well.”
“Their front-line pitching is very good.” Coach Martinez discussed what to look forward to against Nevada, “The guy we’re going to see on Friday night is going to be a high draft pick, so we got our work cut out for us. Our guy is pretty damn good, too, so we’ll kind of see how we match up with them. We got to get our bats going for sure.”
The Aztecs are back in action April 21-23 in a conference matchup with the Nevada Wolfpack, looking to get back on top of the Mountain West.
San Diego Christian College Alum
Bachelors of Arts in Communications with emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism.
22 years old