Aztecs Clinch Mountain West

The buzzer sounded and fans roared, as the No. 4 team in the nation clinched their 12th Mountain West championship against New Mexico on Tuesday night. The Aztecs beat the Lobos 82-59. 

Moments later, each SDSU player and coach cut a piece of the nylon net to celebrate being crowned champions once again. Even SDSU’s president, Adela de la Torre got in on the action and cut a piece of the net.

The Aztecs ended the first half up by only two and shot a poor 39% from the field. However, the second half was a different story. SDSU shot 51% from the field in the second half and 37.5% from downtown.

Coincidently, the Aztecs defense came alive in the second half as well. They were able to contain a deadly offense to 26.5% shooting in the latter half. 

SDSU also forced 17 turnovers, but did have 15 turnovers of their own.

Head coach Brian Dutcher entered the postgame news conference soaked in Gatorade.

“They got me pretty good,” He said.

The Aztecs were led by junior Matt Mitchell, who finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. It was his first career double-double.

Mitchell needed 15 points tonight to  attain 1,000 career points as an Aztec. Just before he reached the milestone, he ferociously threw down a dunk to start half number two.

“I honestly didn’t know there was somebody under the rim until I took off, but at that point, it was bad for him.” He said.

Yanni Wetzell finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, and shot 77% from the floor.

“I’m still in awe right now.” Wetzell said. “It means that much more because of all the adversity we went through last year. You never expect to go undefeated in February and win a conference championship without losing a game.”

The Aztecs carry a chip on their shoulder, and feel like they have to win every game because they’re 25-0 and still aren’t ranked number one. If the Aztecs hold this grudge, it could help them make a run come March.

It seems as if SDSU’s student section deserves credit for this blowout win as well. The Lobos’ Corey Manigault was ejected for two technical fouls and New Mexico players heard the shouting and yells all game long.

SDSU’s 25-game unbeaten streak to open a season is the longest by an NCAA team since Gonzaga started 29-0 in 2016-17. 

The Aztecs will try to cut into the Bulldogs’ record when they  play against Boise State on Feb. 16

Written by: Daniel Farr

NEVADA UPSETS #24 SDSU 17-13

San Diego State entered Saturday’s Mountain West matchup as a 17.5 point favorite over Nevada and the over/under was 39 total points. The Aztecs (7-2, 4-2 MW)  did not cover the spread or win, as they fell 17-13.

For a very slow-paced, low scoring, and defensive game — the ending did not disappoint. The fourth quarter began with a 10-10 tie.

With 12:53 left in the game, SDSU went for and converted a fourth and one from their own 17-yard line, however, a holding penalty called it back and forced them to punt.

Nevada’s first play after the punt was an end around reverse pass that gained 50 yards and set up the Wolfpack inside the SDSU 10. On second and goal, the Aztecs were called for defensive pass interference and it set up a Wolfpack touchdown run, which pushed their lead to seven.

Down 17-10 with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter, SDSU decided to kick a field goal on a fourth and seven, which made it a 17-13 game. “It’s not an easy call, but it’s not a bad call. “Head coach Rocky Long said.”I would do it again.”  It arguably bailed Nevada out.  

SDSU had nine penalties for 79 yards obviously did not help their case. “Way too many penalties, that’s an undisciplined football team and that’s my fault.” Long said.

A third-quarter passing touchdown by the Wolfpack expanded Nevada’s lead to 10-3, but the Aztecs and Chance Bell responded with a 14 play 71-yard drive. Bell ran in a three-yard touchdown run, which knotted the game at 10 with 1:24 left in the third quarter.

The first two quarters saw seven punts, six points, two red zone interceptions, and one Aztec ejected. Junior safety Trenton Thompson was disqualified for targeting early in the game. 

The Aztecs had an incredible scoring opportunity just before the first half concluded. However, senior quarterback Ryan Agnew threw a red zone interception with 1:06 remaining in the half. Before the interception, SDSU had just converted a fourth and one which set them up inside Nevada’s 15-yard line.

The first half was a defensive slug fest, ending in a 3-3 tie. Both teams had trouble finding yards and points throughout the half. In fact, the Wolfpack were held to negative-three rushing yards and did not convert a single third down in the entire first half. 

The Aztecs moved up to No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25, which was released Nov. 3. It’s hard to see them still ranked after this week, but the Aztecs have another game at home next Friday against Fresno State,

“They’re probably pretty miserable and we’re miserable,” Long said. “Next week one of us will feel much better and the other will feel just as bad or worse.”

