San Jose State is becoming the WAC Kings of Comeback. The Spartans once again rallied from a huge deficit to defeat the Sacramento State Hornets 10-9 in a rain-stunted series in Sacramento. The Spartans split the series with the Hornets, and move to 32-15 on the season, and 8-6 in the WAC.
San Jose State went down quietly in the first, though senior John Shaffer reached on a single, he was tagged out attempting to reach second base.
Sacramento State struck first in their half of the inning as senior Tim Wheeler knocked a Ryan Shopshire pitch over the center field fence. It was Wheeler's 16th homer run of the season.
SJSU responded when freshmen Josh Silver tagged Sac State starter Jesse Darrah for his first home run as a Spartan. Unfortunately for San Jose State it came in the second at-bat of the inning. Juniors Kyle Bellows and Corey Valine both singled to give SJSU two runners on base with one out. However, the Spartans were unable to get either across home plate as freshman Anthony Bona popped out, and senior Anthony Agiuilera grounded out to short.
In the bottom of the second inning, Sacramento State again erupted for six runs in an inning for the second-straight game. After senior Jeff Roth flied out to right, sophomore Derrick Chung hit his second home run in as many days to put the Hornets up 2-1. Freshman Aaron Crouch went down swinging for the second out, then the Hornet bats came alive. Freshman Justin Lamb singled to left, freshman Ivan Otsuka singled to right, then senior Hunter Martinez ripped a shot to right-center for a triple, driving in Lamb and Otsuka. Martinez scored on a double by junior Josh Powers. Wheeler then knocked his second-straight center field home run to put the Hornets up 7-1.
Neither team put a runner across home plate until SJSU put two on the board in the top of the sixth. Bellows singled up the middle, and Valine brought him home with his third homer of the year. Senior Nick Buchta came in to relieve Darrah and proceeded to put down the next three Spartans in order to end the threat.
Sac State got those runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Otsuka tripled off of freshman Craig Broussard, who had come into the game in relief of Shopshire at the start of the third inning. After Broussard walked Martinez, senior Anthony Vega came in to relieve the freshman. Powers immediately knocked a single into center, scoring Otsuka and sending Martinez to third. Wheeler put his third hit of the game into left field, scoring Martinez. Sac State got the bases loaded but couldn't score again in the inning as Crouch grounded out to second. At the end of six Sac State held a commanding 9-3 lead.
San Jose State chipped into the Hornet lead with two runs on the eighth. With Valine on second and sophomore Breyon Canez on first, junior Karson Klauer pinch-hit for Aguilera and singled to left, scoring Valine and putting Canez on third. Sophomore Craigh Hertler scored Canez on a sacrifice fly to left.
Steve Connolly, who entered the game in the seventh in relief of Vega, was able to get out of the bottom of the eighth without allowing a Hornet run.
The Spartans took control in the top of the ninth. Jason Martin opened the inning by walking, moving to second when senior Jacob Bruns singled to center field. Sac State senior Jeff Roth came on in relief of Buchta and struck out Silver. SJSU loaded the bases when Bellows singled to center. Martin scored on a wild pitch, and Bruns scored on a Valine single to short. Freshman Michael Reiling came in to run for Valine. Reiling seems to be a good-luck charm for the Spartans as he has been the tying or winning run in several of the recent Spartan games.
All purpose player Tyler Heil pinch-hit for Canez and doubled down the left field line, scoring Bellows and advancing Reiling to third. Sophomore Bryson Rahier singled to left to score Reiling - tying the score at nine. Freshman Alex Taku came in to relieve Roth and got Hertler to pop up to third for the second out of the inning. Freshman Brent Harrison then entered the game in relief of Taku and promptly gave up an RBI single to Shaffer, scoring Heil and putting the Spartans ahead 10-9 - their first lead of the day.
Junior Brian Filice came on to pitch to Martin. With runners on first and second and two out, the SJSU sophomore grounded out to third to end the Spartan barrage.
Senior Jack Adams came on in the bottom of the ninth to face the No. 8 and 9 batters in the Hornet lineup. Reiling stayed in to play third base, and sophomore Danny Stienstra came in to play first.
Adams got Lamb to strike out swinging in three pitches. He then mowed down Otsuka on a 1-2 pitch. Martinez reached first on an error by second baseman Craig Hertler, and the Hornets brought the winning run to the plate in the form of Josh Powers. Adams got Powers to hit a grounder to Reiling at third, who got the force at second to preserve the San Jose State win!
SJSU will face Stanford on Tuesday in Palo Alto.
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