Baseball Hosts San Diego Tuesday Night

Feb. 19, 2018

SDSU-USD Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Probable Pitchers
SDSU:
#30 RHP Daniel Ritcheson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
USD:
#30 RHP Gabriel Ponce (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

NEWS AND NOTES

VS. THE TOREROS: 
San Diego State renews its annual crosstown matchup with San Diego at home on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. It will be the first of two meetings with USD in 2018, with the Aztecs making a return trip on March 13. SDSU has won each of the last three meetings against the Toreros, and the program owns a 74-56-3 record all-time against USD.
ON THE AIR: Tuesday night’s game will stream live on the Mountain West Network. Chris Ello will have the call for MWN.
THAT WAS A PRETTY GOOD WEEKEND: San Diego State enjoyed a three-game sweep to open the 2018 campaign, defeating UC Santa Barbara 9-1, 8-4, and 7-5 in the season’s opening weekend. It was the third time in the last six years SDSU has opened a season with a three-game sweep. 
SOME GOOD STATS: For the weekend, the Aztecs outhit UCSB .324 - .168, and posted a significantly better ERA at 1.67 against UCSB’s 7.88. The Aztecs now own a commanding 7-2 edge in the last nine meetings against the Gauchos. 
AMONG THE NATION: The Aztecs were one of 48 teams across the nation to sweep its opening weekend, and are one of just two teams in the MW to do so, only joined by Fresno State. The Aztecs posted the best ERA in the conference and the 20th best opening-weekend ERA in the country at 1.67, while posting the second-best batting average in the conference (26th best in the nation) at .324. 
CALABUIG’s BIG WEEKEND: Chase Calabuig had a weekend to remember in the team’s first series of 2018, leading the team with a .538 batting average, .533 on-base percentage, and 1.154 slugging percentage. Calabuig hit homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career in the final two games against the Gauchos, and he recorded at least one extra-base hit in all three games of the series. 
WELCOME TO THE TEAM: San Diego State saw its newcomers on the mound shine over the weekend, with the five Aztecs who made their SDSU debut this weekend (Garrett Hill, Daniel Ritcheson, Justin Goossen-Brown, Casey O’Sullivan, and Jacob Flores) combining for 10.1 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 12 K, a 0.00 ERA, and a .138 opponent batting average.
MW PRESEASON POLL: The Aztecs were picked to finish second in the MW in a preseason vote by the leagues head coaches, finishing just one first-place vote and two overall points behind projected favorite New Mexico. David Hensley, the team’s leading hitter from a year ago with a .357 batting average, and Logan Boyer (1.46 ERA in 10 appearances last year) were named to the 2017 preseason all-MW team. 
WHO’S BACK: The Aztecs return 16 players from the 2017 team, including all-MW second team honoree David Hensley and MW all-tournament team selection Jordan Verdon. SDSU has nine returning hitters from a year ago who contributed 44 percent of SDSU’s hit total while posting a collective .299 batting average. On the mound, the Aztecs bring back eight pitchers who logged 34 percent of the teams innings last year while posting a collective 4.02 earned run average.
EYEING 1,000: Head coach Mark Martinez is in his fourth season at the helm for SDSU, and owns a 107-82 career record with two Mountain West Tournament championships in his first three years as head coach. Prior to being named the late Tony Gwynn’s successor as head coach in the summer of 2014, Martinez spent nine years as Gwynn’s head assistant. Combining Martinez’s win total as an assistant at Mesa State (now Colorado Mesa), New Mexico, and SDSU, and wins as head coach at SDSU, Martinez has been a part of 994 collegiate baseball wins since starting his coaching career in 1984.
FOUR OF FIVE: SDSU enters 2018 as the only team in DI baseball to have won four conference tournament championships in the last five years. The Aztecs look to make it five of six in 2018, and as an added bonus, SDSU will host the 2018 Mountain West Tournament from May 24 - 27.
NON-CONFERENCE STRENGTH: SDSU’s non-conference schedule features 25 games against 14 different opponents, with 11 of those opponents being either ranked or receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s preseason top 40 poll. The highest ranked 2018 opponent for SDSU in the preseason rankings is No. 3 Arkansas, which visits Tony Gwynn Stadium on Feb. 24 as part of the Tony Gwynn Legacy. 16 of SDSU’s 25 non-conference games come against Big West opponents (last year’s No. 8 RPI conference).
BIBLE BACK IN ACTION: After being diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2017, redshirt junior outfielder Chad Bible heard the good news in August 2017 that he was cancer free. Bible, who led all California junior college players in 2016 with 15 home runs, is expected to be a main contributor and middle-of-the-order-type threat in the SDSU lineup. Despite his diagnosis last year, Bible was able to play in seven games, and recorded at least one hit in six of them. To cap his inspirational season, Bible recorded a double to right field in his final at bat of the season after starting cancer treatment with Dr. Stephen Forman, M.D. at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.
In his first at-bat since defeating his battle with cancer, Bible ripped a single on the first pitch he saw and later came around to score SDSU’s first run of the 2018 season. He followed that up with a 3-RBI triple on Saturday night, setting a new career-high for the Valencia, Calif. native while putting the game out of reach and bringing Saturday’s game to its final 8-4. 
YOUNG GUNS: With 15 players lost from last season’s team, the Aztecs welcome 18 additions to the 2018 roster, including 15 freshmen -- tied for SDSU’s largest incoming freshman class since 2011. The incoming freshman class is ranked the No. 14 recruiting class in the nation according to Perfect Game and includes seven players who rank in the top 10 at their respective positions among class of 2017 California high school players.
PRESEASON LOVE: Both Baseball America and D1Baseball.com projected SDSU as a regional team in 2018. Baseball America also listed four SDSU student-athletes as top 10 2018 MW prospects with junior first baseman Jordan Verdon at No. 3, senior outfielder Chase Calabuig at No. 6, and junior catcher Dean Nevarez at No. 7.
BIG EXPECTATIONS: Freshman Casey Schmitt is expected to be SDSU’s opening day third baseman, and as a highly touted recruit from nearby Eastlake HS, Schmitt has garnered some national attention, being named Baseball America, Perfect Game, and D1Baseball.com’s Mountain West Preseason Freshman of the Year. Schmitt ranks as the No. 3 class of 2017 third baseman in the state of California according to Perfect Game after posting a junior season with a .500 batting average and seven home runs while serving as Eastlake’s closer.
STARTING OFF AT HOME: The Aztecs start its 2018 season with eight consecutive home games, its longest homestand to start a season since starting the 2011 season with 11 consecutive home games. Since the start of the 2012 season, the Aztecs are 109-76 (.582) at Tony Gwynn Stadium. 
AMONG THE NATIONAL LEADERS LAST SEASON: San Diego State ranked near the top of the nation in many hitting, pitching, and fielding statistics last season, including finishing sixth in total hits (700), second in double plays turned (67), 13th in team batting average (.314), 21st in walks allowed per nine innings (2.98), and 22nd in fielding percentage (.979). The Aztecs were one of just two teams in the nation to be in the top 25 in both team batting average and team fielding percentage, joined by only UNC-Greensboro. 
 
