Late Runs Allow Aztecs to Sweep Series vs. Air Force
April 6, 2014
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - A wild bottom of the eighth inning saw San Diego State score two runs as it overcame Air Force, 4-3, Sunday afternoon to complete a sweep of their three-game weekend series against the Falcons. With the win the Aztec improved to 24-8 overall and 10-5 in the Mountain West as they moved into a tie for second place with New Mexico, one game behind league leader UNLV.
SDSU sophomore Mark Seyler turned in a stellar performance on the mound, but his effort almost went for naught as Air Force (6-24, 2-13 MW) scored three late runs to take the lead for the first time in the eighth inning. Seyler would go seven plus innings allowing a run on three hits. He tied his career best with nine strikeouts and did not surrender a walk, but he would not be around to figure in the decision.
The Aztecs gave themselves the early lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Back-to-back doubles by Brad Haynal and Steven Pallares to open the frame made it 1-0. Tyler Adkison`s single advanced Pallares to third and he scored on a fielder's choice by Andrew Brown to make it 2-0.
Seyler made those runs stand up until the top of the eighth. After allowing a leadoff single, he was lifted in favor of closer Michael Cederoth. After getting a pop out, Cederoth walked the next two batters to load the bases. That set the table for Seth Kline to line a single to left, and when Seby Zavala kicked the ball away it allowed all three runners to score and give the Falcons a 3-2 advantage.
After allowing the two runs in the second inning, Air Force starter Steven Trojan kept the Aztec offense at bay over the ensuing five frames. The Aztec had a man on base in the fifth through seventh on a hit batter, single and walk, but were unable to score.
After the Falcons took the lead, they brought on reliever Ben Yokley in the bottom of the eighth. Yokley immediately put a man on when he hit Ty France to open the inning. France was sacrificed to second by Zavala and went to third on a ground out by Brand Haynal. Yokley then walked Pallares to put runners at first and third with two out before Air Force called on Nathan Stanford to take over on the mound.
SDSU's Spencer Thornton came off the bench in a pinch hitting role and placed a perfect bunt toward third that scored France. On the play Stanford fielded the bunt and threw it past catcher Travis Neubeck. Neubeck retrieved the ball and saw Thornton trying to move to second. His attempted throw to second was high and sailed into center field allowing Pallares to come home with what would be the winning run.
Cederoth returned to the mound in the top of the ninth and retired the side in order to record the victory and improve to 3-1 on the year. Air Force's Yokley was the unfortunate victim of his team's miscues in the eighth and suffered the loss to fall to 0-1.
Pallares was the lone Aztec to record more than one hit on the afternoon as he finished with a single, double, walk, RBI and two runs scored in four plate appearances.
San Diego State will take a short break from conference action when it hosts UC Riverside in its next contest scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 8, at 6:00 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.