SDSU Baseball Deserves to be Ranked

Tyler Adkison of SDSU baseball swings away (GoAztecs.com)
Weston Lowe, KCR Sports Host | May 3, 2017

This year’s San Diego State baseball team is one of the best they’ve had in years. With an overall record of 29-13 and a conference record of 13-5, the team is succeeding expectations. The offense is explosive, led by Tyler Atkins who is batting a cool .370 with 11 bombs and 38 runs driven in. The pitching has improved incredibly since last season led by Brett Seeburger and Dominic Purpura, who are both on the list for the National Pitcher of the Year award. The team has had big wins over big time programs such as UCLA and USD who both consistently put out major league talent. They also have wins over two currently ranked teams by the Associated Press, #11 Long Beach State and #16 Cal State Fullerton.

This team is clearly good enough to be ranked. They have an offensive that puts up big time numbers, and a pitching staff that has consistently been able to get the job done. Head Coach Mark Martinez has really put together a team that he has able to get the most out of. The question whoever remains; “why aren’t they getting the respect they deserve?” There are plenty of answers to this question, the most likely of which is probably that they play in the Mountain West, which is often considered a weak conference by AP voters. There also historically tends to be an East Coast bias against West Coast teams, which is also probably another rationale behind the lack of votes the team receives in the polls.

It’s unfair for this team to fly under the radar the way they have been. They consistently give their all on the field and have shown that they can keep up with the big time programs they’ve played. The players and coaches deserve to be recognized for their on-field accomplishments. Although they may play in a “weaker” conference, the team has dominated conference opponents giving them an in-conference scoring margin of +67. It might be wrong that this team is unranked, but the one good thing that may come out of it is that the team will likely use it for motivation to continue beating their rivals. One thing we know for sure is that is the team is extremely good and if they keep this up, they may find themselves making a deep run in the College World Series.

KCR Sports Host Offers His Thoughts On Where the Aztecs Went in the Draft

Well, the 2017 NFL draft is finally over. With first round surprises and picks that we all knew were going to happen, the fourth and fifth round is where the Aztecs made their presence known.

Three major aspects of the 2016-2017 San Diego State football team were taken in the two rounds. But how will they fair in their newly acquired home town?

I’m here to give you my thoughts on what the future is going to be like for the Aztecs that finally made it to the big league.

Nico Siragusa to the Baltimore Ravens

This was a pick that any SDSU football native could have seen coming. A big body Siragusa helped in paving the way for the all-time collegiate rusher in Donnel Pumphrey, so it was to no surprise that he was going to find a home in a city that loved linemen.

In the past, the Ravens have had star linemen such as Jonathan Ogden, Marshall Yanda and Michael Oher, just to name a few. I believe that Siragusa is going to make a major impact in the Ravens running game with Justin Forsett in the backfield. Overall I think that this is a good home for Siragusa and I would give this draft grade a solid A-.

Donnel Pumphrey to the Philadelphia Eagles

Man oh man do I have a lot to say about this acquisition. With the 132nd pick, the Eagles took a chance and traded up to get the 5’8”, 178 pound Pumphrey who in 2017, surpassed the great Ron Dayne in rushing yards. As a Cowboys fan, this draft pick hurt me dearly.

I was not expecting the Eagles to trade up to take Pumphrey, but as far as a system that works for his skillset, Phili does show some promise.

Of course, the Eagles houses one of the elite short-man running backs in Darren Sproles who is in fact two inches shorter than Pumphrey. I think with the mentorship that Sproles can bring, along with a promising backfield with Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood, the leading rusher the chance to make a decent impact with this club. I would give this a draft grade of a B+.

Damontae Kazee to the Atlanta Falcons

 This pick, in my opinion, was the smartest out of all of the three draft picks. With the 149th pick, the Falcons made a very smart move on taking the senior cornerback Damontae Kazee.

Prior to the draft, I had Kazee going as the first Aztec in the draft, but still going to the Falcons. Last season, the Falcons were that one star defensive back away from having an elite defense. Paired with Desmond Trufant, I feel like Kazee is going to be able to make the roster and make an immediate impact for the Falcon’s defense.

Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel is going to have a great time with this defense with star studded players like Vic Beasley Jr., Keanu Neal, Courtney Upshaw, and of course, Kazee. I give this an amazing draft grade of A+.

Aztec Baseball Looks to Continue Remarkable Turnaround

Tyler Adkison of SDSU baseball swings away (GoAztecs.com)

The Aztecs came into this season after a disappointing 2016 campaign in which they finished 21-38. This year’s Aztec squad has returned with renewed vigor and a determination to reclaim their place at the top of the Mountain West. It is in stark contrast to the poor play of the 2016 season, as the Aztecs find themselves at 24-10 heading into Thursday night’s game at UNLV. This turnaround cannot be attributed to one player, for it has been the success of players in all three phases of the game: pitching, defense, and offense.

