Stockton, Calif. – Six shutout innings from sophomore right-hander Michael Benson and three extra base hits propelled the Pacific baseball team to its first victory of the 2013 season over San Jose State. Benson pitched out of two bases loaded jams and Dustin Torchio connected with the Tigers first homerun of the season en route to an 8-1 victory at Klein Family Field on Sunday, February 17.
The victory improves Pacific to 1-2 overall this season, while the loss drops the Spartans to 2-1. Benson collected the victory for Pacific, while D.J. Slaton was strapped with the loss.
Defensively, the Tigers played an errorless game, which included a pair of diving plays from Tyler Sullivan in center and Taasaas catching three Spartan runners stealing.
The Spartans threatened to strike first in the top half of the fourth with bases loaded and nobody out. However, Benson got San Jose State's Matt Carroll to ground into the routine 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. To that point in the series Carroll was 3-3 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored.
With momentum on their side, Torchio was due to lead off the bottom half of the inning. After battling a few pitches, the lefty from Santa Cruz lifted an inside fastball down the right field line just over the 320 sign, giving Pacific the 1-0 lead.
Then, after Benson shutdown the Spartans, Pacific threatened again with runners on the corners. With Taasaas on third and Louis Mejia was at first after beating out an infield single, Torchio again boosted the Tigers with a double down the right field line to plate Taasaas, extending the lead to 2-0.
Benson shutdown another Spartan jam in the top of the sixth with two outs and the bases full, he got Matt Lopez to pop out to Torchio at shortstop.
The Pacific sixth broke open the ballgame with the Tigers tacking on to their lead making it 5-0. Gio Brusa recorded his first collegiate hit with a single up the middle to start the bottom half. Then, Pederson stepped to the plate and launched a ball off the right field fence for a triple. Taasaas then sent a shot up the middle scoring Pederson easily. After a wild pitch and a J.J. Wagner flyout, Taasaas stood. Then, Tyler Sullivan ripped a bullet back at the Spartans' pitcher to score Taasaas.
Michael Hager relieved Benson to start the seventh, throwing two innings, allowing one hit and one earned run.
The Orange and Black really put the game out of reach with a three-run eighth. Singles by Pederson and Wagner, a pair of errors by San Jose State and a sacrifice fly from Robbie Mansfield contributed to the big inning.
Bryce Lombardi finished out the Tigers solid pitching effort with a scoreless ninth.
Up next for the Tigers is pair of games with UNLV and Gonzaga at Klein Family Field. The games will begin on February 21 and run through the 24th.