You know you have a pretty good ball club when an MLB Hall of Famer says so, but the Horned Frogs still couldn’t manage to top Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State University team in a weekend series at Lupton Stadium, dropping two of three games.
A loss on Friday and a win on Saturday set the stage for a series-clinching finale Sunday.
With one out in the top of the ninth, it seemed like the Horned Frogs were going to take the series against SDSU with a 1-0 win. But three hits and two errors later they were suddenly behind.
The Aztecs were able to turn those hits and miscues into two runs and earn a 2-1 victory.
Horned Frogs head coach Jim Schlossnagle said the team is having a hard time winning games right now.
“We’re finding ways to lose games,” Schlossnagle said. “We’ve lost a lot of games like that this year.”
Schlossnagle said there is nothing wrong with his team mentally, but he is trying to find the right man to toe the rubber in the ninth inning.
“We have to figure it out or its going to be a long year,” Schlossnagle said.
Junior pitcher Eric Marshall was credited with the loss in relief after giving up two runs, one unearned, in the last inning and a third.
Gwynn, SDSU’s head coach, said come-from-behind wins like Sunday’s are important to a team as young as his.
“We came in here with the thought that if we could win two out of three that would be huge for us,” Gwynn said. “We know TCU has a good club, New Mexico is playing great and I think this is great for our conference.”
The lone bright spot of the game was starting pitcher Kyle Winkler. The freshman pitched seven and two-third scoreless innings, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out three Aztecs.
“I felt really good,” Winkler said. “I didn’t have my curve ball the first couple innings, but I was able to get out of some jams with my fastball, sinking it down and getting a couple ground balls when I needed them.”
The offense for the Horned Frogs mustered just four hits – two coming in the fifth inning when they scored their lone run – and no one drew a walk.
Schlossnagle said that was more a credit to SDSU’s pitching than a lack of ability on his team.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Horned Frogs as they welcome the UT Arlington Mavericks on Wednesday before hosting a conference-leading University of New Mexico Lobos team for a three-game series beginning Friday.
“They’re obviously the best team in our league, no question about that,” Schlossnagle said of the Lobos. “We better be ready to play or we’ll get our rear ends beat.”