The SJSU baseball team defeated Louisiana Tech 12-8 in an offensive shootout in the final game of a three-game series Sunday at Municipal Stadium.
With a combined 32 hits between the two teams, it was a rough day on the mound for pitchers.
SJSU head coach Dave Nakama said both teams were running out of pitching.
“I think that happens on Sunday, everybody runs out of pitching," he said. "They brought in their center fielder to try to finish the game. We were lucky we had Kalei (Contrades) to finish that game. I think we had the edge in pitching there in the end.”
Despite having the edge, Nakama said the Spartans really struggled on the mound.
“We got a 2-1 lead and then we can’t put a zero up (on defense), we gave up five runs that inning,” he said. “That can take a lot of wind out of your sails. But I give our guys credit, they came back and they score six to take the lead.”
The Spartans took to the field in the top of the fourth leading 2-1, before allowing two home runs, followed up by a two-out double that scored two more for the Bulldogs, giving Louisiana Tech a 5-2 advantage.
After a pitching change, the Bulldogs scored another run and the Spartans finished the top half of the inning trailing 6-2.
After two outs to start the inning, San Jose scored six runs before the Bulldogs were able to get the final out.
A two-out RBI double, followed up by two RBI singles and then a three-run home run by infielder Michael Gerlach gave the Spartans an 8-6 lead.
The home run to take the lead was Gerlach’s first as a Spartan.
“It was actually kind of funny, the first pitch was a slider and something flew in my eye so I had to call a time out and tell the umpire,” he said. “Then he tried to challenge me with an inside fastball and I just recognized it early.”
Gerlach said the homerun was just him doing his part.
“We all just rally as a team," he said. "Once the team gets going all the momentum is on your side, you just build off it. Everybody wants to contribute. You don’t want to be the one guy who isn’t contributing.”
The Spartans continued to make contact at the plate, putting up another run to make it a 9-6 ball game going into the seventh inning.
The Bulldogs scored two runs with no outs to start the inning, and loaded up the bases before Contrades was brought in to pitch.
Contrades retired the side without allowing a run to preserve the lead.
Nakama said they were trying to get to the eighth inning before having to bring in Contrades.
“It was bases loaded with nobody out, we had a one run lead in that inning and he gets a pop-up and a double play,” Nakama said. “I was told he only threw five pitches, and he got three outs. That was big I think, to maintain that lead when they had the bases loaded with nobody out. That was big for us, because if we got down, that’s tough to answer back again.”
The Spartans got another three run homerun in the bottom of the inning to extend their lead to four runs, 12-8.
The Spartans scored nine two-out runs on the day, and Nakama said the team has done a good job all year scoring with two outs.
“We call it the tough ones, we work on it, and really it’s just a mind set,” he said. “They’ve kind of taken it and carried it, and take pride in it, and that’s what it is. Give them credit. Our hitters did a good job and kept us in the game today.”
Although Nakama was pleased with the offensive output, he said the team needs to do a better job on the mound with a majority of their remaining games being in the Western Athletic Conference.
“It comes down to pitching, because you’re not going to hit the ball all the time, it just doesn’t work that way in baseball,” he said. “We just got to do a better job on the mound and stay away from the big innings. The walks really get us in trouble, and that’s the thing we got to do a better job with.”