SAN JOSE, Calif. – In a back-and-forth rivalry game Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium, it was visiting Santa Clara that took advantage of some key mistakes to hand San José State a 7-4 loss.
Despite three solo home runs by Santa Clara (3-1), San José State (2-3) held a two-run lead at one point and had every chance to win the game.
With a man aboard to lead off the sixth and the Spartans up 4-2, Broncos left fielder Tyler Meditz laid down a well-placed bunt between the mound and first base. Neither second baseman Ozzy Braff nor pitcher Zach Wallace could get to the bag in time to field the flip from first baseman Shane Timmons, and the Broncos capitalized. Wallace struck out the side, but hit one batter and walked home a run before doing so.
In the seventh, the Broncos took advantage of two walks by Spartan reliever Jake Swiech (0-1) when catcher Braden Frankfort doubled home both runners to give Santa Clara a 5-4 lead.
The Broncos would go on to hit back-to-back solo shots in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach.
“It came down to two two-out walks, not getting an out when they were giving it to us in that one inning,” said head coach Dave Nakama. “We just didn’t execute at all. We played well at times and then we just made some mistakes that came back to bite us.”
The Spartans trailed 2-0 early on, but cut the lead in half when freshman Hunter Tidwell drove in his first collegiate run on an RBI fielder’s choice that scored fellow freshman Aaron Pleschner.
The score remained 2-1 until the fifth, when San José State pushed across three runs to take a 4-2 lead. Josh Nashed drove in Tidwell, who reached base on his first collegiate hit. Shane Timmons gave the Spartans its first lead of the night with a well-placed dribbler that turned into an RBI groundout. Ozzy Braff then followed up with his team-best sixth RBI of the season after finding himself in an 0-2 hole.
“We can take some consolation in how we battled back, but the challenge is how we come out Friday and play. That’s a big challenge for these guys. In the past we’ve let things snowball on us, so it’s a big task for us.”
San José State hosts LMU this weekend at 6:00, 2:00 and 1:00 p.m., respectively.