Aztecs Claim MW Title with 9-4 Win Over New Mexico
May 26, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. - San Diego State continued its offensive surge and got some solid pitching from a trio of hurlers to defeat No. 13 New Mexico, 9-4, and claim the 2013 Mountain West Tournament championship. With the title comes the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals, and the Aztec will learn on Monday where they will be playing next weekend.
Aztec junior right-hander Philip Walby, working on three day's reset after defeating Air Force on Wednesday, was called upon to start against a Lobo squad that leads the nation in hitting with a .338 team batting average. But it was the Aztecs who took the lead with a run in the top of the second when Ty France (who had reached on a single to open the frame) scored on a grounder by Jake Romanski.
France would go on to record four hits on the afternoon including a double, home run, three RBI and three runs scored. The freshman from West Covina, Calif., would be named tourney MVP after hitting .762 with a tournament record 16 hits over SDSU's six contests.
New Mexico would answer with a run in the bottom of the second and take a 2-1 lead with another marker in its half of the fourth. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Aztecs put three on the board in their half of the fifth on a two-run double by France and RBI single by Matt Muñoz to go up 4-2. It was a lead they would not surrender the remainder of the game.
Walby departed after five innings of work having allowed a pair of runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout. After SDSU upped its lead with a run in the top of the sixth to make it 5-2, the Aztecs called on senior right-hander Ryan Doran, who had tossed a complete game win over Fresno State on Friday.
Doran sailed through the sixth and seventh, but ran into trouble in the eighth when the Lobos scored a run and had runners at first and third with two out. The next batter, UNM's Jared Meek, roped a line drive into the right field corner that looked like it would bring home both runners and tie the game. But right fielder Danny Sheehan retrieved the ball and fired to second baseman Tim Zier who in turn threw home where Jake Romanski tagged out Alex Allbritton attempting to score from first. The play preserved SDSU's lead, which was now down to a single run at 5-4.
The Aztecs would have the final say, however, as they rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth. France led off the frame with a solo home run to left, his second in two days. A Muñoz single was followed by an RBI double from Brad Haynal. Romanski capped off the scoring with a two-run shot over the left field fence.
Ethan Miller then came out of the bullpen to retire the Lobos in order in the bottom of the inning to give SDSU its first conference tournament championship since the 2000 season. Walby was credited with the victory, his second of the tournament, to improve to 5-3.
In addition to France, five other Aztecs earned all-tournament honor. That group included second baseman Tim Zier and center fielder Greg Allen along with starting pitchers Ryan Doran and Philip Walby. Mike Robards was also on the all-tourney team as the top relief pitcher.
The Aztecs will learn their NCAA Regional assignment Monday morning when the announcement is made live on ESPNU beginning at 9:00 a.m. (PT)