Aztecs Fall To San Jose State in 2014 Opener
Feb. 14, 2014
SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose State came from behind twice over the opening four innings and went on to defeat San Diego State, 6-4, Friday evening in the season opener for both squads at Municipal Stadium in San Jose. The contest was also the 2014 Mountain West debut for the teams as they made the earliest start to league play in conference history.
The Aztecs scored the first run of the night in their half of the third when Seby Zavala's two-out single drove home Evan Potter, who had singled to lead off the inning. Potter would be the lone SDSU player to finish with multiple hits as he had two along with a RBI and run scored.
The Spartans wasted little time in answering as they tallied a pair in the bottom of the same inning. They were aided by a passed ball on a third strike that allowed a batter to reach first plus an Aztec error, both of which led to the runs being unearned.
Trailing by a run, San Diego State came right back with three runs in the top of the fourth to go on top 4-2. After a single by Spencer Thornton and walk to Ty France to open the frame, Brad Haynal singled to left to bring home Thornton. CJ Saylor followed up with a walk to load the bases with no outs and that ended the night for San Jose State starting pitcher Johnny Melero.
The Spartans brought on reliever Kalei Contrades, who surrendered an RBI infield ground out to Potter and an RBI single to Greg Allen before ending the inning with a pair of strikeouts. Contrades would go on to retire the side in order in the fifth through eighth innings, a total of 14 hitters in a row before giving up a base on balls to lead off the ninth. He held the Aztecs to two hits and a walk while striking out six over his six innings of work and would go on to record the victory.
Aztec starter Michael Cederoth, who had pitched a perfect opening frame that included a pair of strikeouts, was in and out of trouble over the ensuing three innings. His struck out six over his total of 3.2 innings pitched, but three of the four walks he gave up would eventually score.
Two of those bases on balls came in the bottom of the fourth when the Spartans answered SDSU's three-run rally with three runs of their own to take the lead for good. Cederoth's two walks in the inning set the stage for Andre Mercurio's two-out double that tied the game at 4-4. The Aztecs then went to the bullpen for TJ Kendzora, who gave up a single to the next hitter, Kyle Gallegos, which gave the home side the 5-4 advantage and pin the loss on Cederoth.
In the bottom of the fifth, senior right-hander Justin Hepner came on to get the final out of the inning after San Jose had loaded the bases. Hepner would retire eight in a row before surrendering a one-out double to Matt Lopez in the eighth that was cashed in by Mercurio's sacrifice fly to provide an insurance run for the Spartans.
San Diego State and San Jose State will continue their three-game weekend series on Saturday (Feb.15) with a single game slated to get underway at 1:00 p.m. (PT).