SAN JOSE, Calif. – With San José State’s 7-6 win over the University of San Francisco in the 2017 season home finale on Monday, the Spartans baseball team finished over .500 at home for the first time since the 2011 season.
SJSU finished 13-11-1 at home and are now 17-34-1 overall on the season. USF fell to 27-27 overall.
The game got off to an ominous start for the Spartans when USF sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning to score five runs on five hits, two walks, a hit batsman and an error.
The Spartans made two pitching changes in the first inning with freshman Jackson Cunningham recording the third out with two runners on.
Cunningham pitched the next four innings, shutting out the Dons while the Spartans mounted a comeback with the help of USF miscues.
San José State chipped away at San Francisco’s lead, scoring a run in the first and second innings.
In the bottom of the first, Kellen Strahm (1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, SB) led off the inning with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an error by the second baseman Michael Perri. After a walk and a hit batsman to load the bases, Strahm came home on a Joseph Stefanki (2-for-4, R, RBI) sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.
In the second, Chris Williams (1-for-3, RBI, 2 BB) drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the second run of the game to cut USF’s lead to 5-2.
The first two runs scored by the Spartans were the only earned runs charged to the Dons pitching staff for the game. There were a total of seven errors in the game four for USF and three for SJSU.
Two of the USF errors came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Stefanki reached base on an error by the right fielder Aaron Ping and Johnny Mendoza followed with a single to put the runners at the corners. Kyle Morrison (2 R, RBI) dropped a bunt that the USF pitcher Joey Steele fielded but air mailed over the first baseman which brought home both Stefanki and Mendoza to make it a one run game, 5-4. With Morrison at third, Michael Breen (2-for-2, R, RBI) singled him home to tie it at 5-5.
The Dons regained its lead in the top of the sixth against Graham Gomez, who came into relieve Cunningham. Cunningham struck out a season-high six batters in 4 1/3 innings of work allowing just two hits and two walks.
Gomez allowed a one-out double to Tyler Villaroman who came home on a sacrifice fly to put the Dons out front 6-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, San José State took its first lead of the game.
With runners at the corners, Williams hit a routine grounder to Dons shortstop Nico Giarratano. The grounder went through Giarratano’s legs scoring Morrison to tie the game 6-6. SJSU’s game winning run came by way of a wild pitch, scoring Strahm from third to make it 7-6.
Josh Goldberg came in the ninth to preserve the win for SJSU and earned his fifth save of the team.
Senior Zach Tanner who pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings got his first career win. Joey Carney (3-2) took the loss for USF.
San José State plays its season finale series against UNLV starting this Thursday, May 18. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT.