SAN DIEGO — It was Tony Gwynn Night at San Diego State Saturday, and the Aztecs retired his No. 28 before the SDSU-UCLA baseball game.
Soon afterward, the Bruins retired the Aztecs.
No. 16-ranked UCLA (7-2) pounded out 16 hits and scored in each of the first six innings to defeat the Aztecs, 11-5, before the honored alumnus and an estimated 1,200 fans at SDSU's Smith Field.
Although SDSU (3-2) led briefly, 5-4, at the end of the third inning, it did not mount another threat the rest of the night. UCLA scored seven consecutive runs in the middle three innings for the victory.
Faulty pitching and poor baserunning cost SDSU. Starting pitcher Greg Page (0-1), who was charged with seven hits and six runs, was gone by the time UCLA sent its third batter to the plate in the fourth. In all, the Aztecs used seven pitchers.
Reliever Mike Lewis (2-0) earned the victory for UCLA.
"Our pitchers were tentative," said Jim Dietz, the Aztec coach. "The first two or three we used (Page, Rusty Filter and Jack Skoog) were ridiculous. Page is capable of pitching better than that. It was as if we were afraid to throw inside."
And, he said, there were numerous baserunning blunders.
"I've never seen us make so many baserunning mistakes," Dietz said. "A lot of them were not visible to the average fan, but trust me, they were there."
One of the most crucial mistakes came in the second. Already behind, 2-1, SDSU had Lance Pinnell on first and Billy Miller on third with nobody out. But Pinnell, the potential go-ahead run, was caught stealing--and he wasn't supposed to be running.
"There was no sign on," Dietz said. "And there was a junior, someone with experience, running who wasn't supposed to be running."
After that, shortstop Steve Montejano grounded out and catcher Eric Christopherson struck out, stranding Miller, the tying run, on third.
Still, SDSU took the lead with a four-run third. The big hits of the inning, in which the Aztecs sent all nine batters to the plate, were a run-scoring single by Nikco Riesgo and a run-scoring double by Harry Henderson. The other two runs came on an error and a wild pitch.
But UCLA regained the lead for good with Eric Karros' two-run double in the fourth and David Keating's two-run home run in the fifth.
Henderson was 3 for 4 with two runs scored, Miller was 2 for 3 and Pinnell was 2 for 4.