Aztecs Down New Mexico to Force Title Game Showdown
May 26, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. - San Diego State got a stellar relief performance from sophomore Mike Robards and just enough offense to hold off New Mexico, 8-7, Saturday night at the Mountain West Tournament in Fresno, Calif. The loss was the Lobos' first of the tournament and the two teams will square off again Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. with the conference championship at stake.
SDSU got off to a shaky start against UNM as the Lobos scored three runs in the bottom of the first with two of those coming on a D.J. Peterson home run. Junior right-hander T.J. Kendzora was on the mound for the Aztecs to begin the contest, and he went on to hold New Mexico scoreless over the next two frames while his teammates scored single runs in both the second and third to close to within 3-2.
A solo home run by Luke Campbell in the bottom of the fourth put the Lobos up 4-2 and an ensuing base on balls meant the end of the evening for Kendzora, who gave way to RoBards. The sophomore from Oceanside, Calif., (Oceanside HS) would work in and out of trouble the rest of the night including a nervy finish in the bottom of the ninth.
San Diego State took the lead for good with a four-run fifth inning that was keyed by as three-run home by left fielder Matt Muñoz, his second of the season. Muñoz would finish the game with four hits, three RBI and two runs scored.
The Lobos (37-19) cut the lead to one at 6-5 with a run in the sixth, but the Aztecs responded with a pair in the top of the seventh to go up 8-5. That seventh inning rally began with a solo home run by Ty France, who continued his torrid hitting by going 3-for 4 with a single, double, homer and two runs batted in.
In the bottom of the seventh, UNM loaded the bases with one out on a single double and SDSU error before RoBards proceeded to strike out the next two hitters. The Lobos did score a run in their half of the eighth, but RoBards stranded two runners with a fly ball to end the inning and preserve his team's 8-6 lead heading into the final frame.
The bottom of the ninth began with the Aztec lefty issuing a pair of walks and a bloop single to load the bases with no outs. After a fly ball to center, another base on balls forced in a run to make it 8-7 with the bases remaining loaded and one out. RoBards then induced UNM's leadoff hitter Chase Harris to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and force Sunday's championship encounter.
With the victory, RoBards improve to 4-1 on the year as he tossed 5.2 innings allowing three runs on eight hits with six walks and four strikeouts. UNM's Kevin Baumgartner, who gave up Muñoz's home run in the fourth, was charged with the loss to fall to 2-5.