March 1, 2008

Around the Bases

Around the Bases
Matusz rebounds to give San Diego the win over FSU
By Phil Stanton Co-Founder


SAN DIEGO – It’s not how you start, but how you finish.


After one-third of an inning, San Diego and All-American hurler Brian Matusz trailed nemesis Fresno State 2-0. At the end, the Toreros sat on top of a 5-2 score.


After struggling in his first outing a week ago against San Diego State, Matusz (1-1) rebounded to work seven innings against the Bulldogs (2-4) with six hits, two runs, three walks and 11 strikeouts.


The start was shaky, as junior Erik Wetzel led off with a base hit and sophomore Alan Ahmady drew a one-out walk. Senior Steve Susdorf ripped a double down the right field line to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.


But Matusz and the Toreros (4-3) would not allow another run.


“I came out there a little bit rusty,” Matusz explained, “wasn’t hitting the spots I wanted to hit, leaving balls up a little bit and walking guys. They took advantage of me leaving a pitch over the plate and hit it down the line for a double. From there I pushed that behind me and went on and did my thing.”


“I thought it was a very gutty performance by Brian Matusz,” said USD head coach Rich Hill. “He really didn’t have command of his fastball all day. He gave up those two runs and it would have been real easy to buckle. But he hit a rhythm, starting to throw the curveball, the cutter and the changeup and really pitched off of his offspeed pitches, which is very difficult to do. People had a chance to watch two future big-leaguers here today so it was a special game.”


What was the difference in the second start vs. the first start for Matusz?


“The way I came back after giving up those two runs was huge,” Matusz said. “We talk about that all the time as a pitching staff, if you give up a run in the first or the first few innings to push that aside and you have to go and finish the rest of the game. That’s what I focused on, playing my game, being able to get ahead in counts, and throw strikes. I had a hard time doing that to begin with. My fastball, I wasn’t locating it the way I was hoping on doing but I was able to use my secondary pitches, my changeup, to set up those other pitches, so I was able to come back from that.”


“He was much more of a pitcher today in the truest sense,” Hill said, “really working the corners and pitching off of his breaking stuff. Last Friday night, going against [San Diego State’s Stephen] Strasburg, he was amped up by the electricity in the crowd, probably trying to do a little bit too much. But today he showed why he’s going to be a major league pitcher.


USD was held hitless for four innings by junior Tanner Scheppers (1-1) before senior Ryan Davis led off the fifth with a single to right. He moved to second on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on a throwing error by Scheppers and scored on a single by sophomore Nick McCoy to pull the Torreros to within one.


The home team took the lead in the fifth as junior Josh Romanski had a one-out single and freshman Victor Sanchez followed with a homer to left to give USD a 3-2 lead.


The Toreros added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth. Romanski drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a double by Sanchez and came in on a sacrifice fly by senior Logan Gelbrich. With Sanchez at third, senior Kevin Hansen looked to squeeze with two strikes, missed the ball to strikeout, but the ball got away from the catcher, allowing Sanchez to score the game’s final run.