Aztecs Defeat New Mexico, 2-1, To Advance At MWC Tourney
May 20, 2009
FORT WORTH - San Diego State advanced in the winners' bracket at the 2009 Mountain West Conference Tournament with a 2-1 victory over New Mexico Wednesday afternoon at TCU's Lupton stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a tight pitchers' duel that saw the Aztecs score a pair of runs and ride the pitching of Stephen Strasburg and Addison Reed to upset the second-seeded Lobos.
Strasburg had his usual solid outing, shutting out UNM for 7.2 innings on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts. The final result improved his record to 13-0 as he tied the SDSU mark for wins in a season set by Bill Blount during the 1983 campaign.
New Mexico's all-conference left-hander John Hesketh was almost as effective over his 6.1 innings of work, allowing a run on five hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. He would, however, eventually be tagged with the loss to fall to 6-4 on the season.
After five innings of shutout ball on both sides, the Aztecs finally broke through with a run in the top of the sixth. Brandon Meredith drew a one-out walk and went to third on a single to right center by Erik Castro. After Hesketh got Cory Vaughn to pop out to second, Mitch Blackburn hit a bloop double down the left field line to bring home Meredith.
SDSU would add what would be a very important insurance run in the ninth when Easton Gust singled and advanced to third on Pat Colwell's single to right. The Lobos brought in reliever Cole White, who would uncork a wild pitch with two out to allow Gust to score.
San Diego State closer Addison Reed, who had come out to get the final out in the bottom of the eighth when Strasburg was forced from the game with a back cramp, began the ninth by retiring the first two batters he faced.
But New Mexico made it interesting as it then stung together three straight singles to make it a 2-1 game and loaded the bases with a hit by pitch. The Aztec closer then got Justin Howard to hit a foul fly ball that left fielder Josh Chasse grabbed for the final lout of the contest.
For Reed, it was his 18th save in 18 opportunities this year as he broke both the conference and SDSU records for saves in a season set by former Aztec Royce Ring in 2002.
Colwell and Gust finished the day with two hits apiece to account for half SDSU hits, which also had five walks and left 11 men on base.
San Diego State will now move on to face Utah, which upset top-seeded TCU Wednesday night. That game is scheduled for Thursday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m. (CDT).