Dominating early in the Spartans’ season finale, San Diego State scored five runs in the first two innings and held San Jose State to two hits in a five-inning, 6-0 shutout at Municipal Stadium on a cold, rainy Saturday.
Prior to the first pitch, the team had a ceremony honoring five active seniors: second baseman Ozzy Braff, pitcher Jonathan Hernandez, left fielder Tyler Olivet, right fielder Mitch Ravizza, and center fielder Dillan Smith. Another senior, pitcher Ross Slaney, did not participate in the pregame ceremony.
For the Aztecs, Justin Wylie led off with a left field single on an 0-2 count in the first inning. The Spartans then got two outs, off a fielder’s choice of a bunt by Andrew Brown, then a fly out by Alan Trejo. However, Tyler Adkison got on base with another left field single. The Spartans' starting pitcher Hernandez, having built a 1-2 count on Spencer Thornton, hit Thornton in the neck with a pitch to load the bases. Hernandez then walked David Hensley in four pitches, allowing Brown to score. The inning ended with a pop out by Dean Nevarez.
San Jose State had nothing to show in the bottom of the first inning. Aaron Pleschner struck out in three pitches, then Tyler Olivet struck out in four pitches. Brendt Citta flew out to left to make this a 1-2-3 inning.
In the second inning, San Diego State struck right back. CJ Saylor led off with a stand-up double that flew past the reach of Breen at third base all the way to the wall. Saylor and later advanced to third off a sacrifice bunt by Denz’l Chapman. With the ball dropping in front of Olivet, Wylie hit another single to score Saylor for a 2-0 lead. The Aztec offensive assault continued with RBI singles by Trejo and Thornton in the center field gap that stretched the San Diego State lead to 5-0. This ended Hernandez’s day at the mound. In relief, Josh Goldberg gave up a single before pitching for the final out.
In the next three innings, San Jose State only reached base twice. Braff doubled to left center in the bottom of the second for the Spartans’ first hit. After a 1-2-3 third inning, Shane Timmons was walked in the fourth. That was after San Diego State extended its lead to 6-0 following a sacrifice bunt by Hensley that scored Trejo from third base.
In the first play of the fourth inning, Goldberg fielded a bunt by Trejo but slipped before he could throw to first, so Trejo was safe at first. The grounds crew came out during that inning to clean out puddles.
Zach Wallace was subbed in at the top of the fifth and lasted just two off-target pitches in relief, before meeting with a trainer and leaving with an apparent injury. This put sophomore Eric Anderson on the mound for the rest of the game, and Anderson pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning. San Jose State put two on base in the bottom of the fifth, after a Michael Breen single and error by Hensley allowing Cal Koga to reach first. No rally could happen, because Smith struck out swinging, and Pleschner grounded out. The umpire stopped play after the fifth inning, as inclement weather continued at this point.
Giving up six hits and five earned runs in 1.2 innings of action, Hernandez (1-3) took the loss for San Jose State. No San Jose State pitcher had a strikeout. For San Diego State, starter Mike Diamond (1-2) got the win, with one hit and two strikeouts in two innings. Relievers Marcus Reyes and Cody Thompson, who each had one inning of work, allowed no hits.
San Diego State won this series, having won 5-0 on Thursday and losing 2-1 on Friday. San Jose State finishes the regular season 17-38 (7-23 Mountain West) and in last place in the Mountain West for the third consecutive season. The two teams will meet again on Wednesday in the first round of the MW tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.
Since 2013, Dave Nakama’s first season as head coach, San Jose State baseball has been 66-161, including a 23-67 record in MW play since the team’s first MW season in 2014.
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