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Aztecs Down Air Force to Open Mountain West Tourney

Tim Zier had four hits, two RBI and two runs scored against Air Force on Wednesday at the conference tournament.
Tim Zier had four hits, two RBI and two runs scored against Air Force on Wednesday at the conference tournament.

May 22, 2013

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FRESNO, Calif. - San Diego State opened play at the 2013 Mountain West Tournament with a 15-6 victory over Air Force Wednesday afternoon at Pete Beiden Field in Fresno, Calif. Along the way the Aztecs banged out 16 hits and got a good pitching performance from junior Philip Walby to defeat the Falcons and improve to 27-28 on the season.

Six Aztecs had multiple-hit efforts and all nine starters scored at least once as the 15 runs represented SDSU's second-highest total in a game this season. Tim Zier led the hit parade with four including a two-run double and also drove in two and scored a pair himself. Teammate Ty France had a perfect day at the plate, recording three hits and being hit by pitch twice.

Despite the final score, San Diego State found itself trailing early as Seth Kline's home run in the top of the first gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead. The Aztecs responded with three runs in their first at bat to take a lead they would enjoy the rest of the way.

Walby struggled through the second and third innings, but worked his way out of trouble after Falcons put runners at first and third in each frame. He got some breathing room in the bottom of third when SDSU added four runs to take a 7-2 lead. The rally was capped off by a two-run single by John Spirk, who was making his first start of the season in left field.

Walby went on to retire nine straight batters before a solo home by Matt Thorne in the top of the sixth cut the lead to 7-3. But once again SDSU answered back with four runs in its half of the inning with three of those coming on a bases-loaded double by Ryan Muno.

Zier's two-RBI double in the seventh gave SDSU a 14-3 advantage before Air Force rallied for three in the top of the eighth against Walby. The Aztec right-hander's day would end after eight innings as he would be credited with the win to improve to 4-3.

After the Aztecs added their final two markers in their half of the eight on Greg Allen's two-run single, freshman Zack Oakley would come on to pitch the final frame. After giving up a one out single, Oakley got a game-ending double play to wrap up the victory.

Muno ended the afternoon with two hits, four RBI and three runs scored. Allen (two RBI), Spirk (two RBI) and Justin Gheorghe (RBI) also had two hits apiece.

San Diego State now advances to face No. 2 seed UNLV on Thursday (May 23) at 3:00 p.m. in Fresno with Michael Cederoth expected to be on the mound for the Aztecs.