Saturday, May 16, 2015

Aztecs remain alive with 2 late rallies Saturday


San Diego State remained alive in NCAA Los Angeles Regional action Saturday, scoring late twice in a pair of 1-run victories.  In the afternoon session, the Aztecs scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to eliminate Cal State Northridge 5-4.  Later, San Diego State rallied to tie Texas in the bottom of the seventh before pulling out a 4-3 win in nine innings to eliminate the Longhorns.

In an odd twist, both Aztecs wins came over teams Mountain West champion Fresno State defeated during the regular season.  Now, SDSU gets the chance to face its first ranked opponent since March 18 when it faces regional No. 7 seed UCLA Sunday.  The Aztecs will need to beat the Bruins twice in order to advance to their first Super Regional in school history.

UCLA and San Diego State met on the opening weekend of the 2015 season and the Bruins prevailed 4-1.  In that game, the Bruins managed just four hits against Aztec pitcher Erica Romero. 

In the win over the Matadors, Lorena Bauer hit a 3-run home run in the third inning and an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth that proved to be the game-winner.  Big West champ Northridge saw its late-season problems continue as the Matadors ended the year losing five of their final six, and winning only three of their last 10 games.  Romero went the distance and needed just 94 pitches to complete the win.

In the game with Texas, all of the late-game scoring came on home runs as the teams combined for five round-trippers from the sixth inning on.  The Longhorns continually threatened early, but Erica Romero escaped jam after jam.   At one point, San Diego State was being out-hit by the Longhorns eight to one, but led 1-0.  Its lone hit to that point was a third inning Kayla Jordan single, following a walk and sacrifice.  In the top of the sixth, Texas took a 2-1 lead on a 2-run home run before SDSU answered with a homer from Jenavee Peres in the bottom of the inning.  The Horns responded with a 2-out blast in the top of the seventh and were two outs from victory in the bottom of the inning when Hayley Miles launched a solo shot of her own to tie it.  Romero escaped trouble in the eighth after giving up a walk and single to begin the frame, aided by some ineffective Texas at-bats, with quick outs that failed to advance the base runners.  In the ninth, SDSU's leadoff batter, Taylor Stewart, hit a walk-off homer to right on the third pitch of the bottom half of the inning to win it.

Texas out-hit San Diego State nine to six, but it was the Aztecs who made their hits count.  SDSU is now 38-19 on the season, while Texas ended the year 38-17.  Romero threw 236 pitches on the day and has now picked up 36 of the Aztecs' 38 wins.