SDSU Beats Hawaii, 2-1, in the Ninth


Moments earlier, Tom LeVasseur had told the batboy that the game was going to come down to him and that he was going to win it.

Dave Legg, the Aztecs’ third-base coach, told LeVasseur to have some heart.

So, with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, LeVasseur hit a fly ball into the heart of center field. And it won the ballgame.

Dan Nyssen caught LeVasseur’s fly ball but Bob Parry scored from third base to give the Aztecs a 2-1 victory over Hawaii in the winner’s bracket game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament Friday at Smith Field.


“Whew,” Aztec Coach Jim Dietz said. “I don’t know how many must-win games I can stand. I’m going to put in for early retirement.”

San Diego State, which has won 17 straight conference games, will play Hawaii again today in the championship game at 2 p.m.

Hawaii eliminated Wyoming Friday night, 14-7.

If SDSU loses today’s first game, it will play Hawaii again at 5 p.m. A victory in either game will give the Aztecs their first WAC baseball championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA regional playoffs, which start in two weeks.

“You knew it was going to be a great game,” LeVasseur said after escaping his teammates, who mobbed him at first base. “It’s always a great game when San Diego State plays Hawaii.”

It was no different Friday. Both teams blew scoring opportunities in the early innings, failing to get hits in key situations. LeVasseur, too, failed to get a hit in the ninth, but he didn’t have to.

Parry opened the ninth with a single off Jeff Vierra (5-6) and Dave Campagna laid down a sacrifice that second baseman Todd Crosby didn’t field cleanly, putting runners at first and second.


Steve Montejano sacrificed and Steve Hill was intentionally walked, setting the stage for LeVasseur. He took the first pitch for a strike and fouled the second pitch back.

Then Vierra made a mistake. He tried to get his next pitch--a slider--on the outside corner. But the pitch slipped coming out of his hand and hung over the plate for LeVasseur to hit.

“I had set up outside,” Hawaii catcher Phil Williams said. “My navel was at least six inches outside. The pitch slipped. . . .”

Said LeVasseur: “I didn’t want to pull the trigger until I got something I could hit in the air. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was deep enough.”

Meanwhile, Hawaii Coach Les Murakami has had enough. His Rainbows have lost five straight to the Aztecs here in the last two weekends. Friday, they lost because they couldn’t come up with a big hit.

Hawaii had a runner at second base with less than one out six straight innings but could score only once, on Kelsey Isa’s RBI ground out in the seventh inning.


“That’s the whole thing,” Murakami said. “We can’t get anybody to come up with a big hit. It’s been our story over here the last couple of weeks.”

Here’s what Hawaii wasted:

- In the fifth inning, Paul Gonzales, Mike McWherter and Isa all singled to load the bases with one out. But Todd Crosby grounded to first, Phil Woolsey forcing Gonzales at the plate, and Randy Oyama grounded out.

- In the sixth, Markus Owens led off with a double but John Matias flied out and Paul List and Nyssen struck out.

- In the eighth, an error by Montejano allowed Oyama to reach first, and a balk sent him to second. This time, Matias flied out and List grounded to third.

LeVasseur made a fine play on List’s grounder, charging from third, short-hopping the high chopper and throwing off-balance to retire List.

Mike Erb and Matt Haar combined on an eight-hitter, and combined to frustrate Hawaii. Haar pitched the final two innings to pick up the victory.


SDSU scored first in the sixth inning when Deron Johnson doubled, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dave Campagna.

Hawaii came back in the seventh. Gonzales opened the inning with a double and pinch-runner Nelson Inabata scored on a pair of ground outs.

“Mike and Matt really did a great job,” Dietz said. “We needed a good effort from them and they kept shutting them down.”

But, it wasn’t easy. Dietz, in fact, cut short his postgame talk with some reporters because he said he had a headache.

“With a game like this, is it any wonder?” he said.