Feb. 23, 2016
San José State (2-2, 0-0 MW) vs. Santa Clara Broncos (2-1, 0-0 WCC)
Municipal Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)
Tuesday, Feb. 23 6:00 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
Tuesday: RHP Ross Slaney (0-1, 13.50) vs. RHP Michael Bono (0-0, 0.00)
Live Video: Spartan Digital Network (sjsuspartans.com/videos)
Radio: KSJS 90.5 FM
Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) • facebook.com/SJSUSpartansBaseball
All-Time Series: San José State trails, 129-87
SAN JOSÉ STATE TANGLES WITH SANTA CLARA IN FIRST MIDWEEK ACTION
San José State plays its first midweek game of the season Tuesday, when it hosts crosstown rival Santa Clara in the first of two meetings between the schools this season. The Spartans will look to avenge a pair of 2-1 defeats to the Broncos a season ago.
SCOUTING SANTA CLARA
Overview: The Broncos enter Tuesday’s matchup riding a two-game win streak that gave them an impressive series win over No. 24 Notre Dame. Santa Clara was shut out in the season opener, but rebounded for a shutout of their own before taking the finale, 4-2, on Sunday. The short drive to San Jose marks the Broncos’ lone road game in the month of March.
Pitching: Santa Clara used just seven pitchers over the weekend against Notre Dame, and only three surrendered earned runs. Tuesday night’s projected starter, Michael Bono, was one of the four relievers to see action and worked 3.0 innings while allowing a pair of unearned runs on just one hit. Last season, Bono appeared in just six games in his freshman campaign and allowed six earned runs in just 3.0 innings of work. Junior Max Kuhns picked up two saves in the Notre Dame series.
Offense: While San José State experimented with different lineups against UC Irvine, the Broncos rolled out the same starting nine all weekend against the 24th-ranked Fighting Irish. Shortstop John Cresto (.417), backstop Stevie Berman (.364) and third baseman Kyle Cortopassi (.333) put together a nice series at the dish, but the rest of the lineup struggled to get it going. Santa Clara collected just four extra-base hits and walked six times against 22 strikeouts.
The Spartans trail the all-time series with the Broncos, 129-87. Last season, the Broncos triumphed in a pair of 2-1 ballgames. In the May 12 game at Municipal Stadium, Ross Slaney was a tough-luck loser after a 4.1-inning, two-run performance on the mound.
THE SHANE TRAIN
Sophomore first baseman Shane Timmons got his 2016 season off to a tremendous start in the Spartans’ four-game series against UC Irvine. Timmons drove in the Spartans’ first run of the season with a solo homer in the opener, then followed up with five hits in seven at-bats and two more RBIs in Saturday’s doubleheader. For the weekend, he finished 7-for 15 (.467) with two walks, five runs scored, three driven in, one home run and 10 total bases.
After fielding one of the youngest teams in the country a year ago, the Spartans will again feature a host of youngsters seeing significant playing time in 2016. Four of the probable starting position players and three of the starting pitchers this week are underclassmen. Hunter Tidwell (Fr. - OF), Aaron Pleschner (Fr. - INF), Cal Koga (Fr. - C) and Kyle Morrison (So. - INF) represent four more underclassmen who will compete for starting duties early in the season. Below is a breakdown of the Spartans’ roster by class.
THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
San José State opened the 2016 season with a strong showing against visiting UC Irvine. The Spartans fell on Opening Day despite a strong showing from starting pitcher Josh Nashed, but responded with 23 hits and 17 runs over 18 innings of a Saturday doubleheader, both San José State wins. Sunday looked to be more of the same as the Spartans loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning, but the Anteaters escaped and raced to an 11-0 win, forcing a series split.
WHAT’S ON DECK
San José State hosts the first of two consecutive West Coast Conference foes when the LMU Lions come to Municipal Stadium this weekend. The Spartans are looking to avenge last season’s Opening Weekend sweep at Page Stadium in Los Angeles.
San José State will lean on its lone two regular starting seniors for both leadership and production this season. Ozzy Braff and Dillan Smith represent the only seniors projected to start in the infield and outfield, respectively, on an everyday basis. Last season, Braff led the team with a .298 average and posted a clean sheet at second base en route to Second Team All-Mountain West honors. Smith started all but three games in right field a year ago and will be counted on to lead off for the Spartans.
‘SUNDAY FUN-DAY’ AT MUNI
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).