SACRAMENTO, Calif. — San Jose State scored three runs in the ninth inning to claim an 8-6 victory over Sacramento State on Saturday at John Smith Field. The Spartans' victory evened the three game series with the rubber game coming on Sunday at noon.
After the Hornets built a 6-3 lead with a pair of runs in the sixth, SJSU pulled within one with two runs in the top of the seventh. Ricky Acosta started the inning by lining a single off the heel of the glove of reliever Brandon Creel for a single. A comebacker forced Acosta at second before Michael Gerlach singled to right placing runners on the corners. Back-to-back singles from Andre Mercurio and Matt Carroll drove in a run. Creel ended any further damage by forcing a shallow fly out and getting a called third strike.
Creel threw a scoreless eighth before being replaced by Sutter McLoughlin in the ninth. McLoughlin started his outing by walking Gerlach on a 3-2 pitch before a sacrifice took him to second. Carroll singled to left field to move Gerlach to third and Jacob Valdez dropped a ball just in front of a diving David Del Grande in center to tie the game. Nick Schulz returned the lead to San Jose State for the first time since the third inning with a double off the left field wall to clear the bases.
Kyle Hassna (3-5), who entered in the eighth, set the Hornets down in order in the bottom of the ninth to earn the win. The loss marked McLoughlin's first blown save since March 9 and snapped his streak at 14 consecutive save conversions.
Despite giving up a run in the first inning, the Hornets took their first lead with two runs during their first at bat. Three singles loaded the bases for Andrew Ayers who hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Kyle Moses. Will Soto drove in the second run with a single to left.
The Spartans regained the lead, 3-2, with two runs on four hits in the third. Sacramento State moved back ahead with two runs in the fourth and extended its lead with two more in the sixth. In the fourth, Nathan Lukes doubled to right center to sore Del Grande and Moses. Two innings later, Dane Fujinaka scored on Chris Lewis' sac fly and Ayers singled to left to plate Moses.
Ty Nichols pitched six innings for the Hornets, where he was touched for three runs and seven hits. Spartan starter Johnny Melero lasted just 3.2 innings giving up eight hits and four runs (three earned).
Moses and Lukes each had two hits to lead the Sacramento State offense. Eight of the nine players in the lineup had a hit on the day. SJSU had 15 hits led by three from Gerlach and Valdez.