June 1, 2013


Covey Comes Up Big for USD

By Abbey Mastracco

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


LOS ANGELES — The battle for the baseball bragging rights of the City of San Diego played out Saturday afternoon three hours north of the city itself. With San Diego’s most famous baseball player at the helm of one and a player tabbed as the next Evan Longoria leading the other team, it was a win-or-go-home situation.


Ultimately, it was the No. 3-seeded University of San Diego that lived to fight another day, effectively taking the bragging rights they lost earlier in the season with a 6-3 comeback win over their fourth-seeded intercity rival San Diego State in the Los Angeles Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium.


For San Diego State (31-31), it ended a rocky season in which they overachieved with a hot finish at the Mountain West Conference tournament. But the young group ultimately wasn’t quite ready for a postseason run.


“We didn’t play great here the last few days,” San Diego State coach Tony Gwynn said. “I thought it got a little sped up, a little fast, we kind of tried to force the issue. But overall, I’m really proud of this group.”


USD (36-24) avoided going down in two games at the same Regional two years in a row. Dylan Covey, who has taken lumps throughout his college career trying to regain his stature as a dominant pitcher while also learning to deal with his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, had a performance to remember.


The All-American right-hander Covey (5-4) went 7.2 innings, surrendering three earned and striking out two in 120 pitches.


“The scouting report said he was kind of all over the place,” Aztecs first baseman Ryan Muno said. “He’s an AFLAC All-American, all credit to him. He’s a good pitcher. It was just a matter of him throwing strikes, and today he kind of did.”


“This has been us all year,” Toreros head coach Rich Hill said. “You look at Troy Conyers in the WCC championship, Dylan Covey today and all that he’s been through, to come out on the biggest stage and throw a gem like that.”


For Covey, it was in important start to prove what he couldn’t in the first game of the season, when he lasted just three innings against the Aztecs, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits.


“I started the first game of the season against San Diego State and kind of got touched up a little bit,” Covey said. “A lot of their guys, they have kind of an interesting game plan. They work to pull but then they can touch that inside fastball so nothing could be over the middle of the plate. And the offspeed had to be dirty as can be and it was today.”


It was Michael Cederoth (3-9) who looked to have the better stuff initially. The Aztecs maintained a 2-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth when the Toreros broke out.


A bases-loaded walk to Connor Joe put the Toreros on the board, and Cederoth then was pulled in favor of Philip Walby.


“All the pressure was on him, he had to come to me,” USD catcher Austin Green said. “All I was looking for was one pitch.”


Green got his pitch, a fastball, and drove a double through the left gap to score two.


San Diego scored two more in the inning after shortstop Evan Potter overthrew a cutoff at third and tacked on one more in the sixth.


The Toreros will face the loser of Saturday’s nightcap between No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Cal Poly, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.