ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – San José State took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning of Wednesday’s Mountain West Championship play-in game but San Diego State tied it up and walk off on a grand slam to advance, 7-3.
The Spartans finished the season at 17-39, while the Aztecs improved to 20-36.
As the morning spilled over into the afternoon, it looked like it would be San José State advancing to Wednesday night’s date with Nevada. Josh Nashed (L, 0-6) cruised through the Aztec order through the first six innings with an efficient average of close to 10 pitches per frame.
At the plate, Shane Timmons’ third-inning RBI single through the left side drove in Aaron Pleschner for the game’s first run. In the fifth inning, Joe Stefanki led off with a double down the third base line and displayed some heads-up baserunning when Ozzy Braff chopped a ball just to the right of the mound. Aztec catcher Hunter Stratton came out from behind the dish to field the ball and throw out Braff at first, but Stefanki saw pitcher Dominic Purpura drift toward the ball instead of covering home, and the Spartan backstop scampered to the plate to extend the lead to 2-0.
The Spartans’ offense looked much improved over last Thursday’s matchup with Perpura. In that contest, Perpura tossed a complete-game shutout and scattered six hits. Wednesday, the Spartans collected seven hits against him in his 4.1 innings of work.
The 2-0 lead held until the bottom of the seventh, when a two-base Spartan error keyed a game-tying Aztec rally. Verdon’s double drove in the first SDSU run of the game, and Dean Navarez singled him home to knot it up at two apiece.
Shane Timmons led off the eighth and wasted no time putting San José State back in front. He crushed a fastball from newly-entered Harrison Pyatt deep over the center field fence for a solo blast to make it 3-2.
Nashed breezed through the eighth, but walked Spencer Thornton to lead off the ninth and gave up another RBI double to Verdon, this one tying the game. After walking Nevarez to put the double play in order with one out, Nashed balked both runners up a base and was forced to intentionally walk Andrew Brown. Leadoff hitter Justin Wylie then worked a 3-1 count before sending Nashed’s offering well over the fence in left to lift the Aztecs to a 7-3 win.
San Diego State 7, San Jose State 3 (May 25, 2016 at Albuquerque, N.M.)