Aztecs Score Twice In Ninth To Defeat No. 18 UC Irvine 6-5
April 6, 2010
Irvine, Calif. - Down to its final strike, San Diego State scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning to overturn a one-run deficit as it defeated 18th-ranked UC Irvine, 6-5, Tuesday night at Anteater Ballpark. The win broke the Aztecs' six-game losing streak to UCI as they improved to 12-17. The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Anteaters, who suffered just their second loss in 11 home contests and fell to 17-9.
In a game that saw a total of 13 pitchers (seven by SDSU, six by UCI), the lead changed hands three times before the contest settled into a 4-4 tie at the end of four innings. It remained that way until the home side took the lead with a run in the eighth on a steal of home made possible by some trickery on the base paths.
Tommy Reyes led off with a walk off SDSU reliever Robert Alcala and was sacrificed to second. Casey Stevenson then singled to center with what looked to be the go-ahead RBI, but Cory Vaughn came up throwing and gunned down Reyes at the plate by five steps. That brought on lefty Ryan Wynveen from the bullpen.
Stevenson, who had advanced to second on Vaughn's throw to the plate, took third on a wild pitch before Wynveen walked pinch hitter D.J. Crumlich to put runners at first and third. Three pitches later, Crumlich broke for second and fell down after a few steps from first. With Wynveen and the infield looking at Crumlich on the ground, Stevenson was able to steal home, beating the pitcher's throw to the plate.
Trailing 5-4, San Diego State got a one-out single from Chris Wilson in the ninth, but an ensuing pop out to second for the second out made prospects look bleak for the visitors. That brought up pinch hitter Guy Willeford, who hit a 2-2 pitch from Anteater closer Ryan Necke to the fence in left center that allowed Wilson to score the tying run.
At that point UCI brought on Christian Bergman, its regular Saturday starter, in relief of Necke. Ryan O'Sullivan, who made his first appearance at shortstop this season, greeted Bergman with a single up the middle to bring home pinch runner Albert Alvarez with what would be the winning run. That would make a loser of Necke who saw his record drop to 1-3.
With the 6-5 lead, the Aztecs sent John Pecoraro to the mound to close out the game. Despite hitting a batter with one out, the sophomore right-hander struck out the next two hitters to record his fifth save. Wynveen (1-2) was the beneficiary of SDSU's late rally as he was credited with the win.
Freshman Jordan Van Hoosier had a pair of hits including a two-run single in the second that gave his team a 3-2 lead at the time. Another freshman, Blair Moore matched Van Hoosier's hit total as he accounted for the RBI on SDSU's opening run in the first. His second hit two innings later allowed Cory Vaughn, who doubled to start the frame, to advance to third and later score on Wilson's sacrifice fly.
After scoring its fourth run in that third inning, the Aztecs went hitless over the next five innings as four Irvine hurlers faced the minimum number of batters from form the third through the eighth. SDSU's lone base runner over that span was Ryan O'Sullivan, who walked in the seventh but was erased on a double play. But the threesome of Chris Wilson, Guy Willeford and O'Sullivan would have the last say as their heroics in the final frame helped send San Diego State to the win.
San Diego State will now return to Mountain West Conference action as it visits Air Force for a three-game series this weekend. The first game of that set is slated for Friday, April 9, at 2:00 p.m. (MT) at Falcon Field in Colorado Springs.