SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (BallHyped News) – San Diego Padres Hall of Famer and current San Diego State head coach Tony Gwynn was back on the field for the first time this season Friday following cancer surgery to remove a malignant tumor on his cheek.
His return helped lift the spirits of the Aztec faithful and his players, who rolled to a 10-4 victory over Cal Poly in a non-conference baseball game at Baggett Stadium.
Gwynn, who won eight National League batting titles, had missed his team’s first 21 games following a 14-hour surgery on Feb. 14 to remove the tumor and undergo a nerve transplant from his shoulder to his cheek. The 15-time All-Star reportedly got cancer from using chewing tobacco throughout his storied baseball career.
Gwynn coached Friday’s game from the dugout as he normally does, but he came out to present the lineup card before the game and joked around with the umpire staff.
During pregame introductions, Gwynn was greeted by a standing ovation from the few San Diego State fans in attendance for the 1 p.m. road game, but it was all business from that point on for the Aztecs.
San Diego jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on the first of two three-run homers by catcher Chris Wilson.
After Cal Poly bounced back to tie the game 4-4 in the middle innings, the Aztecs scored six unanswered runs to win the opener of Friday’s doubleheader and improve to 10-12.
Gwynn was scheduled to be in the dugout for the nightcap as well.
|San Diego State (10-12)||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||5||0||10||13||0|
|Cal Poly (13-8)||0||0||0||0||4||0||0||0||0||4||10||1|
|@ San Luis Obispo, CA | Baggett Stadium|
|Win: HACHADORIAN, Mike (3-1) – San Diego State|
|Loss: Reed Reilly (2-1) – Cal Poly|
|San Diego State Batting|
|2B: ALLEN, Greg; SMITH, Cody|
|3B: ZIER, Tim|
|HR: WILSON, Chris 2; MUNO, Ryan|
|Cal Poly Batting|
|2B: Mike Miller; Jimmy Allen|