PHOENIX – The San José State University baseball team came back from five runs down to score nine unanswered runs and hung on to win, 9-8, against Grand Canyon University in a mid-week non-conference match up.
SJSU improved to 16-30-1 and GCU dropped to 24-23.
On an unseasonably cool evening at Brazell Stadium where the first pitch temperature was 72 degrees, GCU got off to a hot start. The Lopes scored five runs in the second inning against Spartans starter Graham Gomez to knock the lefty out of the game.
Down 5-0, freshman reliever Jackson Cunningham came into the game at the top of the third and pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings while the Spartans mounted a comeback.
The Spartans scored a total of five runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game at 5-5, including a two RBI double by Johnny Mendoza (1-for-2, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB) with the bases loaded.
In the sixth, Joseph Stefanki’s (3-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI) two-run home run put San José State up 7-5. It was Stefanki’s second home run of the season.
SJSU added two more runs, to make it nine unanswered runs, in the eighth. Stefanki doubled to bring home pinch runner Corey Olivet from first and Chris Williams (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI BB) drove in Stefanki with an RBI single.
The Lopes would make things interesting however scoring three runs in the bottom half of the eighth to cut the Spartan lead to one run, 9-8. GCU sent eight batters to the plate, getting two hits, a pair of walks and an error to make it a one run game.
But that was the closest the Lopes would come with Josh Goldberg, who came in the game in the eighth, retiring the side in the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.
Cunningham (1-0) picked up his first Spartan win with Jeramy Smith (1-1) took the loss for the Lopes.
The second game of the two-game series will be played Wednesday, May 10 at 2 p.m. PT.