May 23, 2022

Spy Bot-Updates

The Passionate of Travel

Aztecs Travel to New Mexico This Weekend

Game Week Preview

San Diego State at New Mexico

April 14-16, 2022

Santa Ana Star Field | Albuquerque, N.M.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Thursday, April 14 | 6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. PT

SDSU: Troy Melton, RHP (1-2, 1.57 ERA, 23.0 IP)

UNM: Riley Egloff, RHP (4-3, 6.59 ERA, 42.1 IP)

Friday, April 15 | 6 p.m. MT/5p.m. PT

SDSU: TJ Fondtain, LHP (1-4, 3.89 ERA, 37.0 IP)

UNM: Brett Russell, RHP (1-4, 5.25 ERA, 36.0 IP)

Saturday, April 16 | 10:30 a.m. MT/9:30 a.m. PT

SDSU: Chris Canada, LHP (1-0, 2.75 ERA, 19.2 IP)

UNM: Matt Haley, LHP (1-1, 6.75 ERA, 30.2 IP)

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR AZTEC BASEBALL

>    San Diego State will make the second road trip of its Mountain West schedule this week when it travels to the Land of Enchantment for a three-game series with New Mexico, April 14-16, at Santa Ana Star Field in Albuquerque, N.M.

>    The first two games vs. the Lobos are scheduled to get underway at 6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. MT, while Saturday’s finale is slated for a an early starting time of 10:30 a.m. MT/9:30 a.m. PT

>    In addition to live stats, all three contests will be streamed live via the Mountain West Network, with links to both platforms available on GoAztecs.com.

>    Due to the league’s scheduling format, SDSU will face two MW opponents just once during the regular season, including this weekend’s opponent New Mexico. The Aztecs will also battle Air Force at Tony Gwynn Stadium, May 6-8, without making a return trip to the Academy.

SETTING THE SCENE

>    SDSU will be looking to put the brakes on a four-game losing streak after dropping an 8-3 decision at San Diego on Tuesday night.

>    As a staff, Aztec pitchers lead the Mountain West in several categories this week, including strikeouts (314), opposing team batting average (.239) and fewest hits allowed (259) while ranking second in team ERA (4.57).

>    On the national stage, SDSU is 52nd in the country with a league-leading 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

>    Among the conference leaders, Jonny Guzman (34) and TJ Fondtain (33) rank eighth and ninth in strikeouts, respectively.

>    In addition, Fondtain finds himself among the MW top 10 in opposing batting average (3rd, .223), fewest hits allowed (4th, 31), fewest runs allowed (T-5th, 23), ERA (6th, 3.89) and innings pitched (8th, 37.0). 

>    Aztec right-hander Troy Melton, who has missed the first three weeks of the 2022 campaign is expected to make his sixth consecutive start on Friday against UNM. On April 8, Melton tied his career high with 10 strikeouts vs. San José State. He was named to the preseason all-Mountain West team in February.

>    Offensively, utility player Cole Carrigg leads the team with a .325 batting average and tops the squad with multiple hits in 13 games this season, accomplishing the feat five times in his last seven starts. He also leads the Aztecs with multiple RBIs in six games.

>    Collectively, SDSU leads the league with 47 stolen bases, 12 more than Nevada, which ranks second. As of April 13, the Aztecs’ 47 steals is tied for 58th in the nation.

>    Individually, Caden Miller occupies the second spot in the MW with 12 stolen bases, followed by Carrigg, who is slotted third with 10 swipes.

>    Following this weekend’s series at New Mexico, the Aztecs will battle San Diego once again in a rematch at Tony Gwynn Stadium on Monday, April 18, before heading across town for the third installment of the Trolley Series vs. UC San Diego on Tuesday, April 19, in La Jolla. Both games are set for a 6 p.m. PT start.

AZTEC WEEKEND ROTATION

>    For the second straight week, San Diego State will implement the starting rotation of Troy Melton, TJ Fondtain and Chris Canada.

