A 9th inning comeback falls short as the Aztecs fall to the Lobos 5-4.
Former Aztec relief pitcher Rusty Filter returns for his 16th season at San Diego State in the role of pitching coach and his 17th year of coaching at SDSU. Including his four seasons as a varsity player for Coach Jim Dietz, his experience with San Diego State baseball covers 21 seasons. Prior to filling his current position in 1994, he had previously served as SDSU's junior varsity coach during the 1991 campaign, compiling a 30-7 mark, the best-ever for the Aztec JV program.
In 1997, Filter's pitching staff finished among the top 25 in the nation in team earned run average. Under his guidance, the Aztecs set school season strikeout records in both 1996 and 1997.
Over the past 15 years, 52 San Diego State pitchers have been drafted (including three in June 2008) and signed by professional league clubs, a testimony to Filter's coaching abilities. Four of those hurlers (Aaron Harang-Cincinnati, Royce Ring-St. Louis, Justin Masterson-Boston, Alex Hinshaw-San Francisco) are currently on the 40-man rosters of major league clubs. Ring was a first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox who earned all-region and All-America honors during his final season at SDSU.
Under Filter's guidance, San Diego State has finished among the top three in the Mountain West Conference in team earned run average both overall and in league play each of the first nine years of the league's existence. The Aztecs have led the league in that category on five occasions.
Over the past eight seasons, 18 pitchers under his guidance earned all-MWC honors and five were named to the Mountain West Conference all-tournament teams. In 2008, his pitchers earned the league's pitcher of the week award on eight occasions.
Filter also produced the conference pitcher of the year on three occasions: Scott Shoemaker in 2004, Bruce Billings in 2005 and Stephen Strasburg in 2008. In addition, Strasburg earned consensus All-America honors last season after finishing among the top three in the nation in strikeouts and earned run average.
In 2001, he had one of his hurlers (Royce Ring) earn all-West Region honors and a spot on the USA Baseball team during that summer's international tour. Last year, Strasburg played for the collegiate Team USA and became the only college player to be named to the U.S. Olympic team that won the bronze medal in Beijing.
During the summers of 1993 and 1994, Filter served as pitching coach for the Fairbanks Goldpanners of the Alaska League. In 1994, the Panners compiled an overall mark of 35-19, winning the league title with a 12-4 record. In 1993, Filter helped the squad to a 36-23 overall record, a second-place league finish as well as second place at the Grand National Tournament in San Diego.
After coaching the Aztec junior varsity squad in 1991, he spent two seasons as the assistant baseball coach at Mission Bay High School in San Diego. In 1992, his Mission Bay squad won the Central League and San Diego CIF championship.
A four-year letterwinner at San Diego State, Filter is among the top 10 on the Aztec career list for appearances with 80 (fourth) and saves with 10 (sixth). His six saves during the 1990 season were the sixth-best total for an SDSU reliever and his 37 appearances during his senior season (1990) were the second-most ever for an Aztec pitcher.
Filter began his SDSU career as a catcher, but was converted into a middle-relief specialist his second year. His career statistics at San Diego State include a record of 8-4 with 10 saves and a 3.74 earned run average, plus a .333 batting average. He was drafted in June 1990 by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Prior to his arrival at San Diego State as a player in 1987, Filter was a three-year letterman at Mission Bay High, where he competed as a pitcher and catcher. As a senior there, he earned all-Western League and all-CIF honors as the Buccaneers won the CIF section championship in 1986.
The 40-year-old Filter majored in physical education at San Diego State. He is married (Gina), and the couple has a pair of daughters: nine-year-old Reilly Nicole and seven-year-old Emily Claire, and a son, four-year-old Russell Dean II (Deuce).