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Aztec Baseball Set To Host Tony Gwynn 2007 Classic

Nick Romero ranks among the top 10 in the Mountain West Conference in five offensive categories.
Nick Romero ranks among the top 10 in the Mountain West Conference in five offensive categories.

March 8, 2007

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WHAT'S ON TAP THIS WEEKEND IN AZTEC BASEBALL
*** San Diego State will host the Tony Gwynn 2007 Classic this weekend with a total of six games at three sites. Other teams in the field include Michigan, Oklahoma and University of San Diego.
*** The complete tournament schedule is as follows:

Friday, March 9
    Michigan vs. San Diego (at USD)..........2:00 p.m.
    Oklahoma vs. San Diego State (at SDSU)...6:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 10 (at PETCO Park)
    Oklahoma vs. San Diego...................3:00 p.m.
    Michigan vs. San Diego State.............7:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 11 (at SDSU)
    Michigan vs. Oklahoma...................10:00 a.m.
    San Diego vs. San Diego State............4:00 p.m.
*** Between games at PETCO Park on Saturday (at approximately 6:30 p.m.) there will be a special ceremony on the field honoring SDSU head coach Tony Gwynn on his election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

AZTECS AT PETCO PARK
*** Tickets for the Saturday doubleheader are available on the Internet at Padres.com or Goaztecs.com as well as at the Padre ticket office at PETCO Park. They may also be purchased by calling 1-877-FRIAR TIX (374-2784).
*** The Michigan-SDSU contest at PETCO Park will be broadcast live on CASH 1700 radio in addition to the regular Internet broadcast available at goaztecs.com. The game will also be televised locally on Channel 4 San Diego.

HEAD COACH Tony Gwynn
*** Tony Gwynn is in his fifth season as San Diego State's head coach after being named to the position in Sept. 2001. He became just the fourth head coach in SDSU history since baseball was elevated to major sport status in 1936.
*** In 2002, he served as a volunteer coach for the Aztecs under Jim Dietz, who retired at the end of that season.
*** In 2004, Gwynn led his squad to the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship and was named the MWC C coach of the year.
*** A former Aztec who played baseball at San Diego State from 1979 to 1981, Gwynn concluded a 20-year major league career with the San Diego Padres in 2001. With a career batting average of .338, he won eight National League batting titles, five Gold Gloves, and made 15 appearances in the annual All-Star Game.
*** Tony Gwynn was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Jan. 7 along with Cal Ripken, Jr. He will be officially inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown during the weekend of July 27-30.

SERIES RECORDS
*** San Diego State and Oklahoma have met just once previously with the Aztecs taking a 9-8 decision at Tony Gwynn Stadium during the 2001 season.
*** Saturday's contest will be the first-ever meeting between SDSU and Michigan.
*** San Diego State leads its series with University of San Diego by the count of 55-43-3 since the teams first squared off in 1962. Over the past five seasons, the Toreros have won 10 of 14 games (and seven of the last eight) between the schools, including a sweep of the four contests played in 2006. SDSU's last win over USD at Tony Gwyn Stadium came in 2003.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
*** Oklahoma enters the weekend with a record of 11-4, a mark that includes a current winning streak of nine games. The Sooner offense is led by shortstop, Aaron Reza (.467, 3 doubles, 13 RBI), first baseman Aaron Baker (.448, 7 doubles, 20 RBI) and outfielder Joe Dunigan (.333, 2 HR, 14 RBI). Oklahoma is expected to start right-hander Stephen Porlier (3-0, 2.42) against the Aztecs. Reliever Garrett Richards has recorded four saves. The Sooners are hitting .308 as a team with a 3.55 earned run average.
*** Michigan brings a mark 5-2 into its Friday game at University of San Diego. The Wolverines' top hitters include shortstop Jason Christian (.440, 4 doubles, 3 RBI), third baseman Adam Abraham (.387, 6 RBI) and catcher-first baseman Nate Recknagel (.379, 4 HR, 10 RBI). Michigan's starting pitcher vs. SDSU will be Zach Putnam (2-0, 1.46), the team's number-one hurler. Michigan's team batting average is .314 while its earned run average stands at 4.68.
*** The University of San Diego, ranked 22nd in the nation this week (Baseball America), comes into the tourney with a record of 13-8 and will face Michigan and Oklahoma before taking on SDSU on Sunday. USD is led on offense by second baseman Justin Snyder (.385, 6 doubles, 10 RBI), shortstop Sean Nicol (.350, 2 HR, 9 RBI) and outfielder Logan Gelbrich (.346, 4 doubles, 13 RBI). Ricardo Pecina (3-2, 3.45) will face SDSU on Sunday, backed up by closer AJ Griffin, who has five saves. The Toreros are hitting .308 with a team ERA of 4.43.

