Aztecs Visit St. Mary's for Four-Game Series

Tim Zier's .432 batting average leads the Mountain West heading into this weekend's action.

Feb. 27, 2014

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San Diego State will be on the road this weekend for a four-game series at St. Mary's in Moraga, Calif. The Aztecs and Gaels will meet for a single game on Friday (Feb. 27) at 2:00 p.m. at Louis Giusto Field. They will also play a doubleheader on Saturday (Feb. 28) that begins at 10:00 a.m. and a single contest on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

St. Mary's leads the series against San Diego State by a 6-4 margin. The teams last met for a three game series in San Diego in 2012 with the Gaels taking two of those three contests. Prior to the 2012 season, SDSU and SMC had not faced each other since the 1984 campaign. San Diego State is 2-4 vs. St. Mary's at home, 0-2 in Moraga and 2-0 at neutral sites. The Aztecs have not visited Moraga since playing a game there in 1950.

Three members of the St. Mary's coaching staff formerly served on the SDSU baseball staff as late as last season. Head coach Eric Valenzuela was the Aztecs' pitching coach from 2010 to 2013. Assistant Coach Mark Viramontes was SDSU's volunteer assistant coach during the same period. Volunteer Assistant Coach Nate Leaser was the Aztecs' Director of Baseball Operations for two seasons (2012-13).

Second baseman Tim Zier has hit .619 (13-for-21) over SDSU's last five contests. At UC Riverside on Tuesday (Feb. 25) he had four hits including a double with an RBI and run scored. It was his second four-hit game in a week. Over the past five games he has a .667 on-base percentage and a .714 slugging percentage.

Ty France had a pair of hits in the win over UC Riverside on Tuesday including a two-out RBI double that tied the game in the top of the ninth. He also scored the winning run in that contest. His average stands at .414, just behind team leader Tim Zier (.417). He has a .655 slugging percentage and a .485 on-base mark. His three doubles in the contest vs. West Virginia on Sunday (Feb. 23) tied the SDSU record four two-baggers in a game. Over the past five games he has five doubles, three runs scored and a seven runs batted in.

After going 1-for-9 in the opening two games of the season, center fielder Greg Allen has hit safely in each of the last six games to up his average to .361. During his current six-game streak he is hitting.444 (12-for-27) with two doubles, a triple, four RBI and five runs scored. His five multiple-hit games ties with Tim Zier for most on the squad.

Following his pitching start in the season opener at San Jose, junior right-hander Michael Cederoth has moved into the Aztec bullpen to take on the role of closer. He recorded his second save at UC Riverside on Tuesday pitching the ninth inning and allowing a hit while striking out two. Last week he earned his first win of the season in the Saturday's (Feb. 22) against West Virginia, tossing the final 1.2 innings in a contest won by SDSU in 10 innings. In Sunday's series finale vs. WVU, he went the final 1.1 innings, retiring all four hitters he faced to record his first career save as an Aztec.

Sophomore Bubba Derby made his second career start in Saturday's (Feb. 22) contest vs. West Virginia. Derby served as SDSU's closer as a freshman, making his only previous start vs. UNLV at the 2013 Mountain West Tournament. Against the Mountaineers last Saturday, he went eight innings allowing one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision in the contest which SDSU won in 10 innings.

Left fielder Seby Zavala is currently on an eight-game hitting streak during which he is batting .314 (11-for-35) with three doubles, a triple, three RBI and six runs scored. Zavala has thrown out three runners at home plate from the outfield.

After going hitless opening weekend in his one game as the designated hitter, freshman CJ Saylor made his first start at catcher on Tuesday (Feb. 25) vs. Loyola Marymount. He responded by going 2-for-4 with a double and triple. His triple came with the bases loaded in the sixth inning as he drove in all three runners to give SDSU its first lead of the contest. Saylor did not appear during the series against West Virginia this past weekend, but returned at catcher against UC Riverside on Tuesday and had three hits, an RBI and run scored.

Seby Zavala is the only Aztec to hit safely in all eight games this season. Greg Allen has a six-game hitting streak in progress entering the week as well. Ty France has hit safely in the each of the last four contests. Those two along with Ty France, Ryan Muno and Evan Potter have reached safely in all seven games (via hit, walk or hit by pitch). Going back to the 2013 campaign, Allen has reached safely in 32 straight games (including the final 24 last year).

Senior second baseman Tim Zier is within striking distance of several SDSU career marks. He has played in 182 games during his SDSU career and could catch the record of 225 contests by Jake McLintock (2002-05). He is currently sixth in career at bats with 722. The record is 843 by McLintock. Zier is also fifth in career hits with 237. The top Aztec mark is 281 by McLintock. His 27 times hit by pitch ranks fourth, nine behind record holder Pat Colwell (2007-09, 11). Zier's 26 career sacrifice bunts is good for fourth, only five shy of the school record of 31 held by Steve Dietz (1990-93).

Tim Zier's .375 batting average leads the Mountain West heading into the weekend. He is also first in hits (16) and fifth in runs scored with seven. Ty France's .665 slugging percentage ranks first in the league while his .414 batting average is second. He is also fourth for the highest on-base percentage (.485). France's seven doubles also tops the Mountain West list and he is seocnd with eight runs scored and third with nine RBI. Greg Allen's .361 batting average ranks eighth in the conference this week while his .500 slugging percentage is fifth. Evan Potter is tied for the lead in being hit by pitch with three. Mark Seyler's two pitching wins ties for the top spot in the conference As a team, San Diego State ranks first in team batting average (.310), fourth in earned run average (3.75) and fourth in fielding percentage (.970).

With a record of 6-2, San Diego State is off to its best start under Head Coach Tony Gwynn and the best for an SDSU squad since the 1997 team opened with a record of 14-2 ... The Aztecs have used only one player as a pinch hitter through the first seven games of the season, that being freshman Tyler Adkison who is 1-for-2 in that role ... Six players have started every game thus far ... Ty France is 6-for-8 with runners in scoring position while Greg Allen is 5-for-9 ... SDSU has hit only one home run through its first seven games, that coming off the bat of Brad Haynal in the contest at San Jose State on Sunday, Feb. 16 ... The Aztecs have had to come from behind in four of their six wins ... SDSU has scored 12 of its 42 runs in the sixth inning.

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