RENO, Nev. – San José State had beaten Nevada in four consecutive one-run games this season but on Friday afternoon, the Spartans were on the losing end 5-4. The Spartan gave up two runs in the ninth inning to go down in walk-off fashion.
Heading to the bottom of the ninth inning, the Spartans (13-19-1, 7-8-1 MW) held onto a one run lead. It was a familiar position for SJSU having swept the Wolf Pack (10-26, 6-11 MW) earlier in the season in San Jose, winning each by one run. The Spartans continued the one-run win streak in Thursday’s series opener, winning 6-5.
On Friday, Hilario Tovar took the mound for the Spartans in the ninth looking to close out the game against a team he has had success this season with two wins and a save. An inning earlier in the eighth, Tovar entered the game with runners at the corners with one out and induced a 6-4-3 double play to thwart the Wolf Pack threat.
In the ninth, the Selma, Calif., native hit the leadoff batter followed by a walk. Jakob Gonzalez replaced Tovar and got an out before loading the bases with a walk.
Gonzalez got ahead in the count 0-2 to Nevada’s pinch hitter Chase Grant but gave up a single that tied up the game at 4-4. With the bases still loaded and one out, Gonzalez got ahead of the count 0-2 once again to the next batter Justin Bridgman but yielded a single that brought home the winning run.
Tovar took the loss for the Spartans, falling to 2-3. Nevada’s Mark Nowaczewski (2-4) picked up the win going the distance.
After falling behind 3-1 in the fourth, the Spartans clawed back scoring a run each in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames to take a 4-3 lead. SJSU had opportunities to tack on additional runs but left a runner in scoring position in each inning from the third to the seventh.
The walk-off loss overshadowed an otherwise solid performance by Spartans starter Jake Swiech. The righthander scattered four hits, three runs (two earned), a walk and struck out three over 6.0 innings. Swiech had an efficient game from a pitch count perspective, throwing 74 pitches over six frames.
Michael Breen was the lone Spartan with multiple hits, getting three singles on the day. Aaron Pleschner, Shane Timmons and Kyle Timmons each had an RBI.
San José State will send Joseph Balfour to the mound in the rubber match on Saturday, April 15. The Nevada starter will be Riley Ohl. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT at Peccole Park.