Freshman Arms Lift Spartans Past No. 24 Nevada, 6-4

Matt Brown recorded his first collegiate save Sunday afternoon.
April 26, 2015

Final Stats

RENO, Nev. -- The San José State University baseball team used a four-run first inning, a pair of middle-inning runs and solid pitching performances to outlast No. 24 Nevada, 6-4, Sunday afternoon at Peccole Park.

San José State (11-33, 4-17 MW) salvaged the final game of the series against No. 24 Nevada (33-11, 18-8 MW) after scoring just two runs in the first two games combined.

"We got beat up on Friday and Saturday, and I think that's a good team over there in the other dugout," said Spartans' head coach Dave Nakama. "We want to be good like those guys. To come out today and play well, I think that says a lot about our players."

The Spartans received solid pitching performances from a pair of freshmen to hold the Mountain West's top offense nearly four runs under its scoring average entering the weekend.

Turtle Kuhaulua (2-2) got the win in his first career start on the bump, working the first 5.1 innings and allowing four runs on six hits. Matt Brown came on in the sixth and was credited with his first career save for his 3.2-inning performance in which he held the Wolf Pack scoreless and surrendered just two hits.

"It came down to pitching. Those two guys are freshmen and they did a good job," Nakama said. "I think it's important to them, so they came out and did a good job for us."

At the plate, the Spartans outhit the Wolf Pack, 12-8, led by Joe Stefanki's (3-5, run, double, two RBIs) three-hit afternoon. Brett Bautista (2-5, run, RBI), David Campbell (2-4, run, walk, home run, RBI) and Corey Olivet (2-4, RBI) added multi-hit days, while Andre Mercurio (1-5), Dillan Smith (1-3, run, two walks) and Chris Williams (1-5, run, RBI) added hits.

San José State wasted no time taking its first lead of the series in Sunday's finale, pushing across four runs on five hits in the top of the first against Wolf Pack starter Jason Deitrich (5-3). Smith got it started with a one-out bunt single and moved to third on Bautista's base hit through the right side. After Williams drove in Smith with a single to center, Stefanki doubled into the left center gap to bring in two more and C.Olivet ripped the first pitch he saw through the right side to plate Stefanki with the Spartans' fourth run.

Nevada got one back in the bottom half, when Ryan Howell sent Kuhaulua's 0-2 pitch over the fence in left field. The home run was the second in as many days for the Wolf Pack second baseman.

Four innings later, Campbell answered with a solo shot of his own -- his second big fly of the season -- to extend the Spartans' lead to 5-1.

The Spartans were able to add an insurance run in the top of the sixth on Bautista's single up the middle that scored Tyler Olivet.

Nevada opened the bottom half of the fifth with three consecutive hits, including two doubles, all of which turned into Wolf Pack runs. Kuhaulua did well to preserve the 5-4 lead, as the freshman buckled down and retired three of the next four hitters.

Brown worked out of a pair of jams of his own to keep the Spartans on top. After entering with one on and out in the sixth, the righty walked the first hitter he faced but then rolled a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. Brown then walked a pair and threw a wild pitch to advance the tying runs to second and third with two down in the seventh before gloving a comebacker to end the threat.

San José State returns to the Bay Area to play a midweek contest at Stanford on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. before hosting Fresno State next weekend.

San Jose State 6, Nevada 4 (Apr 26, 2015 at Reno, Nevada)
San Jose State...... 400 011 000 - 6 12 0 (11-33, 4-17 MW)
Nevada.............. 100 030 000 - 4 8 0 (33-11, 18-6 MW)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Kuhaulua, Turtle; BROWN, Matt(6) and Stefanki, Joe. Nevada -
DEITRICH, Jason; ROWLAND, Cameron(2); ROMERO, Jojo(6) and TEEL, Ryan.
Win-KUHAULUA, Turtle(2-2) Save-BROWN, Matt(1) Loss-DEITRICH, Jason(5-3) T-2:47 A-3136
HR SJSU - Campbell, David (2).
HR NV - HOWELL, Ryan (14).
Weather: 63, mostly sunny, 10 mph