By Sergio Valencia:
Spartans overcome a horrific 5th inning to beat UNLV Rebels 6-5 in their home opener.
With the win the San Jose State improves its record to 4-4 and 1-0 in the Mountain West.
SJSU showed great resiliency throughout the game. Something they have become accustomed to as this was the third time they have won a one run game.
“Teams that win one run games are teams who have character, and don’t give up and continue to fight and punch back.” said head coach Jason Hawkins.
This was also the Spartans first chance to play at home in front of a their crowd after last weeks games were moved to Stockton, due to the flooding San Jose experienced.
“It’s nice to be back on this beautiful field and get in front of some home fans,” said shortstop Aaron Pleschner.
After taking an early lead by scoring in the third inning thanks to catcher Joseph Stefanki and outfielder Corey Olivet, in the fourth, the Spartans appeared to have all the momentum.
But after a dreadful fifth inning which saw two errors by the Spartans defense and a home run by UNLV first baseman Nick Ames, SJSU found themselves down by three.
Headed into the seventh inning, coach Hawkins turned to right handed pitcher Cameron Keup to close out the Rebels.
“It was a hell of a game to go into,” Keup said.
Keup would pitch two innings without allowing any hits or runs.
Spartans began to heat up in the seventh inning scoring four to take the lead over the Rebels. Wild pitches by UNLV pitchers and an error by the catcher gave Spartans two easy runs.
Pleschner hit the game winning single that brought in two runs, then scored after a wild throw by the pitcher.
“I was just focused on trying to get those winning runs across,” Pleschner said.
The bullpen proved to be the biggest difference between the two teams, as the Spartan only had to use two pitcher in relief and neither yielded a run. While the Rebels were forced to use four different arms, making three of the switches during the seventh inning.
“Our bullpen is pretty strong right now,” Hawkins said. “I think they’re trying to figure theirs out.”
Spartans used this to their advantage and took game 1 of the series against the Rebels.
Game 2 is today at Municipal Stadium, first pitch is at 2 p.m.