Aztecs Rally To Defeat UNLV 10-7
May 4, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - In a game that featured five lead changes, San Diego State had the last word as it scored four times in the sixth inning en route to a 10-7 victory over UNLV Friday evening at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Aztecs were out-hit on the night, but four UNLV errors paved the way for six unearned runs for the home side.
SDSU (21-26, 10-9 Mountain West) took the early lead as it scored three times in the bottom of the first. Tim Zier singled and scored on Kevin Muno's two-out double to right center field. Spencer Thornton followed that with a double to left center to bring home Muno, who in turn scored when John Spirk's grounder to shortstop was thrown away by UNLV's Danny Higa.
Aztec sophomore right-hander Justin Hepner, who has been the team's closer the past two months, made his first start since Feb. 25 and was stellar over the first three frames allowing only a third-inning single by the Rebels. In the fourth, however, he was undone by three walks, a single and a pair of doubles as the visitors rallied for four runs to go up 4-3.
That lead proved to be shirt-lived as SDSU answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to forge a 5-4 advantage. Jomel Torres began the inning with a walk and went to third when Dillon Bryant's sacrifice bunt was thrown past first base by Rebel third baseman T.J. White. A fielder's choice by Matt Muñoz brought Torres home with Bryant being force at second. Muñoz advanced to second on Greg Allen's bunt and scored on a single by Chris Wilson.
Hepner was lifted after five innings in favor of reliever Philip Walby, who came on to pitch in the top of the sixth. The Rebels greeted him by scoring twice as three doubles allowed them to re-gain the lead at 6-5.
Once more San Diego responded in the bottom of the innings. this time with four runs that came on two hits, two walks and a pair of UNLV miscues including a bases-loaded catcher's interference. The Aztecs got RBI from Wilson, Muno, Spirk and Bryant in the frame as they took a 9-6 lead they would not relinquish.
Both teams added a run in the eighth with SDSU's coming on Spirk's fourth home run of the season, a solo shot deep over the left field fence.
Despite allowing a pair of runs that put UNLV (12-26, 5-14 MW) ahead in the sixth, Walby (1-3) recorded the win as the beneficiary of the Aztecs' four-run outburst in that same inning. Rebel reliever Joe Robinson, who had come on in the sixth, was charged with three of those runs and was charged with the loss to fall to 2-6 on the year.
Greg Allen and Chris Wilson had two singles apiece to account for half of SDSUs' hits in the game while Wilson and John Spirk recorded two RBI each. Tim Zier extended his hitting streak to 18 games with his single in the opening frame.
UNLV and San Diego State will play game two of their weekend series on Saturday (May 5) with start time set for 6:00 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.