Aztecs Blanked at CSUN, 2-0

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Derrick Tuskan/San Diego State

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Six San Diego State pitchers combined on a five-hitter Tuesday, but it wasn't enough, as host CSUN escaped with a 2-0 decision in a non-conference game at Matador Field.

The teams were locked in a scoreless duel until the Matadors (28-14) scratched for two runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on for their ninth straight victory.

Meanwhile, the Aztecs (11-33) maintained a 7-5 advantage in hits but stranded at least one runner in each of the first eight innings and 10 for the afternoon, dropping their fourth straight game to CSUN in the all-time series.

SDSU starter Aidan Russell tied his career highs with six strikeouts and four innings pitched, scattering two hits and three walks before giving way to Connor Abadie, who retired the Matadors in order in the fifth.

However, CSUN plated two runs with two outs in the sixth off Evan Miranda (1-3), which accounted for the winning margin.

Will Linberg led off the inning with an infield hit to third but was promptly erased at second base after Jakob Simons grounded into a fielder's choice. Miranda quickly fanned Kevin Fitzer before Andrew Sojka singled through the left side, as Simons motored around to third.

Moments later, Sojka stole second and took third when catcher David Whittle's errant throw skipped into the outfield, allowing Simons to score. Shunsuke Sakaino soon followed with a RBI single to right, bringing home Sojka to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.

SDSU put two runners aboard in the eighth when Jake Jackson led off with a single up the middle and Sammy Kahler drew a two-out walk. However, Gabriel Hernandez, the Matadors seventh pitcher of the day, entered and induced a fielder's choice to pinch hitter Zane Kelly to get out of the jam.

Earlier, the Aztecs came up empty in the first when CSUN starter Destin Allen-Fox received an inning-ending flyout after Shaun Montoya singled through the right side and Tino Bethancourt was issued a two-out walk.

Bethancourt was also stranded at third in the top of the sixth after a leadoff double and Irvin Weems' sacrifice bunt. However, the Matadors' Blake Ignaciak froze Kahler on a 1-2 pitch before Whittle lined out the third, ending the threat.

Ignaciak (1-1) was credited with the victory after allowing one hit in 1 1/3 innings, while Hayden Hall retired SDSU in order in the ninth, capped by a pair of strikeouts, to collect his first save of the year.

Allen-Fox (2 H, 1 BB) tossed the first two innings before yielding to Adan Perez (2 IP, 3 K) to start the third.

Jackson and Brady Lavoie tied for game-high honors with two hits apiece for the Aztecs.

San Diego State opens a lengthy homestand this weekend when it plays host to Fresno State in a three-game Mountain West series, May 3-5, at Tony Gwynn Stadium. All three contests will air live on the Mountain West Network.