>    Melton (1-2, 1.57 ERA) is slated to take the mound for Friday’s series opener against the Lobos. The Aztec right-hander posted a career-high 10 strikeouts vs. San José State on April 8, but was tagged with the hard-luck loss after giving up two runs on four hits and a pair of walks in 5.0 innings of work. In his previous start, Melton picked up his first victory of the year at Nevada on April 1, after yielding just one unearned run on four hits and one walk in a season-long seven innings. The SDSU junior collected six strikeouts for the second straight outing and limited Wolf Pack to a combined .160 batting average (4-25), as the Scarlet and Black rolled to a 13-1 conquest. Melton has faced New Mexico on six occasions during his career, recording a 4.05 ERA with 18 strikeouts against 13 hits and just two walks in 13 1/3 innings but has yet to earn a decision. Last season, the Anaheim, California, native finished among the Mountain West leaders in several categories, including strikeouts (2nd, 83), innings pitched (4th, 73.1), opposing batting average (8th, .291), wins (T-10th, 4), ERA (11th, 6.14) and fewest walks allowed (T-15th, 30). He also issued one walk or less in eight starts. For his efforts, Melton was named to the preseason all-MW team prior to the 2022 campaign.

>    TJ Fondtain (1-4, 3.89 ERA) is scheduled to make is his fifth consecutive start and eighth of the year after posting a career-high eight strikeouts in just 4 2/3 innings vs. San José State on April 9. The SDSU left-hander has recorded five or more strikeouts on three other occasions, including a start against Fresno State when he fanned six Bulldogs in 5.0 innings. Fondtain returned to the rotation at San José State on March 20 and went 6.0 innings to tie his season-long stint but did not figure in the decision after surrendering five runs on six hits and one walk to go with a trio of strikeouts. Despite a bullpen appearance vs. UNLV on March 11, he still ranks eighth in the MW this week with 37.0 innings pitched. In addition, the Clovis, California, native finds himself among the conference leaders in opposing batting average (3rd, .223), fewest hits allowed (4th, 31), ERA (6th, 3.89) and strikeouts (9th, 33). Fondtain garnered Mountain West Pitcher of the Week accolades after collecting his first career victory in the Aztecs’ 7-1 triumph over Hawai’i in the Tony Gwynn Legacy on Feb. 25. Against the Rainbow Warriors, he tallied a then career-high seven strikeouts, allowing just one unearned run on a scant three hits and no walks in 6.0 innings. Against New Mexico at home last season, Fondtain delivered the walk-off single as a pinch hitter that scored Cole Carrigg and former Aztec star Jaden Fein, as the Scarlet and Black overcame a 9-4 deficit with six runs in the bottom of the ninth for a dramatic 10-9 victory. 

>    Meanwhile, Chris Canada (1-0, 2.75 ERA) is projected to make his third career start after collecting his first collegiate victory in the Aztecs’ 5-1 triumph over Long Beach State at home on April 5. The SDSU left-hander posted a personal-best seven strikeouts in 5.0 scoreless innings against the Dirtbags, scattering three and a pair of walks. In his last start on April 9 vs. San José State, Canada completed a season-long stint of 6 1/3 innings, yielding two runs on three hits and a trio of walks but did not figure in the decision. A 2021 alumnus of Orange Lutheran High School, Canada earned all-CIF Division I honors as a senior after helping the Lancers reach the semifinals of both the CIF Southern Section playoffs and the CIF regional championships. During his final prep campaign, he posted an 8-0 record with a 1.39 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 72.0 innings while collecting two saves and limiting the opposition to a .159 batting average, In addition, Canada garnered all-Trinity League accolades and competed in the Orange County All-Star Game.

SERIES RECORD VS. NEW MEXICO

>    San Diego State leads the all-time series against the Lobos, 123-84.

>    New Mexico is one of four schools the Aztecs have recorded 100 victories against. The other three are Air Force (116), Fresno State (106) and Utah (104).

>    The Aztecs boast a 73-38 record against the Lobos in San Diego, a 40-42 mark in Albuquerque and a 10-4 ledger on a neutral field.

>    During Mark Martinez‘s eight-year tenure as head coach on The Mesa, SDSU sports a 20-16 record vs. the Lobos, including a 9-9 mark at home, an 8-7 ledger on the road and a 3-0 record at a neutral park.

>    The Aztecs won five of six games from New Mexico in 2021, sweeping the Lobos at Tony Gwynn Stadium before claiming two of three meetings in the final series of the season in Albuquerque.

>    In its last visit to the Duke City, the Scarlet and Black suffered a 17-7 run-rule defeat in the opener before posting consecutive comeback wins, 6-5 and 11-10, to close out the season.

>    Earlier that year, San Diego State recorded its seventh straight series victory to open the 2021 campaign with a three-game sweep of New Mexico, the last time the teams met at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

>    The Aztecs posted a pair of dramatic walk-off victories in a series-opening  doubleheader, overcoming a 9-4 deficit with a six-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to claim a thrilling 10-9 decision before recording a 5-4 triumph in 10 innings in the nightcap. SDSU put a huge exclamation point on the weekend the following day with a huge 15-0 run-rule victory in seven innings.

