The Aztecs knew they were in the NCAA Tournament when they won the Mountain West Conference Championship on Sunday. There was a chance the Selection Committee would keep SDSU close to home in a regional being hosted by Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo. Instead, associate head coach Mark Martinez got what he wanted.
"I kind of was hoping we'd get shipped somewhere outside of the west coast to give us an opportunity to prove who we are nationally," said Martinez.
That wish came true, and then some. San Diego State is heading to Lafayette, LA, to a regional hosted by the Ragin' Cajuns and their 53-7 record.
The Aztecs will open with Mississippi State, the team that lost to UCLA in last year's College World Series championship game (of course, that was when the Bulldogs had Padres 1st round pick Hunter Renfroe mashing in the middle of the lineup).
Jackson State is the fourth team in the regional.
Mississippi State is an SEC powerhouse with a storied program, having earned nine CWS appearances. But, at 42-19, the Aztecs have proven they can win just about any kind of game against any kind of opponent.
"Pitching-wise we match up with anybody in the country," said Martinez. "Offensively we can manufacture runs. Defensively we're as good as anybody in the country. So, pitching and defense is going to win championships, just like UCLA did last year, and just like we did last week (in the MWC tournament). Hopefully we can continue that trend going to to Louisiana."
In that MWC title run, the Aztecs showed great balance. They finished with a .344 batting average, a 2.67 earned run average, and .983 fielding percentage.
First pitch for the Aztecs and Bulldogs is 11:00 a.m., San Diego time, on Friday, May 30.