SURE-HANDED: The Aztecs posted the best team fielding percentage in program history last season, setting a new mark at .979. First baseman Jordan Verdon was one of the best defensive players in the nation last year, recording just one error in 585 chances last year for a .998 fielding percentage.
ALUMS REPORT TO SPRING TRAINING: San Diego State has 17 alums ready to report to spring training for their respective MLB clubs, including six alums taking part in MLB spring training. 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg is set to follow up a National League Cy Young Award Finalist season for the Washington Nationals. Greg Allen (Indians), Seby Zavala (White Sox), Addison Reed (Twins), Jake Romanski (Red Sox) and Quintin Berry (Brewers) are all set to report for their respective MLB spring training camps.  Members of the 2017 team who are reporting to minor league spring training include Tyler Adkison (Dodgers), CJ Saylor (Cardinals), Brett Seeburger (Cardinals), Marcus Reyes (Blue Jays), and Alan Trejo (Rockies). 2017 National League Manager of the Year Finalist and Aztec pitcher from 1978-79 Bud Black is set to start his 11th season as an MLB manager and his second with the Colorado Rockies after reaching the National League Wild Card game last season. 
A LOOK AT THE LEGACY: This weekend SDSU hosts the Tony Gwynn Legacy, where teams from around the nation will visit San Diego for a tournament featuring SDSU, San Diego, Arkansas, Arizona, Michigan, Grand Canyon, and Cal Poly. Last year, the seven teams combined for a 259-149-1 record (.633 winning percentage), while four of the seven teams (SDSU, Arkansas, Michigan and Arizona) made an NCAA Regional in 2017. The seven teams also combined for 39 players taken in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft and all seven teams are either ranked or receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s preseason top 40. Tony Gwynn Stadium will host two games per day from Feb. 23 - 25 with the Aztecs playing in the second game of each day (Feb. 24 vs. Arizona - 6pm, Feb. 25 vs. Arkansas - 6pm, Feb. 26 vs. Grand Canyon - 2pm).

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