Spartans Claim Seesaw Affair With Late Runs|
May 18, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV baseball team suffered a 7-4 loss to the San Jose State Spartans in the opener of their Mountain West series at Earl E. Wilson Stadium Thursday night. The Rebels and Spartans played a seesaw affair that saw the two squads exchange the lead four times in a span of four innings, the last of which occurred in a three-run eighth by the visitors from the Bay Area.
The Scarlet & Gray was paced by Cooper Esmay smashed a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh inning, and also provided two RBI and two runs. Bryson Stott and Ernie De La Trinidad were also credited with one RBI apiece, while the latter and Keyon Allen also scored once.
Shane Timmons, on the other hand, factored in six of SJSU’s seven runs with the assistance of three extra-base hits, four RBI and two runs scored. Timmons gave SJSU an early 1-0 lead with an RBI triple in the first inning. He managed to tie the game with an RBI double in the sixth, while his two-run triple in the eight proved to be the game-winning hit.
“I was very disappointed we didn’t play with more fight and grit,” said head coach Stan Stolte. “We had a chance to steal one and couldn’t get it done by only getting four hits. We didn’t make pitches, we didn’t make plays, and we didn’t take good at-bats with the game on the line; they had a couple guys who did. Timmons is a gamer and we were forced to pitch to him and he made us pay.”
The Spartans’ 1-0 lead stood until the bottom of the fourth when Stott drew UNLV even with a one-out RBI single to second base. De La Trinidad and Justin Jones led off with back-to-back walks issued by SJSU starter Matt Brown. Stott’s game-tying hit came moments after both runners moved into scoring position after Cody Howard’s sacrifice bunt.
UNLV took its first lead in the fifth off an RBI single by De La Trinidad that brought Esmay home from third base. Esmay led off with a walk and moved 90 feet at a time with help of a wild pitch and a groundout.
SJSU answered back in the sixth with Timmons’ run-scoring double and an RBI single by Joe Stefanki, both of which came off UNLV starter Alan Strong.
Esmay turned things around in the seventh with his homer off SJSU reliever Zach Wallace (3-0) that cleared the fence in left field. Keyon Allen scored on the round tripper just four pitches after he was inserted as a pinch runner for Vince Taormina, who had reached via one-out walk.
The Spartans regained the lead in the eighth with Timmons’ two-run triple and a sacrifice fly from Kellen Strahm, both of which came off UNLV reliever Blaze Bohall (2-5).
SJSU tacked on an insurance run in the ninth when it got a two-out, RBI single from Corey Olivet.
Wallace picked up the win for the Spartans after he threw 2.0 innings of relief. He allowed two runs off of one hit, and also struck out two against two walks. His teammate, Josh Goldberg, earned a save in relief after he tossed two scoreless frames despite walking two and striking out one.
Bohall was saddled with the loss after he gave up three runs off three hits in 1.1 innings of relief.
Strong went 7.0 innings in his start, but took a no-decision. In all, he struck out five, but allowed four runs off of seven hits and one walk.
The Rebels and Spartans return to Wilson Stadium Friday at 6:05 pm for an evening billed as “Fan Appreciation Night,” which will feature many giveaways and raffles as well as free UNLV Baseball hats for the first 250 fans courtesy of Colliers International and $1 beer for the first 600 pours compliments of Miller-Coors and the UNLV Baseball Club.
Saturday’s series finale is also “Senior Day,” and the program will recognize its four seniors – Esmay, Howard, Jones and Corey Pool – prior to the 2:05 pm first pitch.