SJSU Ends the Season in Sweeping Style

The San Jose State bats were almost a hot as the temperature Sunday at Municipal Stadium as the Spartans scored nine runs on 13 hits to defeat the Nevada Wolfpack 9-3. The two teams will meet again on Thursday in the first round of the Napa Auto Parts Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

Not content with simply winning the Western Athletic Conference regular season championship, the San Jose State baseball team came out to play on Sunday, and smashed the Nevada Wolfpack 9-3 to sweep the weekend series 4-0, and improve to 39-18 overall and 15-7 in the WAC.

"If we lost today then we'd open up with Hawaii, which is the host team, in front of 5000 people," SJSU head coach Sam Piraro said after the game. "Or, we play a team we beat four time and we play them a fifth time."

The Nevada half of the first inning was a game of pepper between SJSU starting pitcher Luke Mazzanti, the Nevada batters, and Spartan shortstop Kyle Bellows. All three Wolfpack hitters grounded out to Bellows at short, in order.

San Jose State wasted no time getting on the board in their first at-bat when sophomore Jason Martin led off with a single to left field. He advanced to second base on a balk when Nevada junior starting pitcher Jesse Rasner dropped the ball while standing on the pitching rubber.

After senior John Shaffer flew out to left, Bellows singled to left, scoring Martin. Bellows advanced to second on the throw home. Then junior Corey Valine brought Bellows home with a single up the middle. Sophomore Danny Steinstra single to place runners on first and second, but senior Jacob Bruns grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Mazzanti once again sent the Wolfpack down in order in the top of the second on two fly balls and a grounder to second.

San Jose State struck again in the bottom of the second. Junior Karson Klauer led off with a walk, and scored from first when senior Anthony Aguilera doubled to left. Nevada head coach Gary Powers replaced Rasner with junior Beau Witsoe, who kept the Spartans away from home. Senior Michael Drake grounded out, Martin walked, and Shaffer hit into a double play.

Once again Mazzanti rolled the Wolfpack in order in the third. A line drive, strikeout, and ground out did the job.

San Jose State scored for the third time in as many innings when Bellows led off by being hit in the wrist by a Witsoe fastball. It was scary for a moment as Bellows and the trainers made sure he was ok. As if to show he wasn't fazed by the beaning, Bellows promptly stole second, then went to third when Wolfpack freshman second baseman Joe Kohan booted a grounder by Valine. Bellows then scored on a fielder's choice by Steinstra.

Nevada finally put a runner on base with two outs in the fourth, and ended Mazzanti's perfect game, when junior Shaun Kort walked. The no-hitter disappeared when senior Tyson Jaquez to left. Freshman Nick Melino loaded the bases with another single through the left side. The Wolfpack threat ended when Melino was forced out at second on a grounder by junior Brett Hart.

Witsoe finally ended the SJSU scoring streak when he sent down the Spartans in order in the bottom of the fourth.

The Nevada fifth was quiet except for a two-out single by junior Kevin Rodland. He was stranded when senior Matt Bowmen flied out to left field.

SJSU resumed their scoring ways in the bottom of the fifth when Shaffer led off by being hit by a Witsoe pitch, and Bellows walked. Valine attempted to sacrifice both runners ahead a base, but hit bunt went right back to Witsoe, who threw to third to get the force on Shaffer. After a passed ball advance Bellows and Valine to third and second, respectively, Witsoe's day ended when he walked Steinstra on four-straight pitches. Freshman Jacob Anderson was called to relieve Witsoe, and promptly walked pinch-hitter Tyler Heil, bringing home Bellows. Klauer followed with a shot to the gap in right-center, which brought home Steinstra and Valine. Heil was thrown out at the plate. Aguilera grounded to short to end the SJSU inning with the Spartans ahead 7-0.

The Wolfpack put two runners on base in the sixth when junior Westely Moss walked and Kort singled to left-center. Moss went to third on a sacrifice fly by Jaquez, but that's as far as he got. Melino fouled out to Valine at third, and Hart grounded out the Klauer at second.

The Spartans made it 8-0 in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Michael Drake led off with a double to left-center. He went to third when Martin grounded to Kohan at second, who had trouble gathering the ball, also allowing Martin to get safely to first. Drake scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Shaffer. After Bellows doubled down the left field line and Valine walked, Freshman Jayson McClaren came in for Anderson, and got Steinstra to strike out swinging. Then Heil, now the designated hitter, hit a grounder to short that forced Valine at second.

Freshman Estaban Guzman came in to pitch for the Spartans in the top of the seventh and put the Wolfpack down in order.

SJSU threatened to end the game early via the 10-run mercy rule, and with the heat soaring many would not have complained. Klauer led off with a single, followed by a walk to Aguilera and a single by Drake that scored Klauer. After Martin struck out Shaffer singled through the left side and the bases were loaded with one out. One more run would end the game, but it was not to be. Bellows and Valine kept the game going with consecutive infield pop ups.

Nevada once again went down quietly in the eighth in order.

The Spartans threatened once again to end the game early when Steinstra singled to left-center to open the bottom of the eighth. He was forced at second on a grounder by sophomore Craig Hertler, who was pinch-hitting for Heil. Klauer put runners on first and second with a single to left, but that's as far as it got. Aguilera lined out to third, and Drake grounded to short, forcing Klauer at second.

The Nevada bats finally woke up in the top of the ninth, but they only prolonged the angony of those who bared the heat and stayed. Senior Trevor Gibson came in to pitch the inning and immediately gave up a single to Jaquez. That was followed by another single by Melino. Jaquez went from first to third, and scored on the third consecutive Wolfpack single, this time by sophomore Waylen Sing Chow. Brock Stassi pinch-hit for Kohan and struck out looking. Freshman Michael Turay flied out to left. Melino then scored on a single up the middle by Kevin Rodland. Bowman then singled to right-center, scoring Sing Chow. However, that's as much as the Wolfpack would get Leid grounded to short, which forced Bowman at second to end the game.

With the win, Mazzanti evened his record at 2-2. Wolfpack starter Rasner went to 0-2.

The two teams pack up and fly to Hawai'i to meet again on Thursday in the Napa Auto Parts WAC Tournament in Honolulu. Game time is set for 11:00 a.m. local time.



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