Feb. 19, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE HOSTS NORTHERN COLORADO IN FOUR-GAME SET
San José State baseball hosts its first home series of the season this weekend, as the Northern Colorado Bears of the Western Athletic Conference visit Municipal Stadium to close out the Spartans' five-game home stand. Friday night's action gets underway at 6:00 p.m., with Saturday's doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. before Sunday's series finale at 1:00 p.m. The meeting is the first between the schools in the history of the programs.
Northern Colorado (0-0, 0-0 WAC at San José State (1-3, 0-0 MW)
Fri.-Sun. • Feb. 20-22 • 6:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. (DH), 1:00 p.m.
Pitching Matchups: Fri. - RHP Kalei Contrades (0-1, 3.60) vs. RHP Chase Cleary (0-0, 0.00)
Sat. (gm1) - LHP Jonathan Hernandez (0-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Spencer Applebach (0-0, 0.00)
Sat. (gm2) - TBD vs. TBD
Sun. - TBD vs. RHP Josh Wagner (0-0, 0.00)
Live Video: www.sjsuspartans.com/videos
Live Stats: Via Gametracker & Statbroadcast
Radio: KSJS 90.5 FM, Spartan Digital Network
Fri. - Alex Scott, Daniel Barrera
Sat. (gm1) - Chad Oklin-Jolin, Jason Hart
Sat. (gm2) - Alex Scott
Sun. - Chad Oklin-Jolin, Brandy Sotelo
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans
All-Time Series: NA
Spartans Rally For 11-8 Victory Over USF In Home-Opening Thriller
San José State used an eight-run seventh inning to climb back from a five-run deficit en route to its first victory of the season, an 11-8 win over San Francisco Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium. The Spartans found themselves in an 8-3 hole after San Francisco had a big seventh inning of its own, putting up six runs in the top of the frame to seemingly put the game away. In the bottom half, four walks, a hit batter, a base hit and a costly USF error sandwiched between a triple and a double by Andre Mercurio put the Spartans ahead for good, 11-8.
SCOUTING NORTHERN COLORADO
The Bears are led by fifth-year head coach Carl Iwasaki, who is three wins shy of 200 in his career and six away from the 100-win plateau at Northern Colorado. Last season, the Bears' first in the Western Athletic Conference after coming over from the Great West Conference, Northern Colorado finished 10-43 overall. Like the Spartans, the Bears' roster features plenty of new faces in 2015, as 21 players (13 transfers, 8 freshmen) will suit up for Northern Colorado for the first time this weekend. The team's leading hitter in 2014, senior outfielder Jensen Park, was named a 2015 College Sports Madness Preseason second-team All-WAC selection after hitting .304 with five triples and four home runs a season ago.
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.
SAN JOSÉ STATE VISITS SAN DIEGO STATE IN MOUNTAIN WEST OPENER
The Spartans open Mountain West play when they travel to face the San Diego State Aztecs Feb. 27-March 1 at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Friday night's contest will begin at 6:00 p.m., with first pitch on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. All three games will be streamed live via the Mountain West Digital Network and are accessible at www.sjsuspartans.com/videos.
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 have seen action this season. 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).