San Jose, Calif. – The San José State University baseball team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in game two of the Mountain West Conference series against Air Force, giving up five runs in the ninth to lose 9-7.
The Spartans (13-23-1, 7-11-1 MW) led 7-4 heading to the top of the ninth with closer Josh Goldberg on the mound facing the top of the Falcons (18-20, 7-13 MW) order.
Air Force scored a pair of runs to cut the Spartans lead to one run, 7-6, on two singles, a double and walk. With two runners on, Falcon first baseman Nic Ready cranked a three-run homer to put Air Force ahead 9-7 to complete the comeback scoring five runs in the inning.
SJSU starter Jake Swiech had a strong outing, pitching a career-high eight innings, scattering 10 hits, allowing four runs and walking just two batters.
After 104 pitches, Swiech was pulled in favor of Goldberg who had taken over the closer’s role. Goldberg had picked up a pair of saves in his new role in conference wins against New Mexico and Nevada this month but could not duplicate his success on Saturday.
The game began similarly to Friday’s series opener when Air Force jumped to a lead in the first inning, scoring two runs. The Spartans answered back scoring three in the home frame of the first on RBIs by Joseph Stefanki (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI), Aaron Pleschner (RBI) and David Campbell (3-for-4, 2 RBI).
The Spartans added two more runs in the second on back-to-back doubles by Shane Timmons (1-for-5, 2 R, RBI) and Michael Breen (2-for-4, R, RBI).
In the third, SJSU added their sixth run to make it 6-1 when Kyle Blakeman doubled to lead off the inning and was driven in by Campbell’s single.
For the game, the Spartans hit a season-high four doubles. Their last extra base hit came in the form of a home run by Stefanki in the seventh to put the Spartans up 7-3. Stefanki’s solo shot was his second career home run.
After losing the first two games, San José State will look to salvage the series on Sunday when they send Joseph Balfour (0-1, 3.75 ERA) on the mound. Air Force will counter with Matt Hargreaves (1-3, 6.04 ERA). First pitch is 1:00 p.m. PT.