San Jose, Calif. -- With the three-game Western Athletic Conference series on the line Sunday, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech went on an offensive frenzy combining for 20 runs and 32 hits. The two squads scored 11 times and pounded out 14 hits in the fourth inning alone and each team had two hitters launch one over the fence.
Michael Gerlach’s first-career home run as a Spartan, a three-run bomb in the fourth, helped spring the Spartans (11-21, 5-4 WAC) back into the lead, and Nick Schulz’s eighth-inning blast secured a 12-8 victory over the Bulldogs (12-21, 2-7 WAC) at Municipal Stadium.
After watching Louisiana Tech’s Tyler Ervine and Sam Alvis both go deep as part of a five-run fourth, San Jose State answered with a six-run two-out rally to regain the lead in the bottom of the inning.
After two quick outs, Tim Quiery got things rolling with a single and came around to score on Sheldon Daquioag’s double down the left field line. Two batters later, Matt Carroll knocked in Daquioag cutting the Spartans deficit to 6-4. The next batter Matt Lopez added another RBI-single, scoring Jacob Valdez who walked, and bringing up Gerlach with runners on first and second.
On the second pitch Gerlach took Bulldog reliever Caleb Dudley (0-4) deep, planting a fastball beyond the left field wall for his first homer of the season and of his career.
“The first pitch was a slider and something flew up in my eye,” Gerlach said. “I had to call time out for a second, and then he tried to challenge me with an inside fastball and I recognized it early.”
Gerlach’s hit gave him a single-game career-high five RBI and gave SJSU an 8-6 advantage. Before the inning was over the Spartans went all the way through the order and Dane Lund was able to record his second hit of the inning.
ANSWERING THE CALL
San Jose State tacked on another run in the fifth inning to take a 9-6 lead. The Bulldogs however would not go away easily, and rapped off four singles in a row followed by a hit batsman to start the top of the seventh inning. With two runs already in and now a 9-8 ballgame, Spartans’ head coach Dave Nakama called Kalei Contrades from the pen to get out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam.
Contrades and the Spartans were in the dugout after just five pitches as Kody Neel fouled out to Daquioag at third and Austin Hedges grounded into a 5-3 double-play.
“I think that was the most important part of the game right there,” said Nakama. If we go down there, it’s hard to have to answer back again. We got out of there keeping our one-run lead and that shifted the momentum back to our side.”
With the momentum, the Spartans’ lead grew to 12-8 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Nick Schulz seemingly put the game on ice with a pinch-hit three-run homer. The shot over the left field wall came with two outs, as did all 12 runs on the day for SJSU.
“We have done a really good job scoring with two outs this season,” Nakama said. I like to call those ‘tough ones’. It’s a mindset that the guys have done really well carrying on this year.”
FOR THE SERIES…
The win Sunday gave San Jose State two out of three versus La Tech making it the second consecutive WAC series victory. Ricky Acosta tallied four hits in the series and extended a current career-long hitting streak to eight games.
The Spartans’ season-high 17 hits Sunday gave SJSU 32 total in three games against La Tech pitching, which came into the series second in the WAC with a 3.17 staff ERA.
San Jose State hosts Stanford on Tuesday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m. before heading on the road to face UT Arlington next weekend.
San Jose State 12, Louisiana Tech 8 (Apr 07, 2013 at San Jose, Calif.)
Louisiana Tech...... 100 500 200 - 8 15 1 (12-21, 2-7 WAC)
San Jose State...... 002 610 03X - 12 17 0 (11-21, 5-4 WAC)
Pitchers: Louisiana Tech - Petersen, Trevor; Dudley, Caleb(3); Giddens, Luke(5); Alvis, Sam(7)
and Qualls, Tyler. San Jose State - Melero, Johnny; Kafka, Jason(4); Glawe, James(7);
Contrades, Kalei(7) and Lund, Dane.
Win-Kafka, Jason(3-2) Save-Contrades, Kalei(2) Loss-Dudley, Caleb(0-4) T-2:52 A-364
HR LATECH - Ervine, Tyler (3); Alvis, Sam (4).
HR SJSU - Schulz, Nick (2); Gerlach, Michael (1).
Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees
Kafka faced 3 batters in the 7th.
Glawe faced 2 batters in the 7th.