Smith's Hit Gives Aztecs Walk-Off Win Over New Mexico
April 15, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Cody Smith's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth completed San Diego State's comeback as it defeated New Mexico, 4-3, in the weekend finale between the teams Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium. It marked the eighth time this season that SDSU recorded a win it its final at bat. The victory allowed the Aztecs to avoid the series sweep after the Lobos won both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday.
The final result ended a short four-game skid for SDSU, which improved to 18-20 overall and 7-5 in the Mountain West. The loss dropped UNM to 17-18 and 9-3 in conference play as it fell into a tie for first place in the league standings with TCU.
New Mexico took the early lead with a run in the third off SDSU starter Ryan Doran. A leadoff double by Josh Melendez, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ben Woodchick staked the visitor to a 1-0 advantage.
Lobo starting pitcher Gera Sanchez, meanwhile, was stellar over the opening four innings as he retired the first 13 Aztecs he faced in the contest including seven via the strikeout. SDSU finally got to the Lobo right-hander in the bottom of the fifth as a walk to Spencer Thornton, single by Ryan Muno and RBI double by Seby Zavala knotted the score at 1-1.
New Mexico wasted little time in responding as it opened a 3-1 lead with two runs in the next inning on a single by Ryan Padilla, RBI double by Mitchell Garver and run-scoring single by Trey Porras.
SDSU's answer was immediate as it tied the game in bottom of the same inning. A one-out single by Greg Allen was followed by a double from Tim Zier to put runners at second and third. Chris Wilson delivered a sacrifice fly to right to score Allen with Thornton's RBI single bringing home Zier to tie the score once again.
With both starting pitchers out of the game at the end of seven innings, the game's outcome was left to each team's bullpen staff. The Lobos mounted a threat against Aztec reliever Justin Hepner in the eighth as it put its first two runners on base. An attempted sacrifice bunt ended in a fielder's choice at third with the next batter lining into a double play to Ryan Muno at third base.
After Hepner retired the Lobos in the tip of the ninth, the stage was set for SDSU's game-winning effort in the bottom of the frame. Zavala singled with one out against UNM reliever Hobie McClain, but was forced out at second on a fielder's choice by Steven Pallares. Matt Muñoz was then hit by pitch after which the Lobos brought Gabe Aguilar out of the pen. Smith then stepped up and drilled a two-out single to right that drove home Pallares from second with the winning run.
Smith's game-winning hit made a winner of Hepner, who improved to 2-1 on the year. McClain was saddled with the loss to fall to 0-1.
San Diego State will take a short break from conference action this week as it travels north to face UC Irvine on Tuesday (April 17) in a contest scheduled to get underway at 6:30 p.m. at Anteater Ballpark.