Aztecs Fall To Seventh-Ranked Virginia At NCAA Regional

Mitch Blackburn had a pair of doubles in the loss to Virginia at the NCAA Regional in Irvine on Friday.

May 29, 2009

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IRVINE, Calif. - San Diego State received its usual excellent pitching performance from junior right-hander Stephen Strasburg, but was unable generate much offensive support for the Aztec ace as it fell, 5-1, to seventh-ranked Virginia in the opening game of the NCAA Regional at Irvine, Calif. For the Aztecs, it was a disappointing result in their first NCAA postseason appearance since 1991.

With the victory, Virginia improved to 43-13-1 as it won for the sixth consecutive time including an undefeated run at the ACC tournament. The loss dropped SDSU to 40-22 as it lost its third straight contest for the first time this season.

Despite racking up 15 strikeouts with no walks over seven innings of work, Strasburg (13-1) was tagged with his first loss of the 2009 campaign as he gave up runs in each of the first two innings.

The Cavaliers opened the scoring on a solo home run by designated hitter Phil Gosselin in the bottom of the first. In the next frame, Steven Proscia led off with a single and advance to third on a pair of wild pitches. After a two strikeouts, Proscia scored on an infield single by Jarrett Parker.

Those two runs would be all that Virginia starter Robert Morey (3-0) would need to secure his third win of the year against no defeats. The sophomore scattered five hits over the first six innings while striking out nine and walking three. SDSU failed to cash in on a couple of potential scoring opportunities, leaving nine runners on base against Morey (10 overall).

After Virginia's second-inning run, Strasburg retired 16 of the next 19 hitters he faced over the next 5.1 innings, giving up three singles and allowing just one runner to get as far as second base. His teammates finally broke through for a run of their own in the top of the eighth on a walk to Corey Vaughn, double by Mitch Blackburn and sacrifice fly by Chris Wilson.

With Strasburg out of the contest, Virginia struck for three insurance runs in the bottom of the same inning off reliever Andrew Leary. The big blow in the frame was a two-out two-run homer by Proscia to make it a 4-1 contest. Cavalier closer Kevin Arico came on in the ninth to retire the Aztecs in order to nail down the victory.

Blackburn was the lone SDSU batter to reach safely more than once on the night as his pair of doubles accounted for two of his team's six hits. Third baseman Easton Gust was on base in three of his four plate appearances with a single walk and hit by pitch.

The Aztecs will now face defending national champion Fresno State in an elimination game on Saturday, May 30, at 4:00 p.m. (PT) at Anteater Ballpark. The Bulldogs fell to top-ranked UC Irvine, 4-2, in the nightcap of Saturday's Regional doubleheader.

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