Baseball Rallies to Beat Grand Canyon, 5-4
Feb. 25, 2018
SAN DIEGO – Led by a Chad Bible pinch-hit two-RBI double and a Julian Escobedo go-ahead RBI single, the San Diego State baseball team used a four-run eighth inning to defeat Grand Canyon, 5-4, in the final game of the Tony Gwynn Legacy on Sunday afternoon. The Aztecs continue a strong start to the 2018 season, improving its record to 5-2, while Grand Canyon stumbles to 2-5 on the year.
The Aztecs led off its first at-bats of the game with back-to-back singles by Matt Rudick and David Hensley, allowing for Rudick to later score on a Chase Calabuig fielder’s choice and take an early 1-0 lead.
The biggest highlight of the game in the early stages was SDSU starter Garrett Hill, who dominated GCU’s hitters for the first three innings of the game. Over Hill’s first three frames, the junior transfer recorded an eye-popping eight strikeouts without allowing a hit.
However, in the fourth Grand Canyon began to string together some offense, using a one-run, two-hit fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1. In the following inning, the Lopes took a 3-1 lead and ended Hill’s day, however, SDSU reliever Jacob Flores came in and left the bases loaded to keep it a two-run ballgame after inducing a trio of fly outs.
The Lopes tacked on a run in the seventh to create a 4-1 hole for the Aztecs. The lineup was up for the challenge in the bottom of the eighth with each of the first three batters reaching base, including a leadoff Rudick single. Jordan Verdon recorded a one-out sacrifice fly to score Rudick and in the ensuing at-bat, pinch hitter Chad Bible delivered with a hard-hit double to left center to score Calabuig and Hensley and tie the score at 4-4.
Julian Escobedo delivered the game-winning RBI – his first RBI of the season – on a 1-1 count with two outs to score pinch runner
Heading into the ninth with the momentum, the Aztecs turned to Jorge Fernandez who hurled a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first save of the season.
- Garrett Hill registered the most strikeouts by an Aztec pitcher this season, finishing his outing with nine over four innings pitched. Hill started his outing by striking out each of the first four batters he faced.
- Matt Rudick registered a season-high three hits, becoming the second Aztec this season (Calabuig) to register three or more hits in a game this season. The freshman has started his career with a six-game on-base streak.
- The Aztecs have now won five of its last six meetings against Grand Canyon and win its first meeting with the Lopes since 1998.
- SDSU’s 5-2 start is the program’s best since starting the 2015 season 6-1.
- Chase Calabuig had a 12-game hitting streak snapped, but extended his on-base streak to 21 games and his home on-base streak to 25 games with a walk. Calabuig and Dean Nevarez are the only two Aztecs to have reached base in all seven of SDSU’s games in 2018.
- Casey O’Sullivan registered his first career win, pitching the seventh and eighth innings and only allowing two hits and one run while striking out four.
- John Dearth recorded the first hit of his collegiate career with a single in the bottom of the seventh.
- Chad Bible drove in his fifth and sixth runs of the season, placing him second on the team in RBI (Calabuig – 7).
- The Aztec bullpen has stranded 16 of 23 inherited runners so far in the 2018 season. Jacob Flores has stranded three of his four inherited runners this season.
- For the three games in the Tony Gwynn Legacy, SDSU pitching limited opposing hitters to a .159 batting average with runners on base and a .129 average with two outs.
- Collectively, the SDSU pitching staff has registered 80 strikeouts in only 65 innings for
SDSU baseball hosts Michigan for a 6:00 p.m. Monday contest at Tony Gwynn Stadium before traveling to UC Irvine on Tuesday to open the Aztecs’ 2018 road schedule.