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Falcons Drop Two of Three to Aztecs

Championship hopes suffer setback

For the thirteenth time out of fifteen series this year, the Falcons got a win in the first game of a series. The common element in nine of those wins was starting pitcher Paul Skenes, and that was the case this series, although Skenes’ performance wasn’t as dominant as many of his other games. In fact, the Falcons had to come up with 8 runs in the final two innings to notch the win. After that the offense suffered their first shutout of the season in the second game, and squandered multiple chances in the final game while failing to safeguard a two run lead in the ninth inning.

The Aztecs were solid in the series, featuring strong pitching and an opportunistic offense that managed to convert baserunners into runs. That ability was most notable in the last game against freshman starting pitcher Dylan Rogers. Rogers had his third straight solid performance since being inserted into the starting rotation, only allowing six baserunners in 7 13 innings. Unfortunately 4 of those runners scored and the bullpen failed to keep the lead, resulting in a 7-6 loss in 12 innings.

The two losses, coupled with San Jose State’s two wins over Fresno State now puts the Falcons 1 game behind the Bulldogs and 2 12 games behind the Spartans. Next week’s matchup against the San Jose State is the Spartans final conference series. The Falcons would need to win two games against the Spartans and sweep the series against the Lobos the following week in order to tie them in the standings. Presumably that would mean the Falcons would hold 3rd place in the conference because the tie breaker would be determined by the Falcons 2-1 advantage in head to head.

The Falcons also hold the head to head against the Bulldogs, so they need one more win than the Bulldogs over the last six games for each team. The Bulldogs face the top two teams in the conference in their final series, so the schedule favors the Falcons to squeak into the championship.