Baseball Begins MW Play at San Jose State This Weekend
March 1, 2018
NEW AND NOTES
KICKING OFF MW PLAY: The Aztecs kick off its 19th season of Mountain West play this weekend. The Aztecs joined the league in 2000 and have an all-time record of 285-207 (.579) in MW play. The Aztecs are also 11-7 all-time in its conference-schedule opening games.
PITCHING SHINES: San Diego State pitching is off to one of its best starts in program history, owning a 2.74 ERA, .203 opponent batting average, and 99 total strikeouts -- all three are the best starts for the SDSU pitching staff through a season’s first nine games since joining the Mountain West in 2000. The Aztecs rank first in the MW and 17th in the nation with 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings and are led by Garrett Hill, who has struck out 15 batters per nine innings -- good for best in the MW and 30th best in the nation.
IMPACT FRESHMAN: Freshman outfielder Matt Rudick has been one of the focal points for the SDSU lineup in the early goings of the 2018 season, hitting a team-best .414 while also leading the team with a .469
RECAPPING THE LEGACY: SDSU recorded its best record when hosting a regular season tournament since 2012 last weekend, going 2-1 in the 2018 Tony Gwynn Legacy. The Aztecs recorded an extra-inning win against Arizona on Friday night, before falling victim to a three-run ninth inning in a 5-2 loss against No. 4 Arkansas Saturday night. The Aztecs concluded a stretch of five games in five days with a pair of one-run wins over Grand Canyon (5-4) and Michigan (4-3) before the team fell in its road schedule opener at UC Irvine, 9-4.
EXPERIENCE ON THE DIAMOND: Despite having a team of 15 freshmen -- the program’s largest freshman class since 2011 -- the Aztecs have two of the most experienced players in the nation this year in Chase Calabuig, who is fifth among all DI players with 188 career games played, and Jacob Erickson, who leads all DI pitchers with 98 career pitching appearances. The Aztecs are the only team in the nation to have a player in the top five of both categories.
PLAYING CLOSE: San Diego State either led or was tied after eight innings in each of its first eight games to start the season. The Aztecs are particularly strong in the later stages of the game, owning one of the longest active winning streaks in the country when leading after eight innings at 54 games.
Longest active winning streaks when leading after 8 innings
1 New Mexico 154
2 Louisville 55
3 San Diego State 54
4 Clemson 48
WELCOME TO THE TEAM: Nine SDSU pitchers have made their Aztec debuts so far in the 2018 season, and the newcomers have contributed nicely, owning a collective 2.14 ERA over 42 innings pitched this season. The same group of Noah Fluman, Christian Winston, Casey Schmitt, Justin Goossen-Brown, Daniel Ritcheson, Jacob Flores, Casey O’Sullivan, Garrett Hill, and Clark Eder have combined for a .197 opponent batting average, having only allowed 31 hits in 42 combined innings this year.
EYEING 1,000: Head coach Mark Martinez is in his fourth season at the helm for
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
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
In his first
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.
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. Corner infielder 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 in spring training camps 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.