Written by: Daniel Farr
Photo by: Justin Neeley

Baseball Preview: Aztecs Open Season at Home Again San Francisco

President’s weekend marks the beginning of a new season for San Diego State Baseball.

The Aztecs, who were picked to win the Mountain West by conference head coaches in the preseason poll this past Wednesday, begin their quest to defend their title with Opening Weekend against the University of San Francisco Dons beginning this Friday at 6:00 pm. The series continues Saturday, with first pitch also at 6:00 p.m. and getaway day is Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Junior Logan Boyer, who was announced as MW Preseason Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America, will be the Opening Night Starter for the Aztecs, followed by senior Harrison Pyatt Saturday, and redshirt senior Brad Wegman on Sunday.

Boyer identifies the team’s high expectations for 2019, especially after the team’s recent success, winning the MW Conference in five of the last six seasons.

“I think that the big part is that we’re not going into it knowing we’re going to win but expecting to win, because of what has previously happened throughout the years and the guys this year understand after the fall that we’re going into the season a lot stronger,” he said. “I think that’s where the expectation of winning conference championships is coming from.”

A big part of last season’s championship season, had to with sophomore infielder/right-handed pitcher Casey Schmitt, a local product from Eastlake High School.

This year, Schmitt has been named to two Preseason All-American teams. The 2018 MWC Tournament Most Valuable Player was named to the 2019 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) second team and the 2019 Collegiate Baseball All-American Third team.

In addition to Schmitt, the Scarlet and Black also have all-MW selections returning in senior outfield Chad Bible and junior outfield Julian Escobedo. Besides being all-MW selections last year, Schmitt and Escobedo along with Boyer were named to the MW Preseason All-Conference team.

Besides the players, head coach Mark Martinez has aspirations to go as far possible in the NCAA Tournament.

“The next step is to win a regional and give us an opportunity to play past a regional, into a Super Regional and get to Omaha,” he said. “That’s the expectation of our program, to play for a national championship and we’re working on it.”

The Mountain West Champion Aztecs begin their quest to be in NCAA tournament Friday night at 6:00 p.m.

Written by: Breven Honda

Behind the Mic: Brandon Battaglia

Brandon Battaglia in front of some shrubs by West Commons.

Listeners and fans of KCR College Radio know of the variety shows broadcast on-air. But, what some are not aware of is KCR’s coverage of Aztec Baseball. During the season, commentators, such as Brandon Battaglia, take to the airwaves from Tony Gwynn Stadium. I sat down with Brandon for a special edition of Behind the Mic.

As a new member of KCR, Brandon went ahead and auditioned for baseball commentating at the beginning of this spring semester. First, Brandon was assigned to two games in the beginning of the season – and his performance warranted more appearances. Since then, Brandon has commentated nearly 10 games for KCR.

To get a better understanding of what it’s like to commentate, I had Brandon walk me through a typical game. He and his partner, Sean Nichols, arrive to the stadium about an hour prior to the first pitch. During this time, statistics and information, including topics like “who’s gonna be big in the game” and “players’ backgrounds,” are gathered about the opposing team.

Going into the commentating gig, Brandon told me he didn’t have many expectations. However, he now believes it will all work out.

An avid fan of the sport, Brandon told me, “Watching baseball non-stop is finally paying off with [commentating].” He added that he “just has a really good time doing it.”

In addition to KCR’s live broadcast of baseball games, Brandon has begun covering games for the Mountain West Conference. According to Brandon, he got a call from KCR’s General Manager, Matt Hoffman, to fill in for a game. After a successful broadcast, Brandon and his partner Sean were signed on with the network for the remainder of the season.

Brandon, an international security major, joined KCR in January 2017 as a sports talk show host for “Diamond Sports.” He and Michael Quinn host the show every Saturday at 2 p.m. They equally cover San Diego State teams and professional sports. During the season, the SDSU basketball team was the trending topic on each show. Brandon told me he addresses current player moves, playoffs and other headlines for the NBA and NFL.

Listeners can expect to hear a lighthearted debate about sports between Brandon and Michael. Brandon mentioned that the two try to make the show sound like a normal conversation, adding that “it’s a people’s sports show.”

Brandon has hopes to resume commentating for both KCR and the Mountain West in the 2018 season.

You can catch some of Brandon’s written commentary on Aztec baseball games, and listen to his show, on KCR’s website. For the other games, Brandon’s coverage can be viewed on the Mountain West website.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image: Brandon Battaglia, a sophomore at SDSU, is optimistic about his future in commentary. Photo by Sumner Shorey.