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Aztec Even Weekend Series With 12-2 Win At Air Force

Justin Hepenr had a season-high six strikeouts in relief en route to picking up the win over Air Force Saturday afternoon.
Justin Hepenr had a season-high six strikeouts in relief en route to picking up the win over Air Force Saturday afternoon.

April 28, 2012

Box Score

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - San Diego State pounded out 15 hits and a pair of pitchers held the Air Force offense in check as the Aztecs defeated the Falcons, 12-2, Saturday afternoon at Falcon Field. SDSU never trailed as eight of nine starters recorded at least one hit and pitchers Philip Walby and Justin Hepner proved effective in controlling the Falcon hitter who had scored 10 runs in Friday's contest.

With the win San Diego State solidified its hold on third place in the Mountain West standings as it improved to 20-24 overall and 9-8 in conference play. The loss dropped Air Force to 1-30 overall and 4-13 in the league.

SDSU took the early lead with a run in the top of the second. Ryan Muno led off and was hit by pitch. Spencer Thornton's sacrifice bunt moved him to second and he scored on Seby Zavala's double to the wall in left center field.

The Aztecs doubled their advantage in the third thanks to some control issues on the part of Falcon starting pitcher Ben Berteslon. Tim Zier singled with two outs before Bertelson proceeded to walk Chris Wilson, Ryan Muno and Spencer Thornton to bring Zier home with Thornton credited with an RBI.

San Diego State starter Philip Walby was forced to work his way out of trouble in each of the first four frames as Air Force put at least two men on in each inning including the first two batters in both the second and third. The Falcons did score a run in the bottom of the third on a double by Garrett Custons and RBI single by David Thomas to cut the Aztec lead to 2-1.

In the Air Force half of the fourth, the home side loaded the bases with two out on a single and pair of walks at which point Walby was lifted in favor of reliever Justin Hepner. The sophomore right-hander induced a pop out from Falcon clean-up hitter Alex Bast to end the threat.

Hepner would go on to retire the side in order in the next two innings before giving up a run on three hits in the bottom of the seventh. He then retired six of the seven batters he faced over the final two frames, allowing just a lone walk with two out in the ninth. Hepner went the final 5.1 innings, allowing the one run on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts to pick up the win and improve to 3-1 on the season.

The Aztecs added a run to their lead in the tip of the fifth courtesy of a pair of Air Force miscues. Ryan Muno reached on an error by the Falcon shortstop with two out. Thornton then laid down a bunt that he beat out, and when the catcher's throw to first sailed down the line and into the Falcon bullpen, Muno was awarded the extra base as he scored to make it 3-1.

SDSU upped its lead to 7-1 with four runs in the sixth that came on a walk and three hits. The big blow in the inning was Wilson's three-run homer to left, his seventh of the year. Those runs came off Falcon starter Ben Bertelson, who took the loos to fall to 0-8.

The Aztecs added a run in the top of the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Ryan Muno, then put the game beyond doubt with four in the final frame. In the ninth, SDSU got an RBI single from Evan Potter and a bases-clearing base hit by Tim Zier for the final 12-2 margin.

Zier ended the afternoon with his second three-hit effort in two days along with a pair of RBI and two runs scored. Greg Allen had three singles and scored three times while Chris Wilson two hits including the home run and three runs batted in.

San Diego State and Air Force will play the rubber game of their weekend series with a contest on Sunday set to begin at noon in Colorado Springs.