SAN JOSE, Calif. – A day after putting up 23 hits and 17 runs in 18 innings, San José State’s offense fell silent in an 11-0 defeat to visiting UC Irvine on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Municipal Stadium.
With the loss, the Spartans (2-2) earned a series split with the Anteaters (2-2) after dropping Friday’s opener and sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader.
The beginning of Sunday’s ballgame appeared to be more of the same for San José State. Hilario Tovar (0-1) retired the Anteaters in order in the top half of the first – two via strikeout – and the Spartans loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom half against UCI starter Shaun Vetrovec.
Shane Timmons, fresh off yesterday’s 5-for-7 performance, stepped to the plate and chopped a ball to UCI third baseman Jonathan Munoz, who threw home to force Dillan Smith out at the plate. Vetrovec then induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of David Campbell to get out of the jam unscathed.
“I think this was a little disappointing because this was a chance to do something good by beating these guys three times,” said Spartans head coach Dave Nakama. We had our chance in the first inning. We had bases loaded with nobody out and couldn’t score. I think that was the difference in the game. If we could’ve put some hits together and scored some runs, I think it’s a little different game because you put pressure on them.”
The Spartans’ next-best chance to score came in the second inning. After Joe Stefanki singled up the middle with two outs, Michael Breen doubled down the left field line, but a strong relay by UC Irvine was enough to nab Stefanki at the plate as he attempted to score from first.
From that point on, it was all Anteaters. UCI turned a second-inning 5-2 deficit in the hit column into a 16-5 advantage by the eighth. The Spartans were held without a hit for 5.1 consecutive innings from the third through the eighth.
Vetrovec (1-0) did the bulk of the work for the Anteaters, tossing the first 7.0 innings and allowing five hits while walking three and striking out a pair.
Tovar worked the first 4.0 frames for San José State and yielded four runs on six hits while walking two and hitting two. Ross Slaney, Robert Gaylord, Zach Tanner, Jake Swiech, Eric Anderson and Zach Wallace all saw relief action.
Sunday’s result wasn’t enough to diminish the importance of the weekend as a whole, though. The Spartans split a four-game set against a team picked by several publications to reach the NCAA Regionals this season.
“If you would’ve told us we could beat them twice and sweep them in a doubleheader I think we would take that,” Nakama said. “It just goes back to us needing to be better and take advantage of some opportunities we had. The thing we need to take away from this series is that we can play against high caliber teams.”
The Spartans will play their first midweek action of the season Tuesday, when they host crosstown rival Santa Clara in a 6:00 p.m. first pitch at Municipal Stadium.