|Spartans Defeat UOP on Opening Day, 6-4|
San Jose, Calif. -- In the debut of San Jose State baseball head coach Dave Nakama, the Spartans pulled out a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the University of the Pacific Tigers at Municipal Stadium.
"It's always good to get the first one out of the way," said Nakama. "Winning the opener is big. It's good for the kids and I know they feel good after this one."
The Tigers (0-1) put up two quick runs in the first inning off of San Jose State starter Johnny Melero. They began the game with consecutive singles from Tyler Sullivan and Brett Sullivan, which set the table for a two-RBI double by Erik Lockwood.
Pacific scored two more in the third and after allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks in 4.1 innings, Melero was lifted in favor of Kyle Hassna in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, trailing 4-1, the Spartans (1-0) got three hits and took advantage of a series of Pacific miscues to plate three runs.
Andre Mercurio led off with a walk and moved to second base on a balk by Pacific starter Cory Popham. A bobble by the center fielder on a Gerlach single allowed Mercurio to score making it 4-2. Two batters later, with runners on first and third, a Jacob Valdez sacrifice fly made it 4-3. Dane Lund then hit a two-out infield single moving Schulz to third base. Schulz came home and tied the game at four on a wild pitch by Popham to the next batteer Matt Lopez.
"We had some timely hits in that fifth inning," Nakama said. "Coming up with those hits made the difference for us. That two-strike drag by Dane Lund was huge to keep the inning alive."
Hassna, the winner, finished off the game allowing only two hits from the fifth inning on. His 4.2 innings pitched was the most of his career in a reliever's role.
"You can't say enough about Hassna's performance," said Nakama. "He kept us close in the game, and once we got the lead he held it for us."
Richie Johnson entered the game as a pinch-runner in the second inning. His RBI-double in the seventh inning off of Travis Lumby would prove to be the game-winning hit for the Spartans. And in the eighth, Gerlach scored San Jose State's sixth run on the Quiery single.
Dustin Torchio collected three hits and an RBI, while Tyler Sullivan and Lockwood also had multi-hit games for Pacific.
The Spartans and Tigers will hit the field again for game two of the three-game set tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. Senior left-hander David Wayne Russo is scheduled to start for San Jose State. Lefty John Haberman will take the hill for Pacific.
San Jose State 6, Pacific 4 (Feb 15, 2013 at San Jose, Calif.)