A Three-Run Ninth Gives Spartans Big Win

Sacramento, Calif. – A day after San Jose State managed only five hits against Sacramento State, the team belted out 15 on Saturday, and made an impressive comeback against the league’s best closer for an 8-6 Western Athletic Conference victory at John Smith Field.

Nick Schulz’s two-run double with one out in the top of the ninth proved to be the game-winner, ending the Spartans’ seven-game losing streak. The big hit came after second baseman Jacob Valdez drove one through the left side scoring Matt Carroll who also singled in the inning.

The Spartans (15-35, 9-14 WAC) got the best of Hornets (31-20, 13-10 WAC) closer Sutter McLoughlin who leads the WAC with 16 saves and hadn’t blown a save since March 9 against Cal State Northridge. McLoughlin started off the ninth with a leadoff walk to Michael Gerlach who represented the tying run.

“Hitting with runners on base was the key today,” said San Jose State head coach Dave Nakama. “We started the runners with Schulz up there, hoping he’d get a fast ball and he came through.”

The RBIs in the ninth were Schulz’s second and third of the game. He knocked in a run with a single through the right side as part of a two-run Spartan third inning. Gerlach’s run in the ninth was his third of the game and he had a solid 3-for-4 day at the plate with a walk.

Both teams combined for 25 hits and the closely contested game had five lead changes.

Johnny Melero started for SJSU and allowed three earned runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings. Melero nearly made it through the fourth inning, but a two-out two-strike double to right-center field by Will Soto gave Sac State a 4-3 lead and chased Melero.

Andre Mercurio and Carroll each had an RBI-single in the seventh inning that cut the Hornets’ lead to 6-5.

Kyle Hassna entered the game to start the eighth inning and improved to 3-5 after throwing a hitless final two frames.

“I think the guys realized that we had to win this game today,” Nakama said. “They realized that we’re getting toward the end here and we need to do something about it.”

San Jose State entered the day half-a-game behind eighth-place Seattle U in the WAC standings. The Redhawks played CSU Bakersfield Saturday night. Four WAC games remain after today’s action to decide the top eight teams in that advance to the championship tournament.

The Spartans and Hornets will play for the series tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. PDT at John Smith Field. 

San Jose State 8, Sacramento State 6 (May 11, 2013 at Sacramento, Calif.)
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San Jose State...... 102 000 203  -  8 15  0      (15-35, 9-14 WAC)
Sacramento State.... 200 202 000  -  6 10  1      (31-20, 13-10 WAC)
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Pitchers: San Jose State - Melero, Johnny; Chavez, Daniel(4); Oberholtzer, John(6);
Kafka, Jason(7); Hassna, Kyle(8) and Daquioag, Sheldon; Nelson, Jon; Lund, Dane.
Sacramento State - Nichols, T.; Creel, B.(7); McLoughlin(9) and Fujinaka, D..
Win-Hassna, Kyle(3-5)  Loss-McLoughlin(1-3)  T-2:30  A-309
Weather: 84, Clear