Aztecs Fall in Season Finale at Nevada

Box Score (PDF) Opens in a new window

RENO, Nev. – San Diego State ended its 2024 campaign on a sour note Saturday, falling to Nevada 16-9 in the rubber game of a Mountain West series at Don Weir Field at Peccole Park.

The Aztecs (17-37, 10-20) raced to an early 6-0 lead, but the Wolf Pack outscored the Scarlet and Black 16-3 over the final six innings to win going away.

With SDSU facing a travel deadline, the game was halted with one out and one runner left on base in the eighth inning.

The Aztecs were led by Cade Martinez, who posted a career-high four RBIs, highlighted by a three-run homer in the third for his first collegiate round-tripper.

In addition, Zane Kelly went yard for the second game in a row with a two-run shot in the seventh to close out the scoring for SDSU.

Not to be outdone, Finley Bates equaled his career best with a 4-for-5 performance at the plate with a double and two runs scored, while Tino Bethancourt finished with two hits on the day.

Conversely, Nolan Wilson and Justin Acal tied Bates for game-high honors with four hits apiece for Nevada, while JR Freethy (3) and Jesse Pierce (2) racked up multiple hits as well.

Wilson totaled six RBIs for the game, falling one home run short of the cycle, while Freethy drove in four baserunners and touched the plate on four occasions.

Wolf Pack reliever Ethan O'Neal (3-2) earned the victory after pitching the final 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

On the flip side, Xavier Cardenas III (2-6) absorbed the loss after yielding nine runs on eight hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings of work.

Despite the win, Nevada (25-26, 16-14 MW) failed to qualify for the Mountain West Championship to be held May 23-26 at Tony Gwynn Stadium in San Diego. The Wolf Pack tied San José State and Fresno State with a 16-14 mark in conference play but lost a three-way tiebreaker with the Spartans and Bulldogs.

The Aztecs plated a pair of runs in the first inning on Saturday, as Shaun Montoya and Tino Bethancourt delivered RBI singles before Jake Jackson duplicated the feat in the second with a base hit up the middle.

SDSU soon increased its advantage to 6-0 in the third when Martinez cranked the first pitch from Nevada starter Peyton Fosher over the fence in left, scoring Irvin Weems and Brady Lavoie.

However, the Wolf Pack quickly seized the momentum after putting up four markers in the bottom of the frame. Freethy doubled home Jake Harvey and eventually scored when Michael Ball singled and took second on a fielding error in left field.

Moments later, Ball advanced to third on Jesse Pierce's flyout before crossing the plate on a balk. Taylor Holder then followed with a solo homer to right center, narrowing the gap to 6-4.

Nevada erupted for five runs in the fourth to take the lead for good, capitalizing on another Aztec error and three walks, including one intentional pass.

Shortly after Freethy's second straight RBI double, Pierce drew a bases-loaded walk, while Wilson followed with a two-run single. To add to the insult, Pierce raced home on a wild pitch after Connor Abadie replaced Cardenas on the mound.

Suddenly trailing 9-6, the Aztecs got a run back in the fifth when Kelly was issued a leadoff walk and advanced on consecutive wild pitches before racing home on Martinez's groundout to second.

However, the Wolf Pack gave themselves some additional breathing room in the bottom of the frame thanks to Pierce's RBI single and Wilson's two-run double, which put the hosts up 12-7.

After Kelly's two-run homer narrowed the gap to 12-9 in the seventh, Nevada accounted for the final margin with four tallies in the eighth. Freethy doubled home Acal and Harvey, while Wilson soon followed with a two-run triple, plating Freethy and Pierce, who previously walked.

Air Force captured the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West Championship and will face fourth-seeded Fresno State in the first round next Thursday, May 23, while second-seeded New Mexico will battle the No. 4 seed San José State in its tournament opener.