San Jose, Calif. - Behind a career pitching performance from senior John Haberman (3-0), the Pacific baseball team dominated their first true road game of the season with a 5-1 victory over San Jose State on Thursday, Mar. 6. The win kicked off the Jack Gifford Memorial tournament in the Bay Area and pushed Pacific back over .500 at 8-7 on the year.
On a clear, chilly night at Municipal Stadium in San Jose, Calif., the senior lefty left nothing to doubt as to who was the better team in the second meeting of the season between the Tigers and the Spartans as he dominated the night from start to finish. Using an array of fastballs and backdoor breaking balls, Haberman kept the Spartans off balance for nine solid innings as the fourth-year starter pitched his first career complete game to earn his third victory of the season.
After walking the first hitter he faced on the night, Haberman settled into an unshakable groove on the hill for the Tigers to run through the Spartan hitters one after the other. For the entire night, the senior was unhittable as he took a no-no into the eighth inning having faced just two batters over the minimum through seven innings. In the eighth, Haberman would relinquish his one and only hit of the night, a leadoff home run that broke up both his no-hit bid and his shutout. However, unfazed, Haberman promptly struck out the next two he faced before finishing off the Spartans in the ninth to go the distance for the first time since Cory Popham threw a complete game shutout over UNLV on Feb. 22, 2013.
Overall, Haberman gave up just the one hit and one run while walking two and striking out a season-best eight Spartans.
With Haberman dealing on the bump, the Tigers offense rose to the occasion in support of their senior to score five runs on nine hits. Pacific took the pressure off its pitcher early as the Tigers scored three runs in the second inning to post their first crooked number in two games against the Spartans. In the inning the Tigers got a big RBI double out of senior Riley Drongesen who drove in junior Taylor Murphy from second with one out. Murphy had walked to start the inning and moved to second on a chopped ground ball to third.
With one run across, the Tigers essentially put the game out of reach with two more in the inning when sophomore J.J. Wagner delivered what would be the game-winning two-RBI single up the middle with the base loaded. The hit was Wagner's first of the game as he would finish with a pair including a one-out triple in the fifth that set up the fourth score of the game. After tripling, Wagner trotted home on a double into the gap by sophomore Brett Sullivan who stayed scorching hot with a 3-for-4 effort in the game.
The Tigers tacked on a final insurance run in the top of the sixth when Drongesen brought home Murphy for the second time. After Murphy doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a bunt, Drongesen blooped a single to shallow left field for his second hit and second RBI. Drongesen finished 2-for-3 at the plate and reached base three times as he was hit by a pitch during his second at bat. Outside of the three standouts, Murphy and senior Curtis Gomez were the only other Tigers to record hits as Sullivan, Wagner and Drongesen accounted for seven of the nine hits on the night.
Michael Wright (0-4) suffered his second-straight loss to the Tigers after falling in the teams' first meeting in Stockton in mid-February. Wright went 6.0 innings while giving up eight hits and five runs while walking two and striking out two.
Pacific is back in the Bay on Friday, March 7 as the Tigers take on former Big West rival UC Davis in their second game of the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament. The two teams face off at Schott stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. with the game scheduled for 7:00 pm.