MOST RECENTLY
*** The Aztecs won three of four games last weekend in Stockton, Calif., including two of three at the Pacific State Bank Tiger Classic hosted by University of the Pacific.
*** On Thursday (March 1), SDSU defeated Pacific, 3-1, as Brian Lucas had a pair of hits and two RBI. Steven Hirschfeld allowed one hit over six innings to pick up the win.
*** In their first game of the Tiger Classic on Friday (March 2), the Aztecs were victorious over Pacific by the score of 6-2 as Lucas had two hits and scored twice. In addition, Garett Green had a two-RBI double to break open a one-run game late in the contest. Donnie Hume struck out seven in six innings to record the win.
*** On Saturday, San Francisco defeated SDSU, 3-1. The Aztecs had the bases loaded with no outs twice in the game, but could only score once. Starter Bruce Billings allowed one unearned run on one hit over seven innings, but was not involved in the decision as reliever Aaron Brady took the loss.
*** In the tourney finale, San Diego State defeated 29th-ranked Baylor, 6-2, thanks to a five-run fifth inning that saw it overcome an early 2-0 deficit. Five players had two hits apiece for SDSU with Lucas driving in a pair of runs. Lance Sewell went eight innings to pick up his third win of the season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
*** Junior first baseman Brian Lucas was named Mountain West Conference Baseball Player of the Week for his performance in SDSU's four games last week.
*** Lucas, a native of Benicia, Calif, hit .563 (9-for-16) for the week with four doubles, a triple, four runs scored and four RBI. He had at least two hits in each of SDSU's contests in Stockton including three hits in Thursday's win over UOP.
*** Lucas had a .988 slugging percentage and a .538 on-base percentage for the week, and struck out only once in 17 plate appearances.
*** In addition to being named conference player of the week, he was also listed on the College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll for his effort last week.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK
*** SDSU made it a sweep of league honors as sophomore Lance Sewell was named the MWC Pitcher of the Week this past Monday.
*** Sewell, from Gilbert, Ariz. (Highland HS), went eight innings in SDSU's 6-2 win over 29th-ranked Baylor on Sunday at the Pacific State Bank Tiger Classic.
*** He gave up just two runs on three hits as he picked up the win to improve to 3-0 on the year. He recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts in the contest.

MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
*** Brian Lucas was named the Most Outstanding Player at last weekend's Pacific State Bank Tiger classic in Stockton.
*** In SDSU's three tournament contests, the junior from Benicia, Calif., went 6-for-12 with a .667 slugging percentage and a .538 on-base percentage.
*** He also had a pair of doubles, scored three times and drove in a pair of runs.

ALL-TOURNEY AZTECS
*** In addition to Lucas, six other Aztecs were named to the 14-man all-tournament team last weekend. That group included three position players and three pitchers.
*** The position players included shortstop Troy Hanzawa (5-for-11, double, two RBI), catcher Frank LoNigro (4-for-11, 3 doubles, 2 runs) and outfielder Cameron Johnson (3-for-10, double, run, RBI). *** On the pitching side, SDSU's starting trio of Donnie Hume, Bruce Billings and Lance Sewell earned all-tourney accolades.
*** Hume went six innings on Friday, allowing no earned runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in the Aztecs' win over the host school. Billings, who was not involved in the decision in Saturday's loss to San Francisco, gave up an unearned run and just one hit over seven innings of work. Sewell pitched eight innings and struck out 11 in the win over Baylor.

