Baseball Opens 2009 Season With 6-3 Victory Over Bethune-Cookman
Feb. 20, 2009
COMPTON, Calif. - San Diego State got offensive production throughout the lineup, combining it with a strong season-opening debut by pitcher Stephen Strasburg to defeat Bethune-Cookman, 6-3, at the opening game of the MLB Urban Invitational in Compton, Calif., Saturday afternoon.
Eight of nine Aztec starters reached safely and five different players had an RBI. Four Aztecs, including three making their collegiate debuts, recorded two hits apiece. In addition to veteran Pat Colwell, newcomers Mitch Blackburn, Ryan O'Sullivan and Easton Gust had a pair if hits each as SDSU struck early in what was expected to be a tight pitcher's dual.
Aztec All-American Stephen Strasburg was facing BCU's Hiram Burgos, who was back for his senior season after going 9-1 with a 1.58 earned run average in 2008. After the SDSU right-hander faced five batters in the opening inning, Burgos sailed through the bottom of the frame getting three outs in quick order. However, the bottom of the second was a different story as San Diego State put four runs on the board on five hits.
The inning began with a leadoff home run by sophomore T.J. Thomas deep over the left center field fence. Blake Silguero followed with a single and was promptly sacrificed to second by Erik Castro. Cory Vaughn then sent a single up the middle to give the Aztecs a 2-0 lead. After a ground out by Ryan O'Sullivan, Easton Gust was hit by pitch before Colwell delivered a single to center to score Vaughn from second. Gust then came home with the fourth run of the frame when Blackburn beat out a grounder to shortstop.
For his part, Strasburg completed his season debut with 5.2 innings of work during which he allowed an unearned run on three hits to pick up the win. He finished with 11 strikeouts on the afternoon as Aztec pitchers combined to fan a total of 15 BCU batters.
After the Wildcats scored the unearned run off Strasburg in the top of the sixth, SDSU answered back in the bottom of the inning as Vaughn was hit by pitch with two outs, stole second, advanced to third on an infield single by O'Sullivan and came home on a wild pitch. Vaughn ended the day with three stolen bases, one less than he had during his freshman campaign a year ago.
With Strasburg out of the game, Bethune-Cookman rallied for a pair of runs in the seventh off Aztec reliever Andrew Leary to cut the deficit to 5-3. SDSU came back in the eighth, however, to add an insurance run on an RBI single by Gust, who reached base in all four of his plate appearances with two hits, a walk and hit by pitch.
Addison Reed came on to close out the contest in the ninth and was credited with the save, but not without some drama. After striking out the first two hitters he faced, Reed gave up back-to-back singles before inducing Wildcat cleanup hitter Alejandro Jimenez to pop out to O'Sullivan at short.
San Diego State continues action at the MLB Urban Invitational on Saturday (Feb. 21) with a contest against Southern University scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. (PST). That game will be televised live on the MLB Network.