May 25, 2012
San Diego State saw an early seven-run lead go by the wayside, but rallied late to break an 8-8 deadlock en route to a 15-9 victory over UNLV at the 2012 Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas Friday afternoon. The Aztecs got some timely hitting and a heroic pitching performance from freshman Michael Cederoth as they eliminated the Rebels (26-31) from the league championship tourney in a game played in windy conditions with gusts to 35 mile per hour.
After scoring 11 runs in the ninth inning of a heartbreaking loss on Thursday, SDSU (25-33) continued its hot hitting as it put up seven runs over the first two frames against the tourney hosts. Greg Allen led off the bottom of the first with a home run to right center field, his first of the season. Tim Zier then reached on an error and scored ahead of Ryan Muno's homer to right that gave the Aztecs a quick 3-0 lead.
The Aztecs added four more in the next inning, scoring one on a wild pitch, one on an RBI single by Muno and two on Spencer Thornton's double down the left field line.
Playing in a steady wind blowing out, SDSU saw its lead cut to three as the Rebels put four on the board against junior right-handed starter Ryan Doran in their half of the third. They moved to within 7-5 as they added another marker in the fifth off Doran, whose day would be curtailed with the arrival of Ethan Miller from the pen. Miller got the final out of the inning with two runners aboard to avoid further damage.
However, after the Aztecs tallied once in the bottom of the fifth on Allen's RBI single to go up 8-5, UNLV tied the contest in the next inning against Miller. Back-to-back singles to begin the frame were followed by a three-run homer to left center off the bat of Mark Shannon.
That long ball ended Miller's stint and brought Cederoth to the mound. The freshman right-hander, who suffered a broken jaw in a game at Texas A&M two weeks ago and had his jaw wired shut, came on to retire the next three batters to keep the score knotted at 8-8.
San Diego State took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth as it scored four times against Rebel reliever Zak Qualls (4-6), who had pitched effectively since the third inning and kept his team in the game. All four runs in the inning came with two outs after Muno had singled with one down and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jake Romanski's double scored Muno and was followed by a walk to Jomel Torres. Seby Zavala then launched a triple to right center to bring home both runners before scoring himself on a wild pitch to give the Aztecs a 12-8 advantage.
The Rebels would add an unearned run in the top of the eighth after the first hitter of the inning reached on an error and eventually scored. But SDSU added three insurance runs, all unearned as well, in the bottom of the inning courtesy of a two-run single by Tim Zier and an RBI single by Chris Wilson.
Cederoth finished out the contest by retiring the side in the top of the ninth as he picked up the win to even his record at 4-4. He went the final four innings allowing the one unearned run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Ryan Muno finished the afternoon with three hits including the homer, three RBI and two runs scored. Greg Allen and Jomel Torres (three runs scored, two stolen bases) had two hits apiece with Allen also walking three times, driving in two and scoring three runs. Seby Zavala and Spencer Thornton also recorded two RBI each.
San Diego State's next game will come against the loser of Friday night's TCU-New Mexico match-up in an elimination contest scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. start on Saturday (March 26) at Earl E. Wilson Stadium.