SAN JOSE, Calif. – Under gray skies and threatening weather at Municipal Stadium, Matt Brown and Josh Goldberg combined to allow just one run against Mountain West conference leader New Mexico to beat the Lobos 2-1 on Friday afternoon.
The game was moved up from the customary 7:00 p.m. Friday night time to 1:00 p.m. PT due to rain in the forecast.
The Brown and Goldberg duo combined to scatter five hits to New Mexico, which came into the game batting .312 as a team. It was the Lobos’ second loss in conference play and dropped their record to 18-12 (11-2 MW). The Spartans improved to 12-17 (6-7 MW).
“It was gutsy performance by Brown. He walked some people and hit some guys but he was able to make some adjustments that we liked,” said Spartans head coach Jason Hawkins.
Brown pitched a career-high 7.0 innings, allowing just one hit, a single in the fifth inning to pick up his team-leading third win of the season. The six-foot-six hurler struck out six batters while walking five and hitting five Lobos batsmen.
Goldberg picked up a two-inning save, his second of the season, allowing four hits and striking out two.
“We talked about as a staff if Goldberg is ready as a closer and yeah, I think he is. It’s about mentality and confidence and its spilling out of his pores right now.”
In the top of the ninth, Goldberg allowed two hits to put runners at the corners with one out. However, he induced Lobos cleanup hitter Jared Mang into a 5-4-3 around the horn double play to end the game.
The Spartans got their runs on in the first two innings against Lobos starter, Tyler Stevens.
Stevens walked Aaron Pleschner (0-for-3, R, BB, SB) to lead off the first. It was one of four walks issued by Stevens, who came into the game allowing just seven walks all season in 46 2/3 innings. Pleschner promptly stole second to move into scoring position.
With two-outs, Shane Timmons (3-for-4, RBI) drove in Pleschner on a single to left to score the first run of the game. Timmons singled three times in the game, pushing his season batting average to .327, topping the team in that category.
In the second, Corey Olivet (1-for-3, R), hit an infield single to short and advanced to second on a throwing error by the shortstop. He moved to third on a wild pitch, before coming home on an RBI groundout by Kyle Morrison (0-for-2, RBI, BB).
The Lobos got their lone run of the game in the fifth frame after Brown loaded the bases on a hit batsman and a pair of walks with one out. Carl Stadjuhar, the reigning Mountain West conference player of the year, singled to drive in one run. Brown dug deep to retire the next two batters to get out of the jam.
For the game, the Lobos left 12 runners on base compared to nine for the Spartans.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m. PT. Jake Swiech (1-3, 5.33 ERA) is expected to start for the Spartans against Jonathan Tripp (2-0, 4.50 ERA).