>    As a result, the Aztecs posted their first three-game sweep of the Lobos since April 5-7, 2007 in San Diego.

>    Not be outdone, SDSU’s doubleheader sweep on the first day of the series gave Coach Martinez 200 career victories as a head coach.

>    Among Aztec returners, Brian Leonhardt has played nine career games against New Mexico, posting a .300 batting average (9-30) with two doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored.

>    In addition, Caden Miller started all six encounters vs. the Lobos during the 2021 campaign, hitting  .333 (6-18) with two doubles, six RBIs and seven runs scored. 

YOUTH SHALL BE SERVED

>    In all, San Diego State has had 20 of 37 players make their initial appearances in an Aztec uniform this season, including 10 true freshmen.

>    Irvin Weems, a true freshman from Las Vegas, has started 16 of 22 games in the outfield (13 CF, 3 RF) and leads all SDSU rookies with a .293 batting average, including a .500 clip (6-12) over his last three outings during which he posted four stolen bases and three runs scored to go with a trio of RBIs.

>    In the second game of the MW series at San José State that was completed on March 20, Weems went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored, highlighted by his first collegiate homer, a two-run shot in the eighth.  In the series finale against the Spartans, the Las Vegas native added two more hits and swiped his first career base.

>    Fellow classmate Tyler Glowacki (.264), an alumnus of nearby Santana High School, has started 25 games in the outfield (20 RF, 5 LF) and leads all SDSU rookies with 23 hits and nine RBIs while sharing the second spot on the squad with five doubles.

>    Glowacki (March 7) and infielder Alex Rodriguez (Feb. 21) have netted Mountain West Freshman of the Week honors this season.

>    After sitting out the 2021 campaign as a redshirt, Johnny Giannola has made 18 starts this season, including 14 in left field and four at designated hitter. The Dana Point, California, native has had four games with multiple hits thus far, including the Aztecs’ 7-1 triumph over Hawai’i in the Tony Gwynn Legacy on Feb. 25, when he scored two runs and drove in another. Giannola has two triples this season, which is tied for seventh in the Mountain West.

>    Tino Bethancourt, another redshirt freshman, has logged 24 starts (14 3B, 10 1B) and has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games. The El Dorado Hills, California, native shares the second spot on the team with 18 walks, which is tied for ninth in the conference.

>    Outfielder Shaun Montoya, a redshirt freshman who transferred from UC Irvine, has started 16 games this season, including the last 10 contests for the Aztecs, and ranks second on the team during that stretch with a .286 batting average and a .390 on-base percentage to go with three stolen bases.

STRIKEOUTS GALORE

>    San Diego State has recorded double-digit strikeouts in 16 of 32  games this year, including a season-high 21 vs. Hawai’i in 15 innings on Feb. 28.

>    Troy Melton fanned a career-best10 hitters in last Friday’s start against San José State, marking the highest total by an Aztec pitcher this season and the most since Logan Boyer also struck out 10 batters vs. San Francisco on Feb. 15, 2018.

>    Following Melton are Jonny Guzman ad Kelena Sauer, both of whom posted career-high strikeouts with nine Ks apiece. Guzman fanned nine hitters in his first collegiate start at UC Irvine on Feb. 22, while Sauer accomplished the feat against UNLV on March 12.

>    In addition, four other Aztec hurlers have compiled career-best totals with over five strikeouts this season: TJ Fondtain (8 vs. San José State, April 9), Jacob Flores (7 vs. Utah, Feb. 27), Jadon Bercovich (7 vs. Hawaii, Feb.28) and Chris Canada (7 vs. Long Beach State, April 5).

>    Entering the weekend, Guzman occupies the eighth spot in the Mountain West with 34 strikeouts, followed closely by Fondtain, who ranks ninth  with 33 Ks.

>    Collectively, San Diego State leads the Mountain West with 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings, which ranks 52nd in the nation.

>     SDSU recorded 27 games with 10 or more strikeouts during the 2019 campaign, marking the most double-digit strikeout performances for the Scarlet and Black in the MW era (since 2000). SDSU surpassed the previous MW record of 23 set in a 10-6 win at Fresno State on May 11, 2019.

>     Last season, the Scarlet and Black registered 10 or more strikeouts in 18 games, notching a 15-3 record in those contests. 

