MORAGA, Calif. – The San José State University baseball team held a lead as big as five runs and as late as in the eighth inning but could not hold on, losing 11-6 to Saint Mary’s in a midweek afternoon game at Louis Guisto Field.
Heading to the bottom of the eighth frame, the Spartans (13-21-1) clung onto a one run lead, having allowed three runs in the sixth and seventh innings to see its lead dwindle from 6-2 to 6-5.
With one out in the eighth, the Gaels (23-13) hit four consecutive singles off SJSU relievers Zach Tanner and Josh Goldberg to tie the game up at 6-6.
With the bases loaded Goldberg struck out Zach Kirtley, the Gaels’ preseason All-American, to pick up the second out of the inning. However, Goldberg hit the next batter, Kevin Milam, to allow the go-ahead run to score to put the Gaels up, 7-6. Saint Mary’s would add some insurance runs on a pair of singles to put six runs on the board in the inning to make it 11-6.
The Spartans utilized nine pitchers in the game, none going longer than Zach Wallace with 2 2/3 innings. The pitching staff gave up 11 hits on the day, six of which came in the damaging eighth inning. But what hurt the Spartans the most were the nine free passes issued, including seven walks and two hit batsmen.
Four of the first five runs scored by the Gaels were runners that got on base as the result of the free passes.
San José State got its run production from the bottom half of the lineup of Kellen Strahm, Jack Veasey, Anders Davidson and Johnny Mendoza. Those number six to nine hitters in the Spartan lineup collected six hits, scored four runs and drove in five runs.
SJSU scored first in the second inning on a Jack Veasey (1-for-2, R, RBI, BB) sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Anders Davidson (2-for-4, 2 RBI) to go up 2-0.
In the fourth, the Spartans would extend its lead to 5-0 when Mendoza drove in two runs on a double and would later score on an Aaron Pleschner (1-for-5, RBI) single.
The Spartans would maintain a 6-2 lead until the Gaels racked up a total of nine runs in sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Tanner (0-1) took the loss for the Spartans and Cameron Neff (3-0) picked up the win for the Gaels.
San José State returns to Mountain West Conference action this coming Friday, April 21 against the Air Force Academy. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT at San Jose Municipal Stadium.