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Baseball Defeats 11th-Ranked USD, 5-3, In Weekend Series Opener

Stephen Strasburg struck out 18 over eight innings and improved to 3-0 in SDSU's 5-3 win at USD on Thursday.
Stephen Strasburg struck out 18 over eight innings and improved to 3-0 in SDSU's 5-3 win at USD on Thursday.

March 5, 2009

Box Score

SAN DIEGO - After falling behind in a game for the first time in 2009, San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg came on strong and guided the Aztecs to a 5-3 win over 11th-ranked University of San Diego Thursday afternoon at USD's Cunningham Stadium. It was the first contest of a four-game weekend series between the schools and marked the second time that SDSU has defeated USD this season.

The win ended a short two-game losing streak for San Diego State as it evened its record at 5-5. The Toreros, meanwhile, saw their four-game winning streak ended as they fell to 7-4.

The Aztecs took the early lead in the contest with a run in the top of the second on an RBI infield single that scored Erik Castro from third. USD, however, responded immediately as they touched up Strasburg for a double by Sean Nicol and RBI single from Victory Sanchez in the bottom of the inning to even the score.

In the next frame, the hosts grabbed the lead when Nick McCoy took a Strasburg fastball deep over the left field fence to give the Toreros a 2-1 advantage. The homer was only the second given up by the Aztec junior during his SDSU career. A walk and a stolen base by Kevin Muno in the same inning was followed by a single to right by James Meador. On the play, SDSU right fielder Cory Vaughn threw Muno out at the plate to keep the margin at one.

The home run and Vaughn's throw to the plate seemed to light a fire in Strasburg, who was stellar over the next five innings. From the fourth through seventh he retired the next 11 batters in a row, striking out nine of them before allowing a single to Chris Engell with two out in the seventh. On the afternoon, Strasburg went eight innings, allowing the two runs on five hits while striking out 18 and walking one as he improved to 3-0 on the season.

San Diego State scratched out a run in its half of the fourth to tie the game at 2-2 as Easton Gust singled, was sacrificed to second by Pat Colwell, advanced to third on a ground out by Decker and scored on two-out single by Ryan O'Sullivan.

One inning later, SDSU grabbed the lead for good with a pair of runs on three hits. With one out, singles by Cory Vaughn and T.J. Thomas plus a walk to Gust loaded the bases. Colwell's sac fly to right brought home Vaughn with Thomas later scoring on another RBI single by Decker to make it a 4-2 game. Both of those runs came off USD reliever Darrin Campbell, who was tagged with the loss to fall to 1-2.

The Aztecs added an insurance run in the ninth on a double by O'Sullivan and two-out single by Erik Castro. Addison Reed came on in the bottom of the inning to close out the game, allowing a run before striking out Bryan Harr to record his third save of the season.

For SDSU, Brandon Decker finished with three hits and a pair of runs batted in while Easton Gust also had three hits, including a double off the right field fence that just missed leaving the park. Cory Vaughn and Ryan O'Sullivan also collected two hits apiece as the Aztecs finished with 12 on the day, their highest total since the season opener.

The scene now shifts to Tony Gwynn Stadium where the Aztecs and Toreros will meet in game two of the series on Friday, March 6, at 6:00 p.m. (PST).