Nielsen's Seven RBI Lift Utah to 7-3 Win over San Diego State
May 25, 2011
Mountain West Senior Writer
SAN DIEGO - Where San Diego State was concerned, it was probably just as well Trey Nielsen didn't come to the plate a fifth time.
Nielsen, a freshman third baseman, was responsible for all of Utah's scoring Wednesday as the No. 2 seed Utes beat No. 4 seed San Diego State, 7-3, in the 2011 Mountain West Baseball Championship at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Utah (29-19) will play the winner of Wednesday night's game between No. 1 seed TCU and No. 6 seed New Mexico at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday.
Nielsen, who delivered a bases-loaded double in the first, hit his second grand slam of the season in the seventh after the Aztecs had drawn to within 3-2. His seven RBI tied the freshman single-game MW tournament set by San Diego State's Brock Ungricht in 2004 and was one shy of the all-time record of eight by SDSU's Sean McNaughton in the 2010 tournament.
"I thought I hit it pretty good, but I kept my head down and just ran as hard as I could," said Nielsen, who hit an inside-the-park grand slam during a series at New Mexico in April. "I don't think I really looked up until I was about halfway to second base."
Nielsen's offensive output was more than enough for Utah starter Rick Anton, who scattered six hits over eight innings while striking out seven.
San Diego State, which got two hits apiece from Cody Smith and Tim Zier, fell to 22-35 after holding off UNLV in Tuesday's opening round.
"The frustrating thing was that in both (at-bats by Nielsen) we were one pitch away from getting out of the inning," said Aztecs coach Tony Gwynn. "But Nielsen stepped up there and delivered twice. We've got a young team, but these are lessons young guys to have to learn."
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