>     The Aztecs posted double-digit strikeouts in their last six home games of the 2021 campaign, including a combined 33 Ks in their three-game sweep over San José State, May 8-9, 2021.

 >     Previously, in SDSU’s sweep of Dixie State, April 24-25, 2021, Trailblazer hitters were punched out 42 times during the series, including 15 in the doubleheader opener, which marked a season-high for the SDSU staff.

>     During the shortened 2020 season, the SDSU pitching staff completed seven games with 10 strikeouts: vs. Virginia Tech, Cal State Fullerton, Iowa, Nebraska, at UC Irvine and twice against Oregon State. Not surprisingly, the Scarlet and Black went 6-1 in those contests.

>     Dating back to 2019, the Aztecs are 41-27 in their last 68 games when striking out 10 or more batters. 

STREAKING AZTECS

>    Tino Bethancourt, who returned to the lineup for the final two games of the Nevada series after getting hit by a pitch at UC San Diego on March 22, has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games.

>    Bethancourt is also one of three Aztecs to have hit safely in the last three games, joining Poncho Ruiz and Irvin Weems.

>    In addition, Cole Carrigg leads the Scarlet and Black with multiple hits in 12 games, accomplishing the feat in five of his last seven starts. The on six occasions this year, highlighted by a two-run homer vs Long Beach State on April 5.

>    Ruiz and Caden Miller are the only two Aztecs to start all 32 games this year. Miller has made 32 starts at shortstop, while Ruiz has earned 25 starts at catcher and seven at designated hitter.

>    As the team’s leadoff hitter, Miller is the lone Aztec to appear in the same spot in the batting order throughout the season, while Ruiz has batted third on 30 occasions and twice in the cleanup position

>    Additionally, Carrigg ranks third on the squad with 30 starts, including 14 at second base, nine in center field, five at catcher and once each at pitcher, shortstop designated hitter. 

>    Ruiz had his nine-game hitting streak snapped in the second game of the Arizona State series on March 6, which marked the team’s longest this season.

>    Over the last eight games, Brian Leonhardt leads the team with eight RBIs.

HEAD COACH MARK MARTINEZ

>   Mark Martinez is in his eighth season as head coach of the Aztecs and 17th overall as a member of the San Diego State staff after succeeding the late Tony Gwynn on August 20, 2014. He is just the fifth head coach in SDSU history since baseball was elevated to major sport status in 1936.

>   During his tenure as the Aztecs’ head coach, Martinez has compiled a 222-174 record (.561), highlighted by three Mountain West tournament championships in 2015, 2017 and 2018. 

>   Since 2015, SDSU has garnered 30 all-Mountain West accolades under Martinez’s tutelage, including back-to-back MW Pitchers of the Year Brett Seeburger (2017) and Garrett Hill (2018), as well as 2017 MW Player of the Year Danny Sheehan.

>   Additionally, Martinez has mentored three freshman All-Americans in Chase Calabuig (2015), Casey Schmitt (2018) and Jaden Fein (2019), with the latter also receiving Mountain West Co-Freshman of the Year distinction last year.   

>   In 2017, Martinez recorded his 100th victory for the Scarlet and Black, becoming the fastest head coach in program history to reach the century mark in wins.

>   Not to be outdone, Martinez also became the fastest head coach in Mountain West history to win three conference championships when the Aztecs captured the title in 2018.

>   Martinez was hired as an assistant coach for the Aztecs in July of 2005 and served for nine years under head coach Tony Gwynn. During that time, he was promoted to the position of associate head coach.

>   Since his arrival on The Mesa as an assistant coach, Martinez has witnessed 49 SDSU players get drafted into the professional ranks, with 10 of those selections making the major leagues (Stephen Strasburg, Addison Reed, Justin Masterson, Bruce Billings, Quintin Berry, Lance Zawadzki, Greg Allen, Ty France, Seby Zavala and Alan Trejo).

>  Prior to his arrival at San Diego State, Martinez was an assistant coach at New Mexico for 17 seasons from 1989-2005. During his time as a hitting and infield coach, he helped develop the Lobos into one of the most prominent offensive teams in the country, with UNM ranking among the top 11 nationally in hitting over his final four seasons.

>   Martinez served as an assistant at his alma mater, Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) in Grand Junction, Colorado, from 1984-88. He played shortstop at the school from 1982-84, earning all-conference and all-district honors as a senior.

>   Martinez graduated from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa) with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1984 and completed his master’s in sports administration at New Mexico in 1990.

>   During the offseason, Martinez signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at San Diego State through the 2026 season.