Baseball Dropped In The Ninth 3-2

Sacramento, Calif. – For the second day in a row the Western Athletic Conference contest between San Jose State and Sacramento State was decided in the ninth inning at John Smith Field.

In the bottom of the ninth with runners on second and third, a 3-2 pitch in the dirt from Spartan reliever Kalei Contrades (1-3) shot to the backstop and allowed Hornets center fielder David Del Grande to swipe home for the game-winning run. 

SJSU catcher Dane Lund tried to make a play at the plate with a sliding throw to Contrades but Del Grande was too quick, giving Sac State the 3-2 victory. The play was scored as a wild pitch.

The ninth-inning loss spoiled a fantastic effort by Spartan starter D.J. Slaton (3-7). Matching his career-high eight innings, Slaton allowed a two-run homer in the first and then zeros on the board the rest of the way.

At one point Slaton had retired 10 consecutive batters between the fourth and seventh innings. He finished allowing three runs on nine hits with one strikeout and one walk.

“I thought Slaton pitched really well today,” said San Jose State head coach Dave Nakama. “He did a great job throwing strikes. His performance was good enough for us to win, but we just couldn’t hit.”

Sacramento State (32-20, 14-10 wac) starter Tanner Mendonca (2-4) matched Slaton’s eight innings and allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five. Brandon Creel (8-3) pitched the ninth for Sac State and picked up the win throwing just eight pitches.

Jacob Valdez had three of San Jose State’s six hits and scored both SJSU (15-36, 9-15 wac) runs. After Chris Lewis (4) hit a two-run bomb in the first, Sheldon Daquioag knocked in Valdez with a fielder’s choice in the second. In the seventh, Valdez left off with the fifth triple of his career and second of the season. Two pitches later he scored on Nick Schulz’s single to center that tied the game 2-2.

“We didn’t hit well with men on base and they did,” Nakama said. “You have to give them credit. It’s just too bad to let that good pitching performance go.”

Contrades came into the game after Slaton gave up a leadoff hit to Del Grande. The next batter Scotty Burcham roped a double that put Del Grande at third to set up the game-winning play.

With a Seattle U loss to CSU Bakersfield on Sunday, San Jose State remains in eighth place in the WAC, half a game ahead of the Redhawks with three games to go. San Jose State hosts first-place CSU Bakersfield next weekend in the final conference series of the year. Seattle U plays host to New Mexico State.

Sacramento State 3, San Jose State 2 (May 12, 2013 at Sacramento, Calif.)
San Jose State...... 010 000 100  -  2  6  0      (15-36, 9-15 WAC)
Sacramento State.... 200 000 001  -  3 11  0      (32-20, 14-10 WAC)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Slaton, D.J.; Contrades, Kalei(9) and Lund, Dane. Sacramento State -
Mendonca, T.; Creel, B.(9) and Fujinaka, D..
Win-Creel, B.(8-3)  Loss-Slaton, D.J.(3-7)  T-1:58  A-297
HR SAC - Lewis, C. (4).
Weather: 88, Clear
Slaton faced 1 batter in the 9th.
Contrades faced 2 batters in the 9th.