It was only a matter of time before the SDSU Aztecs baseball team would lose their first series of the year.
They took the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday against Nevada, but lost the second game and failed to win Sunday’s game which was the series’ tie-breaking game. Nevada’s two victories over SDSU made a big impact, even if the standings did not change.
In College Baseball Nation’s rankings, SDSU fell from 17th to 24th.
Perhaps the biggest thing this series showed is that SDSU is capable of losing, and their offense can fall flat. In the Mountain West, the Aztecs are still in first place with a 12-6 record in conference play.
This series saw the Aztec offense fail to score a run in eight straight innings between the second and third games. In terms of what the offense has done this season, this scoreless drought is very rare. Over the course of a season, stretches like this happen though.
Here are the keys for the series for SDSU.
- Enjoying the fans
The fans, only in their second series of the season, stayed hungry and saw quality baseball. They were engulfed in every pitch, swing, and ball in play. This series had its share of controversies to get the fans hyped up. On one play, Matt Rudick was tagged out at home. The crowd went into a frenzy about the umpire “blowing’ a call. In the third game, Wyatt Hendrie tried to throw out a runner, but the batter walked in his path- yet interference wasn’t called. The crowd went wild. The next two times Hendrie caught a runner trying to steal, the fans let the umpire know they hadn’t forgotten about the missed interference call. It was good to have the Aztecs faithful in the stands.
- The Aztec offense can attack at any time
The SDSU lineup has shown that no matter who is up, they are capable of doing damage. This idea mostly held true in this series.
The main weak spot was at the DH position. Brian Leonhardt typically handles the role, but for unknown reasons, he was pulled from the job. His .265/.353/.361 slash line is by no means a bad slash. This season he has shown his ability to absolutely crush the ball. Unfortunately, not enough of those hits are falling. Perhaps coach Martinez wanted to see if anyone else can get some results in the No. 4 or No. 6 spot that the DH typically occupies.
- Walks are bigger than ever
The Aztecs’ pitching staff looks brand new.
After struggling with walks early in the season, they seemed to fix the problem. All series, SDSU gave up eight walks despite losing two games. This is the same pitching staff that was nearly averaging six walks a game. One of the biggest highlights of the newfound command came on their Sunday loss. In that game, they walked zero batters and struck out eleven. While the hits have seen a slight uptick, it’s better than giving up free bases.