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Colbase weekend: Aztecs host New Mexico; Toreros travel to USF; Tritons host CS East Bay

Colbase weekend: Aztecs host New Mexico; Toreros travel to USF; Tritons host CS East Bay
Taking a glance at San Diego State, USD and UCSD entering the weekend in college baseball. (Photos courtesy ucsdtritons.com, usdtoreros.com, goaztecs.com)

San Diego State has won 111 games against New Mexico through the years, more victories than SDSU has posted against any other opponent.

The Aztecs are hoping to boost that total to 114 in this weekend's Mountain West series, which begins with Thursday night's game at Tony Gwynn Stadium. SDSU — like the other local colleges — begins its series a day earlier than usual as teams take Easter Sunday off.

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No. 23-ranked SDSU (17-7, 6-2 MW) is a half-game behind conference leader Nevada (13-8, 7-2) coming into its series against New Mexico (10-12-1, 4-5), which was picked to win the conference in a preseason coaches poll.

Some of the Lobos' struggles can be traced to starting pitchers Robert Gasser, Justin Slaten and Cody Dye, who have combined to go 4-9 with a 5.58 ERA.

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New Mexico's offense hasn't been as productive as usual, either. With the season reaching its midpoint this weekend, the Lobos have totaled only eight home runs and no player has collected more than 14 RBIs. New Mexico hit 63 home runs last season and had four players each with at least 50 RBIs.

SDSU has batted .315 as a team in March, led by first baseman Jordan Verdon, who has hit .417 with three home runs and 23 RBIs during the month.

This weekend: Thursday-Saturday vs. New Mexico, 6 p.m./6 p.m./1 p.m.

Toreros update

USD has an opportunity to rise to the top of the West Coast Conference standings this weekend, but to do it the Toreros (12-13, 3-3 WCC) would need to sweep their three-game series at USF.

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It's a tall order.

The Dons (16-8, 6-0) — picked for sixth place in a preseason coaches poll — have been the conference's best team this season. USF's starting pitching has been the story. Right-handers Thomas Ponticelli, Riley Ornido and Landen Bourassa have combined to go 13-1 with ERAs of fewer than three runs a game.

USD's starting pitching has been its strength as well, led in recent weeks by sophomore left-hander Chris Murphy (3-1), who has allowed only one earned run over the past 15 2/3 innings with 25 strikeouts. Murphy was named WCC Pitcher of the Week after last week's win at Pacific.

This weekend: Thursday-Saturday at USF, 3 p.m./3 p.m./1 p.m.

Tritons update

UC San Diego spent nearly the entire month of March on the road, playing last at Triton Ballpark on March 2 before returning for Thursday night's California Collegiate Athletic Association series opener against Cal State East Bay.

UCSD (16-9, 12-8 CCAA) fared well enough away from home to be within a game of first place in the conference. East Bay (13-13, 10-10) is two games behind the Tritons.

The UCSD offense has been led by outfielder Zander Clarke (.357, 7 HR, 32 RBIs) and third baseman Alex Eliopulos (.333, 9 HR, 33 RBIs).

This weekend: Thursday-Saturday vs. Cal State East Bay, 6 p.m./1 p.m. (DH)/12 p.m.

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