Spartans Fend Off Bulldogs With 12th-Inning Rally, Win 7-5

Joe Stefanki (pictured) and Michael Breen each drove in a pair of runs on Sunday.
April 24, 2016

Box Score

FRESNO, Calif. – In a game that Fresno State never led, it took 12 innings for San José State to put the Bulldogs away in a 7-5 win Sunday afternoon at Beiden Field.

The Spartans (12-27, 5-16 MW) were able to salvage one game of the weekend series and beat the Bulldogs (26-15, 14-7 MW) on getaway day for a second time this year.

After Hunter Tidwell singled to lead off the top of the 12th and stole second, Dillan Smith moved him to third with a one-out infield single. Aaron Pleschner then stepped to the plate and delivered a sacrifice fly to right that gave the Spartans the eventual winning run. Joe Stefanki added an insurance run with an RBI single to right center.

That was all reliever Graham Gomez (W, 2-4) would need. The junior southpaw capped off his 3.1 scoreless innings of work with a line drive double play to end the game.

San José State’s offense matched a season high with 16 hits. Eight different players broke into the hit column, and seven of them posted multiple hit contests. Michael Breen (3-6, run, two RBIs) led the way with a three-hit effort for a second consecutive night. He finished 6-for-14 (.429) on the weekend.

Josh Nashed made the start for the Spartans and put together an outstanding effort against the Bulldogs for a second time this season. He worked 6.0 innings and surrendered just two second-inning runs while walking two and striking out two. In late March at Municipal Stadium, he held Fresno State to two runs (one earned) over 6.0 innings.

For the first time in the series, the Spartans struck first. They put up three runs in the top of the second thanks to three hits and three walks by Bulldogs starter Edgar Gonzalez all after the first two hitters of the inning were retired. Brendt Citta got it started with a walk, and Hunter Tidwell followed up with an RBI double just over the outstretched glove of left fielder Zach Ashford. Breen then lofted a single that dropped in front of the center fielder to score Tidwell, and three batters later, Stefanki drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Breen for a 3-0 lead.

The Bulldogs answered right back with two runs in the home half, but Nashed was able strand two runners aboard.

Breen’s second RBI single in as many innings pushed the lead to 4-2 in the third. That’s where the score would stay until the sixth, as Nashed finished his outing with four consecutive scoreless innings.

A sixth-inning sac fly off the bat of Shane Timmons mad the score 5-2 and proved to be valuable. Reliever Matt Brown cruised through the seventh inning but ran into trouble in the eighth and surrendered a pair of runs to cut the lead to 5-4. Timmons helped out on the defensive end as well, bodying up a hard-hit grounder and flipping it to Brown at first to end the rally with the bases loaded.

In the ninth, Scott Silva singled with one out and came around to score when Brown walked three of the next four hitters. Brown was lifted in favor of Graham Gomez with the bases still loaded, and Gomez got the pinch hitter, Joe Prior, to fly to right.

The score remained knotted at 5-5 until the 12th-inning rally despite the Spartans putting men at the corners with one out in the 11th.  

The five-game road trip wraps up with a trip to Pacific on Tuesday night.

San Jose State 7, Fresno State 5 (Apr 24, 2016 at Fresno, Calif.)
San Jose State...... 031 001 000 002  -  7 16  0      (12-27, 5-16)
Fresno State........ 020 000 021 000  -  5 14  0      (26-15, 14-7)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Nashed, Josh; BROWN, Matt(7); GOMEZ, Graham(9) and
Stefanki, Joe.
Fresno State - GONZALEZ, Edgar; SULLIVAN, Ryan(2); WILLIAMS, Brennon(3);
VARNELL, Kenny(5);
REECE, Mark(6); LEE, Dylan(7); BORST, Tim(10) and WARREN, Nick; PRIOR, Joe.
Win-GOMEZ, Graham(2-4)  Loss-BORST, Tim(2-2)  T-3:50  A-1091
Weather: 67 degrees, overcast, NW 8mp
VARNELL, K. faced 3 batters in the 6th.