Men’s Basketball Season Review

By Richard Armstrong

After San Diego State failed to make the NCAA or NIT tournaments for the first time since the 2004-2005 season last year, expectations coming into this season were mixed. The team also looked to move on from the greatest coach in the history of San Diego State Basketball, Steve Fisher, after he retired following last season. Most pundits agreed on a couple things however: the Aztecs are talented, they play good defense, and they should compete with Nevada, Boise State, and Fresno State for top dog in the Mountain West.

The out of conference schedule included a road game at Arizona State, in addition to home games against: Georgia, Washington State, Cal, and last year’s national title runner up Gonzaga. The Aztecs were able to pick up wins against Georgia and Gonzaga, but lost to all three Pac-12 foes. They finished the non-conference portion of their schedule 8-3 and hoped to build off the momentum from the win over then seventh ranked Gonzaga when conference play started. The conference schedule started with a loss on the road against Wyoming, but the Aztecs followed that up with 3 consecutive victories against Utah State, Colorado State, and San Jose State. Inconsistency would plague this team all season, as they would end up losing their next 3 games to Boise State, Fresno State, and New Mexico by 3 points, 4 points, and 4 points respectively. The Aztecs would then go on to alternate wins and losses over their next 4 games beating Colorado State and Air Force, but losing on the road at UNLV by 10 and at Fresno by 18. Following their loss to Fresno State, the Aztecs traveled to Reno to take on the only team in the Mountain West ranked inside the top 25 and current leaders of the conference, the Nevada Wolfpack. The score at halftime was tied at 35, but the second half was a completely different story and the Aztecs would go on to lose this game by 25 points.

Since the shellacking the Aztecs were handed in the second half of that game, they are undefeated going an impressive 6-0 including wins over the top two teams in the conference, Boise State and Nevada. San Diego State now takes their modest 6 game winning streak into the Mountain West Conference Tournament, which begins on Wednesday March 7th. The Aztecs will be looking for revenge against their first opponent, Fresno State, who swept them in both meetings during the regular season, the game will take place Thursday at 2:30 PM with the winner facing Nevada in the semi-final on Friday. Coaches always talk about playing your best basketball in March, and that is exactly what the Aztecs are doing. The Aztecs would need to win the Mountain West Tournament if they want a chance of dancing in the NCAA tournament, so it is as good a time as any to be firing on all cylinders. If the Aztecs are unable to bring home the Mountain West Tournament Championship, it seems likely they will end up in the NIT for the second time in the last 3 years.

SDSU Baseball Off to Hot Start

By Rauiri McCann

SDSU baseball has started the season hot, winning six of their first nine games. This has been in large part due to their strong offense and powerful pitching. The top offensive players include:

Chase Calabuig, Matt Rudick, and Jordan Verdon.

Senior, Chase Calabuig, has been the power of the offense, slashing .333/.405/.611. He leads the team in doubles (4), home runs (2), RBIs (7), and total bases (22).

New to the team, Matt Rudick, has made a big impression is his first nine games as an Aztec. He has started his collegiate baseball career slashing .414/.469/.483. He is tied for the team lead in hits (12) and triples (1).

Junior, Jordan Verdon, has provided a solid bat in the middle of the lineup for the Aztecs so far. He is slashing .273/.342/.424, with three doubles, 6 RBIs, and a team leading three Hit By Pitches.

Perhaps the main reason the Aztecs are 6-3 to start the season is because of their pitching. The top pitchers include: Jacob Erickson, Adrian Mardueno, Jorge Fernandez, and Garrett Hill.

Jacob Erickson has been one of the go to men out of the bullpen for Mark Martinez, and Erickson has not let him down so far. He has a 2.53 ERA in 10.2 IP, with 12 strikeouts and a batting average against of .225.

Adrian Mardueno has been another go-to for Martinez, appearing in five of the Aztec’s nine games. He has pitched to an astounding 0.00 ERA in 5 innings, with 8 strikeouts and a batting average against of .235.

Jorge Fernandez has lived up to the expectations of closer, receiving saves in two of the six wins. He has dominated with his electric stuff, pitching to a 1.12 ERA in 8 innings of work. He has 9 strikeouts and a batting average against of .172.

So far, Garrett Hill has been the teams top starter, with a 3.00 ERA through 9 innings in his first two starts of the year. He has sent down 15 batters via the strikeout, dominating lineups with a .250 batting average against.

The Aztecs have a young team full of potential this season, making them favorites to repeat as Mountain West Champions. With the first two weeks of the season down, the Aztecs have proven they are not a team to mess with this year.

Men’s Basketball Takes Down Boise State

By Chris Reik

On this past Tuesday February 27th, the San Diego State Aztec’s Men’s Basketball team took on Boise State at home in Viejas arena. The Aztecs came into the game at 17-10 as the opposing Boise State Broncos were 22-6. This being a conference match up the Aztecs knew this was a big game to propel them into the mountain west tournament in hopes of winning and receiving a bid to the March Madness round of sixty-four. From the tip, the energy was high in the arena. After trading buckets early, the Broncos pulled out two a nine-point lead with a little less than ten-minutes left in the first half. Boise States Justinian Jessup had hit two three pointers to this point and it was looking as if he was going to be the player to stop. This is when Coach Brian Dutcher of the Aztec’s called a timeout and made the correct adjustments for the remainder of the half. After this there was a burst of energy from the Aztecs who went into a three-quarter court press and forced multiple steals which led to fast break points and eventually the one point lead at half time. Once the second half commenced the Aztecs knew what they had to do to keep the lead and secure the victory. Jalen McDaniel’s and Matt Mitchell led the early scoring for the Aztecs that allowed them to push their lead to eight with just a little less than ten minutes left. This lead held to for the rest of the game giving the Aztecs a 72-64 victory and improved their record to 18-10. Jalen McDaniel’s finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds making him the Aztecs leading scorer, where the Bronco’s Chandler Hutchison put up 18 on the other side. The Aztec’s are looking to finish out their regular season on a six-game win streak at home on Saturday March 3rd, as they take on the 21st ranked Nevada Wolfpack at home.