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SAN DIEGO — San Diego State baseball is picked to win the Mountain West conference this season, and a major key to that success lies in the arm of right-handed pitcher Troy Melton.

Head baseball coach Mark Martinez compared this season for Melton to the one that Washington Nationals pitcher Steven Strasberg went through his junior year with the Aztecs. Despite appreciating the comparison, Melton is paving his own path.

“I see similarities — we both went to San Diego State — but I don’t really try to compare myself to Strasberg,” Melton said. “Those are obviously expectations I have for myself, but I don’t think it’s a goal to be like him. I’m just trying to be me.”

Despite the season cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Melton was productive, boasting a 3-1 record with a 3.22 ERA and 26 K’s. Melton also led the conference in wins and tied for 23rd in that category nationally. Two of those wins were against recent National Champions Coastal Carolina (2016) and Oregon State (2018).

“I kinda just like to get in my zone an hour before, pitch like I can and get out of there and live the rest of my life,” Melton said.

As for the Aztecs, they enter the Mountain West season slated to play 45 games. The team has also received 36 points and five first-place votes putting a target on their back. 

With no Mountain West baseball tournament at the end of the year, the team looks to win the regular-season championship outright for the first time since 2004.