GREAT STARTING PITCHING
*** The Aztecs starting pitching quartet of Steven Hirschfeld, Donnie Hume, Bruce Billings and Lance Sewell was rock solid in SDSU's four game last week.
*** The foursome combined to pitch 27 innings, giving up no earned runs on nine hits while striking out 27. Their combined earned run average for the week was 0.67.
*** Over 35 innings pitched last week (including relievers), SDSU gave up just three earned runs for a staff ERA of 0.77 while opponents batted just .139.

LONIGRO HEATS UP
*** Catcher Frank LoNigro is on a five-game hitting streak during which he is 9-for-19 (.474).
*** After going 4-for-11 last weekend, his average now stands at .306, his highest mark of the season.
*** LoNigro has five doubles over his last five games and leads the team with seven.
*** In the 11 games in which he has appeared behind the plate, he has not committed an error in 92 chances.

GREEN GETS OFFENSIVE
*** Second baseman Garett Green went 4-for-11 with three RBI in three games at last weekend's tournament at Pacific.
*** Two of his hits went for doubles and he also walked once for a .417 on-base percentage.
*** He has committed just one error in SDSU's last 16 contests.

SEWELL SOLID ON THE MOUND
*** Sophomore lefty Lance Sewell has been solid in his last two Sunday starts on the mound. In those two contests, he has allowed just two earned runs on four hits over 15 innings for a 1.20 ERA.
*** He has struck out 21 batters and walked four in his last two outings as well, including a career-best 11 last weekend vs. Baylor.
*** His three wins ties him for the team lead with fellow lefty Donnie Hume.

COLWELL IN RIGHT
*** Freshman walk-on Pat Colwell had a nine-game hitting streak stopped in last Saturday's game at Pacific. That streak is the longest by an Aztec this season.
*** Colwell made his first collegiate start as the designated hitter against Loyola Marymount on Feb. 13 and singled to lead off the contest. He finished that game with three hits, two runs scored, two steals and a sacrifice bunt.
*** Prior to the LMU contest, he had only made a pair of pinch-running appearances.
*** His .407 on-base percentage and .302 batting average both rank fourth on the team.

STRASBURG IMPRESSES
*** Freshman right-hander Stephen Strasburg appeared in three games last weekend, throwing the ninth inning in the three contests which SDSU won.
*** In those three innings, he gave up one hit, walked none and struck out three.
*** He picked up his first collegiate save in the 3-1 win over Pacific last Thursday.
*** Strasburg's lone rough outing this season came against USC on Sunday, Feb. 18, when he allowed four earned runs in one inning of work.
*** Not counting the USC game, he has allowed just one earned run on four hits with 12 strikeouts over nine innings in his other seven appearances in 2007.

HIRSCHFELD MAKES IT TWO
*** Starting pitcher Steven Hirschfeld picked up his second win of the season last week in the victory at Pacific last week (Mar. 1) to improve to 2-0 on the year.
*** Hirschfeld has pitched well in his first four collegiate starts, allowing just six earned runs for a 2.70 ERA.
*** His first two appearances of the season resulted in no-decisions.
*** Hirschfeld will get the start in Friday's contest vs. Oklahoma.

HUME IN CONTROL
*** Junior right-hander Donnie Hume has been SDSU's No. 1 starter through the first five weeks of the season and has not disappointed.
*** Over his 31.1 innings of work thus far, he has walked only five batters while striking out 31. Opponents are hitting just .200 against him.
*** Hume tossed eight innings of no-hit baseball vs. UC Riverside on Feb. 23, but lost the game in the final innings when the Aztecs were unable to hold on to a one-run lead. He had a career high 10 strikeouts in that contest.

STEALING AWAY
*** With a total of 29 steals, San Diego State is averaging 1.53 thefts per game.
*** Last season, SDSU had recorded 19 stolen bases through 19 games and finished the year with an average of 0.93 per game.
*** The Aztecs have eight players with at least a pair of steals led by Brandon Glover and Cameron Johnson with five apiece. Pat Colwell is right behind that duo with four.

