SAN JOSE, Calif. – San José State’s baseball team paired impressive pitching performances with an offensive outburst en route to sweeping its doubleheader against visiting UC Irvine Saturday afternoon at Municipal Stadium.
The Spartans (2-1) took the first game from the Anteaters (1-2) by a 9-3 score and completed the sweep of the day with an 8-5 win in the nightcap.
San José State collected 23 hits and 17 runs on the day, and only trailed UC Irvine for one and a half of the 18 innings. After going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Friday’s opener, the Spartans went 12-for-26 over both games Saturday.
“We talked about it this morning and we worked on it in batting practice,” said Spartans head coach Dave Nakama. “We also did a better job with two strikes and put the ball in play a lot. As I told these guys, not every ball was put in play hard, but when you put the ball in play sometimes it finds its way to the outfield. We did a good job at the plate today.”
San José State’s starting pitching was excellent for a second and third time this season, as Matt Brown (1-0) was the winner in game one thanks to a 5.0-inning, three-hit, one-run performance. Logan Handzlik (1-0) got the win in the nightcap, as he posted a line of 5.0 innings, four hits, two runs and two strikeouts.
Josh Goldberg (game one) and Graham Gomez (game two) each picked up their first career saves. Goldberg worked the final 4.0 innings of the first game, allowing three hits and a pair of runs, while Gomez made the most of his Spartan debut, tossing the 3.0 innings of the nightcap. Jake Swiech also worked a scoreless inning of relief for a second consecutive day.
“The pitchers have given us an opportunity to win. In the past that hasn’t happened,” Nakama said. “I give credit to the guys coming in relief and putting up zeros. That’s how it’s going to be. We’re going to have to pitch by committee a lot of the time. The beauty of this team is we have some depth.”
In the field, the Spartans made four changed to the starting lineup from game one to game two, but the offense kept rolling. Aaron Pleschner, Hunter Tidwell, Josh Nashed and Cal Koga each made their first starts in the field this season. Pleschner made the most of it, posting three RBIs and pair of hits, while Koga recorded his first career hit as well.
“You have your nucleus of guys. I think there’s four or five guys we’re going to count on. But the strength of our team is we can mix and match at other spots and swap out guys as we need to to keep guys fresh.”
The Spartans go for the series win Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.