Saturday, March 21, 2009

Something Gained, Something Lost

The SDSU men's basketball team regained a measure of respect for their season last night by defeating Kansas State in the 2nd round of the NIT.  Now, this senior class has something legitimate they can point to as an accomplishment on campus: a 25-win season, the most for an SDSU team in history.  They did so by coming out in the 2nd half last night with passion and determination, and taking care of the backboards after getting dominated on the glass in the first half.  In addition, the senior scorers Spain and Wade each took turns taking control after intermission.  

This Wednesday's game will be the last chance (for sure) to see Spain, Wade, Williams, Amoroso and Shelton in a home uniform at Cox Arena, and I certainly plan to be there for the quarterfinal between the Aztecs and the winner of St. Mary's/Davidson.  From a pure revenge standpoint I'd love to see these guys get a 3rd crack at the Gaels (having lost to them in each of the last two years), but to see Stephen Curry and Davidson at Cox would be equally exciting, so regardless it should be a heck of a game.

Meanwhile at Tony Gwynn Stadium, the Aztecs' baseball team lost a good measure of the momentum they had built up over the past two weeks.  BYU came back with 3 in the 8th and 1 in the 9th to beat SDSU last night 4-2, wasting another brilliant outing from Stephen Strasburg.  Strass matched his baseline performance with another 7IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 15K night.  On his 2nd to last pitch of the 7th Strasburg apparently slipped a little (at least that's what they called it afterward) and the trainer came out.  One pitch and one flyout later, his night was done.  The Aztecs have treated Strasburg like a crown jewel this season, and they weren't about to risk him last night.  Unfortunately Andrew Leary's string of effective relief appearances came to an end as he allowed all four runs in 1+ innings of relief.  

The real problem for SDSU is on offense, where they are getting shut down with far too great a frequency.  It's one thing for a tough righty (like Kansas' Ridenhour, or Toole of BYU) to handle the Aztecs' lineup, and something else altogether for a made-o'-hits righty like Blake Torgerson to hold the team to 2 runs in 7+ IP.  The youth of the SDSU order, which featured three true freshman last night (O'Sullivan, Meredith and Chris Wilson) leads to some poor AB's, and right now the bottom 3rd of the SDSU lineup is producing very little.  

Today's game has suddenly become extremely important.  BYU is not expected to contend for the MWC title this year, even though they are very hot right now (having won 9 of 10), and they are clearly improved as a ballclub.  To get swept at home by the Cougars would be devastating to the Aztecs' hopes.  Already they have likely squandered whatever positive feelings they were starting to generate in the national polls.  Jon Berger will get the ball today, let's hope the senior can continue his impressive run of pitching.  More importantly, SDSU will have to swing the bats today or their great homestand (started 5-0) will suddenly look a whole lot less impressive.  I'll have the call today with a 12:45 pregame and 1pm first pitch on 1360-AM.

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