Contrades' Gem Lifts Spartans To 2-0 Win Over Air Force

Kalei Contrades has gone at least 5.0 innings in all four of his starts this season.
March 6, 2015

Final Stats


 

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San José State baseball team rode the right arm of senior Kalei Contrades to a 2-0 victory in the series opener over Air Force on Friday night at Municipal Stadium.

The win was San José State's first Mountain West victory of the season. The Spartans now sit at 5-8 overall and 1-3 in conference play, while Air Force falls to 3-8 on the year and matches the Spartans' 1-3 Mountain West record.

Contrades (1-2) tossed 8.0 innings of shutout ball and allowed just four hits en route to his first victory of the season. With Contrades over the 100-pitch mark, Turtle Kuhaulua came on in the ninth and retired the Falcons in order for his third save of the season.

Friday's game lasted just 1 hour, 51 minutes; San José State's shortest game of the year.

"Keeping my tempo was a big key to my game," Contrades said. "I tried to let my defense work behind me and make the opposing team put the ball in play, and that's what they did tonight."

The Ewa Beach, Hawaii, native tossed his first scoreless outing of the season, matching his season high of 8.0 innings and season low of four hits allowed.

"He's pitched well against them. I think he's a good matchup for them because he's very aggressive, he spots his fastball up pretty good and they kind of get themselves out," said head coach Dave Nakama. "So, I think that was a good matchup for Kalei. He threw a lot of strikes, got ahead, hit his spots and limited his pitches, so he did a good job."

The Spartans' offense banged out 10 hits off reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Week Griffin Jax, who matched Contrades' 8.0 innings but gave up a pair of runs (one earned).

Andre Mercurio recorded a three-hit performance for the second straight game, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. The senior now has six hits in his last nine at-bats.

Dillan Smith chipped in with his second consecutive two-hit game and drove in both San José State runs on the night, while Chris Williams added a pair of singles, marking his first multi-hit game as a Spartan.

San José State got on the board in the fifth inning by capitalizing on the first of two Falcon errors. After Tyler Olivet reached on a bunt that was mishandled by the Air Force catcher, Mercurio swatted the first of his two doubles in the left center gap and Smith brought Olivet home with a single through the left side.

The same trio produced another run in the bottom of the seventh, when Olivet singled through the right side, moved to third on a Mercurio double to right and scored on Smith's safety squeeze.

The 2-0 margin was all Contrades would need, as the right-hander pumped in 72 strikes across the 29 Falcons he faced.

"Our strategy coming in was to get ahead of the hitters, put some pressure on them and let them take hacks," Contrades said. "They put a couple deep, but my defense worked behind me and made some good plays behind me."

One of those good plays came in the top of the sixth, when the Falcons' leadoff hitter and batting average leader, Adam Groesbeck, hit a booming double to the base of the center field wall. With Groesbeck rounding second to try to stretch it into a triple, Mercurio hit his cutoff man, Alec de Watteville, who threw a strike to David Campbell at third to nab Air Force's speedy center fielder in plenty of time.

The Spartans send Matt Brown (1-0, 2.00) to the mound on Saturday to try to wrap up the series victory. The freshman right-hander will make his first career start and match up with Air Force's Steven Trojan (0-0, 2.84) in a 1:00 p.m. game.

San Jose State 2, Air Force 0 (Mar 06, 2015 at San Jose, Calif.)

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Air Force........... 000 000 000 - 0 4 2 (3-8, 1-3)

San Jose State...... 000 010 10X - 2 10 1 (5-8, 1-3)

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Pitchers: Air Force - JAX, Griffin and WILKIE, Travis. San Jose State - Contrades, Kalei;

KUHAULUA, Turtle(9) and Veasey, Jack; Stefanki, Joe.

Win-CONTRADES, Kalei(1-2) Save-KUHAULUA, Turtle(3) Loss-JAX, Griffin(0-3) T-1:51 A-355

Weather: 64 degrees, clear skies