Aztecs Homer Twice in Ninth to Down UCLA, 8-6
May 2, 2017
LOS ANGELES - San Diego State scored three runs in the top of the ninth with a pair of home runs as it defeated UCLA, 8-6, Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles. The rally brought the Aztecs back from the brink as they had trailed since the fourth inning.
With the victory SDSU improved to 31-15 on the year as they kept intact their run of not having lost more than two games in a row in 2017. The loss dropped UCLA's ledger to 21-20.
Balls were flying in the early portion of the contest as each side connected for a pair of home runs through four innings before the Aztecs added the two late ones.
Trailing 6-5 heading to the top of the ninth, Chase Calabuig led off with a home run to right that left the yard quickly to tie the game. Danny Sheehan then reached on an error by the Bruin third baseman before Andrew Martinez drilled a ball over the fence in center field to give his team the final 8-6 advantage.
When the contest got underway, the Aztecs wasted little time in jumping on top as Sheehan connected for his fifth home run of the season with two out in the bottom of the first to stake his team to a 1-0 advantage.
The Bruins, however, responded with a run in their half of the same inning on a double, sacrifice and RBI single off SDSU starter Logan Boyer to make it 1-1.
It was Boyer's first appearance since the contest against UCLA in Lake Elsinore on April 4. He would end up tossing just the one inning.
SDSU's 3-1 lead was short-lived as UCLA struck for three in the bottom of the third to go up for the first time in the game by the score of 4-3. Those runs came on a solo home run by Jeremy Ydens and a two-run homer by Sean Bouchard, both off SDSU reliever Ray Lambert.
Dean Nevarez's sixth home run of the year, a solo shot in the top of the fourth, tied the game at 4-4, but that was the final deadlock of the evening as the Bruins scored twice in the bottom of the frame to go up 6-4 to take a lead they would not relinquish until the final inning.
The Aztecs got stellar relief pitching after those runs for UCLA in the fourth. Senior lefty Marcus Reyes went 3.1 innings and Jorge Fernandez tossed one inning as the duo retired all 13 batters they faced. Add in CJ Saylor's perfect ninth and the Aztec bullpen retired the final 16 Bruin batters in the contest.
San Diego State would pull to within a run in its half of the eighth on catcher Hunter Stratton's RBI single that drove home Adkison form third base to close the score to 6-5. The SDSU right fielder had been hit by pitch to start the inning, advanced to second on Hensley's single to right and made it to third on a ground out to third by Nevarez.
Junior right-hander Jorge Fernandez was the beneficiary of SDSU's late heroics as he picked up the win to even his record at 1-1. Saylor would pick up the save, his 12th of the year. Bruin closer Scott Burke, meanwhile saw his record fall to 0-3.
Calabuig (HR, RBI, run scored) led SDSU's offense with four hits with Sheehan (HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored) adding two of his own. No other Aztec had more than one hit in the contest with Martinez and Nevarez recording two RBI apiece.
San Diego State will now prepare to return to Mountain West action when it visits San Jose State for a three-game series this weekend. That set gets underway on Friday, May 5, with a game scheduled to get underway at 7:00 p.m. PT at Municipal Stadium in San Jose.