Hot bat of Jason Phillips carries Aztecs

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Baseball splits first two games

Monday, April 15, 1996 – The Daily Aztec

By ERIC HOWARD
Daily Aztec Staff Writer

The hot bat of San Diego State third baseman Jason Phillips could only carry the Aztecs so far against Cal State Sacramento on Friday and Saturday.

Phillips went 9-for-10 against the Hornet pitching staff, but the Aztecs could only manage a split in the two games.

Phillips’ only out came in his third at bat in Saturday’s 4-3, 10-inning loss.

“Jason (Phillips) is a good hitter,” Aztec coach Rusty Filter said. “Even his out was hit hard.”

Aztec (25-17, 11-8 Western Athletic Conference) pitchers gave Phillips and Co. chances to put the game away, limiting the Hornets to only two runs over six innings.

After giving up two runs early, Aztec starting pitcher Jerrod Riggan shut down the Hornets until the seventh inning, with his team leading 3-2.

“Jerrod didn’t have control early,” Filter said. “He settled down and found his rhythm and cruised until the seventh.”

Riggan made a mistake to the wrong Hornet (9-30, 2-17 WAC) batter when he threw inside to slugging first baseman Jamie Estrada.

“(Jerrod) challenged the guy,” Filter said. “And the guy hit the ball out.”

Estrada’s home run tied the game at 3-3.

It was a defensive miscue that cost SDSU the game in the bottom of the 10th.

With Hornet runners at first and third, Sac State head coach John Smith called for a hit and run.

The batter took the pitch from pitcher Desi Herrera, and catcher David Trentine threw to second.

During the attempt to run down the runner between first and second, the runner at third ran home to score the winning run.

It was only the Hornets’ second WAC victory of the season.

SDSU didn’t give the Hornets any opportunity for late inning heroics on Friday, however.

The Aztecs jumped out to a seven-run lead and held on for a 9-1 victory.

Phillips went 5-for-5, scoring three runs and knocking in three RBIs. Two of his RBIs came on a two-run single in the second inning.

He also added a run-scoring single in the Aztecs’ four-run third inning.

“Jason is a good line-drive hitter,” Filter said. “It all depends on where he hits the ball.”

Stewart Smothers was also a hot hitter for SDSU. The center fielder went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and 3 RBIs. Shortstop Rene Rodriguez was 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs.

SDSU starting pitcher Jody Stevens led the way in the Aztecs’ victory.

He went eight innings, allowing eight hits and only one earned run while striking out 10, improving his record to 4-1.

“He had good command,” Filter said. “He had struggled in an earlier start, but he was in control this time.”

The only blemish on Stevens’ line was a solo home run by Estrada in the fourth inning.

Stevens started the season in the bullpen. But with three consecutive good starts, he has earned a spot in the rotation.

“He has been very consistent,” Filter said. “He will be in the rotation the rest of the season.”

Monday, April 15, 1996 – The Daily Aztec

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