Friday, May 15, 2009

Strasburg Not Dominant, But Plenty Good Enough

OGDEN, Utah -- Here's how good SDSU All-American pitcher Stephen Strasburg is:
His outing Thursday night here against the Utah Utes (7.0 innings-6 hits-2 runs-1 walk-10 strikeouts) would have to be considered rather pedestrian up against some of the dominating performances he has turned in throughout this season.
Coming off his first-career no-hitter last Friday night against Air Force -- when he struck out 17 in his final home start-- Strasburg allowed two runs in the first inning to fall behind for only the second time all season. But he didn't allow anything more after that, and the Aztecs rolled to an
11-2 victory.
SDSU (36-18 overall, 14-8 in the Mountain West Conference) kept alive its hopes of a second-place finish in the conference, pounding out 14 hits for the third consecutive game. If the Aztecs win two more here against the Utes (20-27, 7-15), they'll earn a bye in the first round of the MWC Tournament, which starts next week in Fort Worth, Tex.
Meanwhile, Strasburg improved his record to 12-0, despite the fact he had to pitch out of jams in the 4th and 6th innings -- and in allowing two runs, saw his ERA rise from 1.24 to (oh, no!)
"The thing I liked is that Stephen had to pitch through some trouble tonight," said SDSU Coach Tony Gwynn (see full postgame interview below). "He didn't just cruise through this game. But when he got into trouble, he pitched his way out of it."
The Aztec offense created plenty of trouble early in the game, but failed to capitalize on a bases-loaded chance in the first and went hitless in its first six at-bats with runners in scoring position.
In the fifth, catcher Eric Castro snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run homer, his 10th of the season, and SDSU was finally on its way. The Aztecs added two runs in the 7th and five more in the 8th to reach double-figures in runs scored for third-consecutive game.
Freshman designated hitter Jomel Torres had three hits and two RBI's, while right-fielder Cory Vaughn added three hits and three RBI's for SDSU.

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