|Spartans Take Early Lead Before Falling To Hornets|
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose State scored two runs in the first two innings Friday night and starter Johnny Melero shutout the Hornets over five frames of two-hit ball, but Sacramento State scored seven unanswered runs against the Spartans' bullpen to come away with a 7-2 victory in game one of a three-game Western Athletic Conference series at Municipal Stadium.
Backing up the Hornets' late offensive outburst was a complete game performance from starter Dallas Chadwick. Chadwick (4-1) scattered seven hits and shut out the Spartans over the final seven innings for his first complete game of the season.
Michael DiRocco and Tyler Christian had two hits each for the Spartans (19-18, 4-3 WAC), who squandered an early lead for the third time in their last five games. Mike Aldrete (5-1) took his first loss of the year with three earned runs on three hits and two walks in 2/3 innings pitched during the sixth.
EARLY RUNS FOR THE SPARTANS
Leadoff singles by Andre Mercurio and Jacob Valdez in the first inning gave San Jose State runners on the corners with no outs and homeruns leader Nick Schulz coming to the plate. Schulz would ground into a double play to score Mercurio and give the Spartans an early 1-0 lead.
San Jose State scored again in the second inning with a two-out rally. Christian legged out a two-out double on a ball to the gap and Ricky Acosta followed with a walk. That's when DiRocco got his second infield single of the game with a ball deep in the hole at second.
DiRocco ran the ball out as Hornets second baseman Andrew Ayers got to the ball in short right field, and Christian scored all the way from second to give the Spartans a 2-0 advantage.
LATE OFFENSE FOR THE HORNETS
Sacramento State began its comeback in the sixth after Melero left the game. Melero had thrown only 56 pitches in shutting out the Hornets over five innings of work, giving up just two hits and striking out three.
A hit-by-pitch and two walks in the sixth gave the Hornets extra baserunners, but a two-run single down the left field line by David Del Grande did the most damage by tying the game at 2-2. Del Grande had worked the count full and was facing the eighth pitch of his at-bat before sending the ball past a diving Christian at third base.
The Hornets tacked on four more runs in the eighth, three of them with two outs, to put the game away. Trevor Paine led off the inning with his first homerun of the season, a solo shot to left field.
Reliever Kalei Contrades struck out the next two batters, giving him four Ks in two innings of work. He got the final out of the sixth with a strikeout in a bases loaded situation to stop the Hornets' rally, then pitched a perfect seventh with one strikeout.
But Sacramento State would jump on the Spartans' next pitcher out of the bullpen, Kyle Hassna. Hassna surrendered three straight hits, the last one a two-run double off the left field wall by Justin Higley. He then loaded the bases with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Craig Broussard would allow the Hornets' final run to score on a wild pitch, his first delivery of the game, before getting the final out.
The series continues with game two at 1 p.m. Saturday at Municipal Stadium. Right-handers Brennan Leitao and Esteban Guzman are the game's probable starters.