The starting pitching has been the start of it all, with Brett Seeburger enjoying a bounceback season (6-1, 2.65 ERA) along with Dominic Purpura (5-0, 3.06 ERA). This excellent starting pitching has given a key bridge to what has been a very effective bullpen. The SDSU bullpen this season has featured breakout performances from junior Jacob Erickson (1.50 ERA), freshman Logan Boyer (0.79 ERA), as well as Adrian Mardueno (2.77 ERA). These bullpen pieces have provided solid relief pitching appearances, giving way to standout closer CJ Saylor (1.80 ERA), who has 9 saves on the season. Despite these impressive players, the pitching has only been the start of the Aztecs’ success.

The Aztec defense has also contributed to the team’s success, especially on the infield. Last season Alan Trejo struggled at shortstop, perhaps contributing to his offensive dip; however, with the move to second base this season, he is enjoying a breakout year. The addition of Danny Sheehan at shortstop, who the Aztecs dearly missed last season, has provided great defense and important veteran leadership. This formidable combination up the middle has given the Aztecs’ pitching staff a reliable defense to count on. Third baseman Andrew Brown and first baseman Jordan Verdon have also contributed solid play at both corners. The outfield remains solid, as Chase Calabuig, Tyler Adkison, and Julian Escobedo have proved to be a speedy outfield unit. The catching platoon which includes Dean Nevarez and Hunter Stratton have provided good pitch calling and defense behind the plate. Even freshman catcher Ryan Orr has had a breakout performance against UCLA, throwing out 3 would-be base stealers.

Perhaps the biggest component to the Aztecs’ turnaround has been the offense. The SDSU lineup has become an offensive juggernaut, with standouts Adkison (.402 BA), Brown (.340 BA), Trejo (.315), and Sheehan (.328 BA) leading the way. While these players catch the eye, the lineup has been productive one through nine. Trejo has been the catalyst at the top of the order, getting on base for the likes of Brown and Sheehan. Adkison has provided the power with a team-leading nine home runs on the season. Even the bottom of the order has produced, as DH Andrew Martinez has contributed four home runs to go along with a .320 BA. Nevarez has contributed to the hit parade as well, adding .273 BA as well as three home runs.

We are witnessing a truly great college baseball team with fantastic performances at every position. The Aztecs are looking to continue this exciting turnaround as we head towards the close of the regular season.

End of an Era: Legendary Men’s Hoops coach Steve Fisher set to announce retirement

It’s the end of an era on the Mesa, as longtime San Diego State men’s basketball head coach Steve Fisher plans to announce his retirement.

An 18-year coach with the Aztecs, Fisher informed his players, fellow coaches and SDSU’s president Elliot Hirshman of his decision to retire on Monday, per Mark Ziegler of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Stepping into Fisher’s sizeable shoes, longtime assistant coach Brian Dutcher is expected to take the reigns from Fisher entering the 2018 season. Dutcher has worked beneath Fisher’s tutelage since 1989, as their partnership dates back to their ’89 title with the University of Michigan.

The Aztecs’ current players are comfortable with Dutcher stepping into the limelight and believe he is the best option to take over such a successful program, per source.

Prior to stepping onto the Mesa, Fisher signed arguably the best freshman class to ever touch the college hardwood with Michigan, the infamous Fab Five. He also reigned in three regional championships during his nine-year stint in Ann Arbor.

Fisher then took his talents to SDSU, a decision that would fundamentally change the Aztecs’ men’s basketball program for the better.

SDSU’s men’s basketball team had orchestrated 13 losing seasons in their last 14 seasons before Fisher took hold of the program in 1999. He then turned what was considered a losing program into a dominant one, notching four Mountain West Tournament championships (2006, 2010, 2011) and six MW regular season championships (2006, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016).

Looking forward, Dutcher will not have the smoothest road to success in San Diego, as there are many pressing areas of concern that must be addressed before the Aztecs get back to the winning tradition Fisher cemented in San Diego. The Aztecs are coming off a measly 19-14 season where they finished 9-9 in conference play and lost to Colorado State in the MW tournament.

While it is true that Dutcher and the Aztecs have a lot to work on this offseason, this day will be spent honoring the best head coach SDSU has ever seen. Fisher leaves SDSU with an all-time record of 386-209 (.649), two Sweet 16 appearances, eight overall NCAA tournament appearances and four MW Coach of the Year honors. He was recognized as the Naismith college coach of the year in 2011 and earned the Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2015.

A press conference is set for this Tuesday to formally announce his retirement and introduce Dutcher as the new head coach. After that, Fisher will ride off into the sunset of retirement.