Aztecs Complete Sweep With 11-9 Win At Western Carolina
May 1, 2011
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - San Diego State completed a three-game series sweep of Western Carolina with an 11-9 victory over the Catamounts Sunday afternoon in Cullowhee, N.C. After playing for more than three hours, the contest had to be declared over after seven innings due to SDSU's flight schedule.
Although they never trailed, the Aztecs' lead was never secure as they had to fight off comeback efforts by WCU (17-24-1) all afternoon. And it was not a good day for starting pitchers as both were gone by the second inning.
It did prove to be a big afternoon offensively for several Aztecs led by Cody Smith's three hits and two runs scored. Ben Vasko and Pat Colwell also tallied two hits apiece with Vasko driving in three and Colwell scoring twice. Dillon Bryant finished with three RBI while Jomel Torres reached base four times (single, three walks) and scored a pair of runs.
San Diego State (15-29) opened the contest by scoring three times in the top of the first on an RBI double by Brandon Meredith and a two-out two-run single by Bryant. All three runs were charged to Catamount starter Preston Hatcher, who lasted only two-thirds of an inning.
SDSU starting hurler Bryan Crabb fared no better, however, as he surrendered three runs in the bottom of the same inning to make it 3-3 after one. The sophomore right-hander would throw to only two more hitters in the second (walking both) before he was also removed from the contest.
The Aztecs took the lead for good with five runs in the second against WCU reliever Taylor Sandefur. The big blow in the frame was a two-out bases-loaded double by catcher Ben Vasko that cleared the bases and gave the visitors an 8-3 advantage. Sandefur, who would give up one more run during his 3.2 innings of work, would be charged with the loss to fall to 1-3 on the year.
That Aztec lead was reduced by two when Western Carolina scored twice in the bottom of the second against senior Steven Moranda on a bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly with both runs charged to Crabb. Despite those early struggles, Moranda would toss five innings and allow a total of four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Thanks to SDSU maintaining its lead the rest of the way, that effort was enough to earn him the win and even his record at 2-2.
The Aztecs extended the lead by adding single runs in both the fifth and sixth. The first came on a bases-loaded walk to Torres that was preceded by a single, walk and hit batter. In the sixth, Vasko scored from first on Cody Slader's double that was booted by the Catamount center fielder. Those runs gave SDSU a seemingly comfortable 10-5 lead, but WCU had other ideas.
In the bottom of the sixth Western Carolina closed to within a run by scoring four times. The inning was capped by a three-run homer by Macon Smith that made the score 10-9.
The Aztecs put a run on the board in the top of the seventh on singles by Colwell and Torres followed by a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of Chris Wilson. Mitch Bluman, who had thrown seven innings in his first start of the year on Tuesday, was then called in to relieve Moranda on the mound for what would be the final chance for the Catamounts.
Bluman got off to a shaky start giving up singles to the first two batters and advancing them to second and third with a balk. But the freshman left-hander settled down and got a pop-up to third, a called third strike and a ground out to third to snuff out the threat. With SDSU's flight time approaching, the game was officially ended at that point and Bluman picked up his first save as an Aztec.
San Diego now returns home for a non-league contest on Tuesday (May 3) when it hosts Long Beach State at 6:00 p.m. (PT) at Tony Gwynn Stadium.