Feb. 16, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE HOSTS SAN FRANCISCO IN HOME OPENER
San José State baseball opens its 2015 home slate when the San Francisco Dons of the West Coast Conference visit Municipal Stadium on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is the only one of the season between the Spartans and Dons and marks the first time since the 1998 season that the schools have met just once. In 2014, San Francisco took two of three from San José State, including a 7-2 victory over the Spartans in the lone game at Municipal Stadium. The Spartans lead the all-time series 95-62-1.
San Francisco (0-4, 0-0 WCC at San José State (0-3, 0-0 MW)
Tues. • Feb. 17, 2015 • 6:00 p.m.
Pitching Matchup: RHP Daniel Harris (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Sheldon Lee (0-1, 99.00)
Live Video: www.sjsuspartans.com/videos
Live Stats: Via Gametracker & Statbroadcast
Radio: Spartan Digital Network
Justin Allegri (Play-by-play)
Alex Scott (Color)
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans
All-Time Series: San José State leads, 95-62-1
SPARTANS SWEPT BY LMU ON OPENING WEEKEND
San José State opened the season with a tough weekend in Los Angeles, as the Lions completed a sweep of the Spartans with 5-2, 3-1 and 16-4 victories. The Spartans couldn't get anything going against LMU starting pitchers Colin Welmon, Trevor Megill, Tylor Megill and the rest of the Lions' bullpen, who held them to just a .185 clip at the plate.
NORTHERN COLORADO ON DECK
The Spartans host their first series of the year when Northern Colorado comes to town Feb. 20-22. The Spartans and Bears will play a double dip on Saturday, Feb. 21, with the first game starting at 1:00 p.m. and the second at 4:00 p.m.
San José State and San Francisco have met multiple times every season since 1999, though they only meet once in 2015. Last season, the Spartans dropped a 7-2 contest at Municipal Stadium before defeating the Dons 4-3 at Benedetti Diamond. In that game, Kalei Contrades and Brett Bautista combined to go 5-for-8 and scored all four runs. The Spartans visited San Francisco again almost one month later and fell 6-3. Under Dave Nakama, San José State is 1-5 against San Francisco, including an 0-2 mark at Municipal Stadium.
The Dons, led by 17th-year head coach Nino Giarratano, sit at 0-4 after being swept in a four-game set by No. 12/5 Texas Tech over the weekend. The San Francisco offense was firing on all cylinders in Lubbock, Texas, as USF posted a .308 batting average and scored 25 runs with 11 doubles and three home runs. Zack McCoy, a senior transfer from the University of Portland, led the Dons with a .556 (5-9) batting average over the weekend, while sophomore UCLA transfer Dominic Miroglio hit at a .538 (7-13) clip with five RBIs. Manny Ramirez, Jr., son of former MLB star Manny Ramirez, is a sophomore transfer from Central Arizona College and could see action as the designated hitter.
PAIR OF DONS RECEIVE PRESEASON RECOGNITION
After a 2014 season in which he was second on the team in slugging at .493, infielder Brendan Hendricks was named to Baseball America's Top 100 Seniors list, where he checked in at No. 91. Senior outfielder Derek Atkinson was named a Preseason All-West Coast Conference selection after hitting .330 with 44 RBIs for the Dons last year.
NEW FACES ALL AROUND
San José State will field one of the youngest teams in the country in 2015. Two transfer juniors, Ozzy Braff (Whitman College) and Dillan Smith (Palomar Community College), join a 16-man freshman class, 14 of which saw action against LMU. The Spartans' roster features 25 underclassmen and just nine upperclassmen.
CONTRADES EARNS PAIR OF PRESEASON AWARDS
Senior right-hander Kalei Contrades was one of two pitchers to be named to the 2015 Mountain West Preseason All-Conference Team, as voted on by the conference's head coaches, in addition to being selected to the Perfect Game Preseason All-Mountain West team. Contrades is coming off a stellar junior campaign in which he appeared in 17 games, making seven starts, and posted a 5-2 record with a 2.50 ERA in 79.1 innings.
MERCURIO A VETERAN IN THE FIELD
Senior center fielder Andre Mercurio enters 2015 with 147 games played under his belt. The San Mateo, Calif., resident owns a .290 career batting average in 562 at-bats with a .996 fielding percentage patrolling the outfield. A 2013 second-team All-Mountain West selection after making all 57 starts that season, Mercurio was hampered by a wrist injury in 2014 that forced him to miss 10 games early in the year and limited him to just 40 starts. Mercurio and Kalei Contrades represent the only players on the roster in their fourth year at San José State, with Myles Richard, the third senior on the 2015 Spartans, transferring from Mount Hood Community College before the 2014 season.
EXPERIENCE AMONGST THE STARTING ROTATION
Despite 11 freshman pitchers joining the team in 2015, all three of the Spartans' weekend pitchers are returners and made at least seven starts a year ago. Senior Kalei Contrades, a 2014 second-team All-Mountain West performer, made seven starts a year ago and will take the mound on Friday nights, while junior Jonathan Hernandez (14 starts) and sophomore Logan Handzlik (eight starts) will round out the weekend on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Contrades went at least 7.0 innings in five of his seven starts last season and will exclusively see time on the mound in 2015 after posting a .267 batting average in 191 career at-bats in his first three seasons at San José State.
Tom Kunis RETURNS TO SAN JOSÉ STATE AS PITCHING COACH
Tom Kunis, an assistant on former skipper Sam Piraro's staff from 1988-91 and 2009-11, returns for a third stint and an eighth season with the Spartans in 2015. Kunis and head coach Dave Nakama coached together for six seasons (2002-07) at Stanford under Mark Marquess, where the pair aided the Cardinal to two Pac-10 conference titles and five NCAA Tournament appearances, including three Super Regional appearances and two College World Series berths. In his 28 years of coaching, 51 of Kunis' pitchers have been drafted professionally.
MOUNTAIN WEST DIGITAL NETWORK COVERAGE
All San José State home games and road conference games will be streamed live on the Mountain West Digital Network. Fans can access the live streams at www.sjsuspartans.com/videos.
NEW MEXICO PICKED TO WIN MOUNTAIN WEST
Defending Mountain West co-champion New Mexico was tabbed to win the conference in 2015, garnering three first-place votes and 30 total points. The poll, voted on by the conference's seven head coaches, placed the Spartans seventh.
SUNDAY FUNDAY AT MUNI
All season long, kids under 12 years old will receive free admission to Spartan baseball games on Sundays. In addition, youth baseball teams are invited to join the Spartans every Sunday at Municipal Stadium for Sunday Funday. Participating teams will take the field with San José State for the national anthem and get to run the bases after the conclusion of the game. Those interested in reserving a date for their team are encouraged to call the Spartan Ticket Office at 408-924-SJTX (7589).