STREAKS AND SUCH
*** Brian Lucas' current six-game hitting streak is the team's longest active streak in 2007. Frank LoNigro has a five game streak in progress.
*** Garett Green has five multiple-RBI games this season while Brandon Glover is the only Aztec to have five RBI in a game.
*** Troy Hanzawa has the team lead with eight multiple-hit contests.

POWER SHORTAGE
*** The Aztecs have hit just four home runs through their first 15 games, two by Nick Romero and one apiece by Garett Green and Chris Anderson.
*** Last year SDSU averaged almost one per game (57 in 59 contests). That total tied for the second most homers in a season by an Aztec squad.
*** The fewest homers by an Aztec team in the Division I era (since 1969) is 13 by the 1991 team. That squad finished 43-21 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals.

THE RECORD BOOK
*** Junior pitcher Bruce Billings has 261 strikeouts over his three-plus collegiate seasons and is approaching the SDSU career mark.
*** He needs 39 K's to break the Aztec record of 299 held by Mike Erb (1985-87).
*** Billings currently is third in career starts with 43 (school record is 56), seventh in innings pitched at 269.2 (school record is 342.2) and 18th in wins with 18 (school record is 32 victories).

ROMERO HONORED
*** Sophomore Nick Romero was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week for his performance in SDSU's four games vs. Loyola Marymount and USC the week of Feb. 12-18.
*** He went 7-for-13 (.538) from the plate that week, with a slugging percentage of 1.077, three triples, one double, six runs scored and one RBI in four that week.
*** In San Diego State's 10-6 win over Loyola Marymount, Romero went 2-for-2 with two triples, two runs scored and a stolen base. In the first game of the three-game series vs. No. 21 USC, Romero went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in a 3-7 loss.
*** In game two of the series, he turned in a 1-for-3 performance, one RBI and one run scored performance. In the bottom of the eighth, Romero smacked a two-out RBI triple, which put SDSU up 4-2 heading into the ninth inning, before the Aztecs lost 5-4. In the final game of the series, Romero went 1-for-4 with a double and one run scored as San Diego State upset the 21st-ranked Trojans, 12-11.
*** In addition to being named conference player of the week, he was also listed on the College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll for his effort that week.

AZTEC NOTES
*** Freshman catcher Matt Parker made his first appearance of the season in last Thursday's game at Pacific and came through with an RBI single in his first collegiate at bat.
*** Pitchers Lance Sewell (27) and Donnie Hume (21) rank first and third in the Mountain West Conference in strikeouts this week. They are also both among the top 10 in earned run average and opponent batting average as is teammate Steven Hirschfeld.
*** The Aztecs have been error-free in three of their last six games and have won all three.
*** Brandon Glover had a pair of doubles last Sunday vs. Baylor to break out of a 1-for-27 slump at the plate.
*** SDSU catchers Chris Anderson, Frank LoNigro and Matt Parker have not committed an error through the team's first 19 games (165 chances).
*** The team's six doubles last Sunday against 29th-ranked Baylor were a season high.
*** Nick Romero's four triples lead the conference.
*** Since allowing three runs to Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 20, right-hander Mike Koons has not given up an earned run over his last three relief appearance covering 4.2 innings.
*** Freshman Josh Chasse, who suffered a hyper-extended knee in the game at USC on Feb. 9, has missed the last 10 contests and may available for limited duty this weekend. He had moved into the starting role in right field for the seven games prior to his injury.
*** The crowd of 1,513 fans that witnessed the Aztecs play USC on Saturday, Feb. 10, was the fifth-largest crowd for an SDSU baseball game at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

ON DECK
*** Following this weekend's tournament action, the Aztecs will travel north to face UC Riverside on Tuesday, March 13, at 6:00 p.m. at the Riverside Sports Complex.
*** Next weekend, SDSU will host a three-game series against 23rd-ranked UCLA with the opening game set for Friday, March 16, at 6:00 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
*** The series will continue with single games on Saturday (March 17) and Sunday (March 18), both at 1:00 p.m.