UCLA will host the NCAA Western Regional's this weekend and teams include the No. 4 seed San Diego State Aztecs, No. 3 seed University of San Diego Toreros, No. 2 seed Cal Poly Mustangs and the No. 2 UCLA Bruins. The double elimination tournament begins Friday at Jackie Robinson Stadium on the campus of UCLA. This will be the Aztecs 10th overall appearance in the post season and first NCAA birth since 2009.
The Aztecs earned the automatic bid after an impressive appearance in the MWC Tourney. In an interview with Coach Tony Gwynn said, "the team finally put it all together, and even though the offense struggled all year, they did great job and didn't give in."
Second baseman Mark Zier told the Mighty 1090 radio, that they peaked at the right time and had to scrap to get the four victories in a row and come out of the losers bracket to win the MWC Championship. The Aztecs finally played to their potential and after a victory against Air Force in the opener; they lost to UNLV placing them in the losers bracket. The Aztecs had to come back and play 4 elimination games beating Fresno State 4-0, then winning a Saturday double header 6-2 vs. UNLV and beating New Mexico in the night cap 8-7 with a bases loaded, game ending double play.
Aztec pitching and defense had carried the team all year,year; however, they were hitting a league low .265 going to in to the tournament. Meanwhile the Lobos lead the nation with a team high batting average of .338 and averaged 8.56 runs per game. The Aztecs faced the Lobos again for the Championship game beating them handily 9-4 to earn their NCAA bid.
Aztec freshman third baseman Ty France of West Covina's South Hills High School was named a National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. During last week's MWC Tournament he went 16-for-21 over six games for a .726 batting average. His 16 hits were a MWC tournament record. He also parked 2 home runs.
During the six games at last week's MWC Tournament SDSU compiled a .364 batting average with a 4.08 earned run average and .982 fielding percentage.
Pitching and defense may win championships, but the Aztecs will need to continue timely hitting and the ability to score runs to advance in the NCAA's.
First pitch is at 9 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN3.