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Baseball Opens 2008 Campaign With Victory Over No. 5 San Diego

Nick Romero's three-run homer in the third erased a two-run deficit and helped propel the Aztecs to an 11-2 win over fifth-ranked San Diego on Friday.
Nick Romero's three-run homer in the third erased a two-run deficit and helped propel the Aztecs to an 11-2 win over fifth-ranked San Diego on Friday.

Feb. 22, 2008

Box Score

SAN DIEGO - In what was billed as a matchup as two of the top-rated pitchers in the country, San Diego State's Stephen Strasburg bested University of San Diego ace Brian Matusz as the Aztecs knocked off the fifth-ranked Toreros, 11-2, to open their 2008 season. Strasburg's pitching was complemented by an SDSU offensive attack that tallied 16 hits and scored all of its runs after falling behind by a pair of runs early in the contest.

Strasburg, who is rated as the third-best prospect among the nation's sophomore by Baseball America, walked the first batter he faced, but settled in after that, going eight innings with seven strikeouts while giving up two runs on five hits. Both of those runs came in the top of the third as a safety squeeze by Ryan Davis brought home the opening run and a steal of home by Kevin Muno accounted for the second.

San Diego State wasted little time in taking a lead of its own against Matusz, Baseball America's top-ranked junior pitcher, as it scored four times in the bottom of the third. After freshman DH Brett Tanos was hit by a pitch to open the inning, Troy Hanzawa beat out a bunt to put runners at first and second. Third baseman Nick Romero then deposited a Matusz changeup over the left field fence to give the Aztecs a 3-2 advantage. SDSU tacked on a fourth run in the frame on a Garett Green single followed by a triple from Brandon Glover.

The Aztecs upped their lead to 6-2 in the fifth with back-to-back RBI singles by Tanos and Hanzawa, both of which came off Torero reliever Kyle Blair. Matusz (0-1) ended his night going 4.2 innings and allowing with six runs on eight hits and four walks. He finished with seven strikeouts.

Strasburg (1-0), meanwhile, retired seven in a row after giving up the runs in the third before allowing a one-out triple to Josh Romanski in the sixth. The hit proved meaningless, however, as the Aztec right-hander struck out Victor Sanchez and Logan Gelbrich to strand the runner at third.

San Diego State put the game way in the seventh, scoring five runs on four hits, a walk, a hit batter and a Torero error as they sent 10 men to the plate. Hanzawa, Romero, Green and Pat Colwell all accounted for an RBI during that rally.

Nick Romero (four RBI), Troy Hanzawa (two runs, two RBI) and Brett Tanos (two runs, RBI) had three hits apiece for San Diego State as the 11 runs was the most scored by SDSU in a season opener since 1995 when it defeated Grand Canyon, 11-5. In addition, two Aztec newcomers, freshman Cory Vaughn and junior Bubba Ruddy had two hits apiece. Freshman Addison Reed, expected to be SDSU's closer this season, pitched the ninth inning, retiring the side in order with one strikeout.

USD and SDSU continue their season-opening four-game series on Saturday (Feb. 23) with a split doubleheader. The teams will square off at 1:00 p.m. (PST) at USD's Cunningham Stadium, then move back to Tony Gwynn Stadium on the SDSU campus for a 7:00 p.m. (PDT) contest.