San Jose State baseball holds off ninth inning rally and wins series against Nevada

Despite nearly giving up a 7-2 lead in the ninth inning, San Jose State wins two straight in its three-game home series against Nevada.

In baseball, the San Jose State Spartans ended the first inning up 5-0 and held off a ninth inning rally to defeat the visiting Nevada Wolf Pack 7-6 on Saturday at Municipal Stadium. This win marks the second in the three-game series that concludes on Sunday, following Friday night's 12-inning, 6-5 win.

San Jose State starting pitcher Matt Brown got the win and improved to 2-2 on the season. Entering in relief in the ninth inning, Hilario Tovar made his first career save. Nevada starter Mark Nowaczewski got the loss.

“We’re learning to win, as opposed to coming back, and we’re learning how to play ahead,” said San Jose State assistant coach Dean Stites.

Aaron Pleschner led off the bottom of the first inning by reaching on an error by Nevada second baseman Jaylon McLaughlin. Following a Kellen Strahm walk, Shane Timmons singled to score Pleschner and put San Jose State up 1-0. Kyle Morrison had a bases-loaded walk, Chris Williams a single, and Jack Veasey a two-RBI double to extend the lead to 5-0.

Nevada immediately responded in the second inning, as Grant Fennell hit an RBI double all the way to the right field wall, following a Jed Sprague walk.

Brown pitched three consecutive walks to start the sixth inning, and reliever Cameron Keup gave up an RBI single by pinch hitter Keaton Smith before inducing a fly out and double play. San Jose State added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, off a Shane Timmons sac fly with the bases loaded and Stefanki RBI single. San Jose State left the sixth inning up 7-2.

With Josh Goldberg on the mound for San Jose State, Nevada led off the ninth inning with a walk and double. Backup infielder Michael Breen dropped the ball attempting to tag Mike Echavia at third base, costing San Jose State an out as Nevada scored its third run. At second base, Morrison mishandled a grounder as Echavia scored. Strahm misplayed a fly ball at center field and gave up a Fennell single that pulled Nevada within 7-5.

“We look at it as an opportunity to try and teach the kids in a situation like that,” said Lessler. “We want them to want the baseball. We want them to want to be on the mound and make pitches.”

Two runners on base and no outs, Tovar entered in relief of Goldberg and pitched three groundouts, one of which led to a score, to end the game.

“I stuck with the approach…getting the job done, getting the ball over the plate,” said Tovar.

San Jose State improves to 8-9 on the season, including 4-4 in Mountain West Conference games. Nevada drops to 5-14 (2-6 MW). The series concludes 1 p.m. Sunday at Municipal Stadium. A sweep of this series would be San Jose State’s first since Apr. 15, 2012 at Fresno State, during Sam Piraro’s final season as head coach. The last home sweep of three or more games was on May 17, 2009, when San Jose State finished a four-game sweep of Nevada in a Western Athletic Conference matchup.

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