Spartans Are WAC Tournament Bound After 8-5 Win

San Jose, Calif. – San Jose State regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning with a five-run rally and defeated CSU Bakersfield 8-5 on Sunday in the final regular-season game at Municipal Stadium.

The Spartans (17-38, 11-16 WAC) took two out of three games from the first-place Roadrunners and punched their ticket to the Western Athletic Conference Championship Tournament with Sunday’s win.

“This feels really good,” said San Jose State head coach Dave Nakama. “Our goal was to get into the WAC Tournament and we’ve done it. It was tough with the pressure to win today’s game and the guys got it done.”

SJSU went for five runs on four hits in the eighth inning with a little help from some wild Roadrunners pitching. A walk to Sheldon Daquioag and consecutive hits by Kalei Contrades and Ricky Acosta loaded the bases with one out for pinch-hitter Matt Lopez. Lopez and the next batter Michael Gerlach were both walked and San Jose State took a 5-4 lead.

The Spartans tacked on three more runs with clutch hits by Andre Mercurio and Matt Carroll, and took an 8-4 lead into the top of the ninth.

D.J. Slaton matched a career-high eight innings pitched as San Jose State’s starter. He gave up eight hits and three earned runs while striking out five. He improved to 4-7 with the win.

Richie Johnson started at second base and knocked in the Spartans’ first two runs of the game with a single up the middle. The senior also had a couple solid ranging grabs in the field in his first start at second.

“Richie is a great team player,” Nakama said. “He really stepped up today and did a great job for us.”

Johnson was one of nine seniors honored before the game Sunday. Four-year veteran outfielder Nick Schulz spoke for the group after the win.

“This win is so important to us,” Schulz said. “We want to keep playing as long as we can. We didn’t get out to a good start this year, but we stayed on the grind. Now we’re in the tournament and it’s going to be a fun ride.”

Eighth seeded San Jose State will take on number one seed CSU Bakersfield for the fourth straight time in its opening game at the WAC Tournament at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. The game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday, May 22.

San Jose State 8, CSU Bakersfield 5 (May 19, 2013 at San Jose, Calif.)
CSU Bakersfield..... 100 300 001  -  5 10  1      (35-21, 18-9 WAC)
San Jose State...... 021 000 05X  -  8 10  1      (17-38, 11-16 WAC)
Pitchers: CSU Bakersfield - Jonathan Montoya; Chuck Buchanan(3); James Barragan(8);
Allen Gwynn(8); Hayden Carter(8) and Frank Martinez. San Jose State - Slaton, D.J.;
Contrades, Kalei(9) and Daquioag, Sheldon; Lund, Dane.
Win-Slaton, D.J.(4-7)  Loss-James Barragan(0-2)  T-2:43  A-527
Weather: Sunny, 69 degrees
Gwynn faced 3 batters in the 8th.