SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San José State baseball team knocked off the co-Mountain West leader in exciting fashion at Municipal Stadium Friday night, topping Nevada 5-4 on a walk-off hit by pitch.
The Spartans (8-18, 2-8 MW) snapped an eight game skid with the win and broke the Wolf Pack's (21-5, 7-3 MW) eight-game winning streak.
"I think we're capable; I really do," said Spartans' head coach Dave Nakama. "That was a good win for us because we've been struggling."
A wild bottom half of the ninth lifted the Spartans to the 5-4 win. Brett Bautista led off the inning with a base hit up the middle off Wolf Pack reliever Adam Whitt. After inducing an Ozzy Braff fly out, Whitt and right fielder Trenton Brooks, a left-hander, swapped places to match up with left-handed-hitting Chris Williams. Williams hit a slow bouncer to the right of second base that looked to end the inning, but Wolf Pack shortstop Kyle Hunt hesitated and then sailed a throw into the stands to put runners on second and third with one out. After Brooks walked Shane Timmons intentionally to load the bases, he and Whitt again swapped places to match Whitt against Michael Breen. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Breen squared to bunt and Bautista broke for home, but Whitt's fastball connected with Breen's thigh for a walk-off hit by pitch.
Breen had entered at third base for David Campbell in the top of the eighth and made two nice plays, ranging far to his left on a slow chopper and knocking down a low line drive.
"He's capable of doing that," Nakama said. "He's a valuable defender for us, and at the plate I think he's a guy that you can count on to put a bunt down or take pitches. He's just a great team player."
San José State was buoyed on the mound by impressive performances from a pair of freshman, starter Hilario Tovar and reliever Josh Nashed.
Tovar worked the first 4.1 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits while walking one and striking out four.
Nashed (3-2) then came on and shut the door for the Spartans, picking up his team-leading third win by going 4.2 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out six against the Mountain West's most prolific offense.
"That's a very, very solid offense and you have to compete at a very high level to beat those guys, and that's exactly what Tovar and Nashed did," said Spartans' pitching coach Tom Kunis. "Tovar didn't have his best stuff but found ways to get outs and found ways to get through innings despite not having his best stuff.
"Nashed was good tonight. It's tough to beat a pitcher when he's getting ahead in the count and getting the leadoff guy out, but more importantly, he was very competitive. He really wanted to win the ballgame and he was going to do whatever it took to get the job done. I'm excited for him and he earned it."
The Spartans quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first off one of the conference's best pitchers, Jason Dietrich, thanks to the Wolf Pack's first of two errors. Andre Mercurio, playing in his first game since last Friday at Fresno State, led off with a single to center and was sacrificed to second by Dillan Smith. Bautista then hit a sharp grounder through the right side to score Mercurio and later came around to score on a throwing error by Nevada third baseman Bryce Greager. Timmons and Campbell followed up with back-to-back singles for the early lead.
Nevada responded with two runs in the top of the second and two more in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead, but Nashed held the Wolf Pack scoreless the rest of the way.
"We pitched well. Tovar pitched good enough tonight, though I think he's been sharper," Nakama said. "When you put up three runs early, you have to shut them down for a couple innings. We let it get away from us a little bit, but Nashed came in and did a great job. He pitched really well against a good offensive club, so that's a big win for us."
Contributing to San José State's 12-hit outburst were Bautista (3-5, two runs, RBI), Timmons (2-4, walk, RBI), Braff (2-5), Smith (2-3, two sac bunts), Mercurio (1-4, two runs, HBP), Williams (1-4, run, walk) and Campbell (1-4, RBI).
San José State will send its ace, Kalei Contrades, to the mound Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in search of the series victory over the Wolf Pack. Nevada has not yet announced a starter.
San Jose State 5, Nevada 4 (Mar 27, 2015 at San Jose, Calif.)
Nevada.............. 020 020 000 - 4 8 2 (21-5, 7-3 MW)
San Jose State...... 300 000 101 - 5 12 3 (8-18, 2-8 MW)
Pitchers: Nevada - DEITRICH, Jason; ROMERO, Jojo(4); WHITT, Adam(7); BROOKS, Trenton(9) and
DEVENCENZI, Jordan. San Jose State - Tovar, Hilario; NASHED, Josh(5) and Stefanki, Joe;
Win-NASHED, Josh(3-2) Loss-WHITT, Adam(1-1) T-3:35 A-423
Weather: 70 degrees, clear skies
BROOKS, T. faced 2 batters in the 9th.