BY Jordan Finkelstein – SAN DIEGO, CA. (03/04/14) – The host Mountain West Conference San Diego State baseball team (9-3) used a six-run outburst in the bottom of the third inning to defeat the West Coast Conference University of San Diego (8-3) last night, 8-5, at Charlie Smith Field to pull the Aztecs within one win of evening up the cross-town rivalry, which now stands at 17-16 in favor of the Toreros. The teams will battle again on April 1 at Fowler Park as San Diego State looks to even it all up and No. 24 San Diego will try to maintain a slight edge in the teams’ 35th overall meeting.
While tonight’s matchup can be described as competitive as well as a friendly rivalry, the game was punctuated with questionable if not interesting officiating from home plate umpire Billy Van Raaphorst. In the bottom of the fourth with SDSU’s Tyler Adkison at the plate, the bases loaded and two outs, the first miscue was calling an obvious foul tip a wild pitch. USD coach Rich Hill argued the call to no avail, but nothing was to come of the incident as Adkison struck out swinging to end the inning.
In the Toreros fifth frame, Hill called Andrew Daniel down the third base line for a conference that apparently lasted too long, as Van Raaphorst called for play to resume, which neither Hill nor Daniel saw. Before Daniel could get back into the box, Van Raaphorst pointed at Aztecs hurler TJ Kendzora to commence play, and Kendzora’s fastball came in for an uncontested strike before anyone knew what had happened. However, Daniel laced the next pitch he saw for a double down the left side and eventually scored off a Ben Wylly RBI single.
“I’ve been coaching for 27 years and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Hill said of the Daniel incident. “You have to look at it as sometimes you get the call and sometimes you don’t.”
SDSU’s junior sensation centerfielder Greg Allen (Hilltop High School), who Hill calls “Probably the best hitter and player in NCAA Division I baseball right now” factored heavily into the Aztecs victory. In the first inning, Allen singled to right, stole second and scored on a Tim Zier RBI single. In the third inning with one out, he stroked a solid single to center to spark SDSU’s six-run rally and scored. He finished 2-for-4 and made eight putouts.
In the top of the seventh with SDSU up 7-3 and the Toreros threatening with runners aboard second and third bags with two outs, Allen preserved San Diego State’s victory with an astounding diving catch roaming far to left center to chase down a laser off the bat of USD’s Ryan Kirby, that, in any other baseball universe would have fallen for a hit and scored two. Instead, it was an inning-ending, seemingly routine play for the phenom.
Both teams have been on a hitting and scoring spree in their respective conferences and coming into tonight’s contest the two teams have scored a combined 173 runs (SDSU 75, USD 98), and tonight’s 8-5 contest didn’t disappoint. The MWC vs. the WCC at Charlie Smith Field netted a combined 13 runs on 19 hits. SDSU came into the evening averaging 6.8 runs per game and USD 9.8. Aztec freshman Andrew Brown popped the night’s only tater off the top of the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth for a solo home run.
If anyone hasn’t noticed, Hill’s 2014 roster never seems to give up, and is especially apparent in late innings whether it’s pouring it on for a win or playing catch up. In the eighth and trailing by five runs, San Diego capitalized on a dropped routine fly hit by Louie Lechich to right and scored two to pull within 8-5. But San Diego State’s Michael Cederoth came in to replace Brandon Thomas and got Connor Joe to ground out to third to end the inning and ice the game.
“Playing SDSU is always competitive and always a fight,” Hill said after the game. “The energy is just great, but unfortunately some of our execution just wasn’t there tonight.”
SDSU hosts UNLV this weekend for a three game matchup at home.
USD hits the road for the first time this season for it’s next six of seven games after having it’s first 10 games within the confines of Fowler Park. It travels for three games at Oklahoma State and three more at BYU.
“It’s going to be exciting to be in hotels and be on the road now,” Hill said. “I think it will all come together.”
Article originally published http://cliffsrider.com/slideshows/baseball/crosstown1.htm
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