Spartans Top Cal Poly 5-2 Behind Bullpen, Mercurio's Big Night

Carter Johnson threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief Tuesday night.
March 10, 2015

Final Stats


 

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Andre Mercurio put San José State's baseball team up early in the game and its bullpen pieced together a solid effort to make it stick in the Spartans' 5-2 victory over Cal Poly on Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium.

The win was San José State's (6-10, 1-5 MW) first over Cal Poly (4-9, 0-0 Big West) since the 2006 season, when it captured the season opener from the Mustangs with a 6-0 victory.

Hilario Tovar (1-0) made his first career start for the Spartans and picked up his first win by throwing three perfect innings and striking out three.

"Hilario was exceptional tonight - the best he's pitched all year. His stuff was excellent and he had three pitches working, so that makes it tough on an offense," said assistant coach Tom Kunis.

Jonathan Hernandez followed up with 2.1 innings of work in his first non-starting appearance of his San José State career. Hernandez was tagged with both Cal Poly runs while walking one and striking out one in the 12 hitters he faced.

The bullpen carried the Spartans the rest of the way, as Jeremiah Wylie threw 0.1 innings and Carter Johnson tossed 2.1 scoreless frames before giving way to Turtle Kuhaulua in the ninth, who saved his fourth game of the season.

"I think everybody pitched well. The great thing to see was Hilario Tovar pitch the way he did because he's very capable, " said head coach Dave Nakama. "He had struggled a little bit before this - this was his best outing - and hopefully he can build upon that because he's a pretty good pitcher, so that was good to see. Everybody else that came out of the `pen did a good job in their roles as well."

While it looked like Tovar could keep going, the Spartans had planned to staff the game all along.

"Coach Kunis and I scripted this thing out and we just stuck to it because we had to find out whether the other guys could do it," Nakama said.

Andre Mercurio provided all the offense the Spartans would need on the night. The senior finished 2-for-5 with a double, triple and four RBIs, extending his reached-base streak to 15 games in the process.

After David Campbell led off the second with a base hit to center and Joe Stefanki moved him to third with a grounder through the right side two outs later, Cal Poly starter Jared Zill looked to get out of the inning when Kyle Morrison hit a line drive right at third baseman Tommy Pluschkell. The ball deflected off Pluschkell's glove and landed safely in left field, however, and Campbell came home to score for a 1-0 lead. Tyler Olivet kept the inning going with a single of his own to load the bases for Mercurio, who broke the game open with a bases-clearing triple over the first base bag to make it 4-0.

Cal Poly added lone runs in the fourth and sixth to cut the deficit in half, but a double by Stefanki in the bottom of the eighth set the table again for Mercurio, who hit a double of his own to bring home Stefanki's pinch-runner Mitch Ravizza for the final 5-2 margin.

"Andre's important because he has a lot of experience and he's played a lot. We need him, and we have to jump on his back offensively. If he goes good offensively, I think it'll be contagious with the rest of the guys," said Nakama.

Campbell's 3-for-4 day was his first three-hit effort as a Spartan.

The
Spartans head south for a three-game nonconference set with the UC Irvine Anteaters on Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 15. Friday's action will get underway at 6:30 p.m. with first pitch Saturday and Sunday taking place at 1:00 p.m. at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.

San Jose State 5, Cal Poly 2 (Mar 10, 2015 at San Jose, Calif.)

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Cal Poly............ 000 101 000 - 2 6 2 (4-9)

San Jose State...... 040 000 01X - 5 9 0 (6-10)

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Pitchers: Cal Poly - Zill, Jarred; Lee, Slater(4); Suniga, Nick(5); Chris, Taylor(8) and

Lesinski, Jake. San Jose State - Tovar, Hilario; HERNANDEZ, Jonathan(4); WYLIE, Jeremiah(6);

JOHNSON, Carter(6); KUHAULUA, Turtle(9) and Stefanki, Joe; Veasey, Jack.

Win-TOVAR, Hilario(1-0) Save-KUHAULUA, Turtle(4) Loss-Zill, Jarred(0-1) T-2:41 A-430

Weather: 63 degrees, overcast

Zill faced 1 batter in the 4th.