Feb. 26, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE VISITS SDSU IN MOUNTAIN WEST OPENER
San José State baseball heads south to San Diego State for a three-game set in the Mountain West opener for both teams Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18. Due to rain in the forecast, Friday will be a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m., with Saturday's 1:00 p.m. game becoming the series finale. The Spartans went 2-4 against the Aztecs a season ago and trail the all-time series 18-40.
Fri.-Sat. Feb. 27-28 2:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. (DH), 1:00 p.m.
Pitching Matchups: Fri. (gm1) - RHP Kalei Contrades (0-1, 4.22) vs. RHP Bubba Derby (0-0, 2.53)
Fri. (gm2) - LHP Jonathan Hernandez (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Brett Seeburger (0-0, 4.15)
Sat. - Ross Slaney (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Mark Seyler (2-0, 2.45)
Live Video: Mountain West Digital Network
Live Stats: Via Statbroadcast
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans
All-Time Series: San José State trails 18-40
The Spartans trail the all-time series with the Aztecs 18-40 after going 2-4 against them last season. In the 2014 season opener at Municipal Stadium, Kalei Contrades came out of the bullpen to throw 6.0 innings of two-hit ball to lead the Spartans to a 6-4 victory. In April, Contrades threw another gem at Tony Gwynn Stadium, going 9.0 innings and allowing just one run before the Aztecs pulled out a 3-2 win in 11 innings.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE
The Aztecs, picked by the conference's head coaches to finish second in the Mountain West in 2015, sit at 8-1 on the year after taking three-of-four from UC Irvine last weekend and defeating the University of San Diego on Tuesday night. San Diego State has been nearly unbeatable at home over the last two years, boasting a 30-6 record at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Senior outfielder Steven Pallares and junior infielder Ty France both sport .400 averages, nine RBIs and a home run to lead the Aztecs, who are hitting .326 as a team and average nearly eight runs per game.
Spartans TAKE THREE-OF-FOUR FROM NORTHERN COLORADO
San José State earned its first series victory of the season last weekend, taking three-of-four games from the Northern Colorado Bears at Municipal Stadium. On Friday, Justin Beck drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Spartans to a 9-8 win. In the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, San José State walked off again, this time in the 10th inning on a Chris Williams sac fly. The Spartans played their most complete game of the season Sunday, pounding out 11 hits and shutting out the Bears en route to a 10-0 victory in the series finale.
SAN JOSÉ STATE HOSTS STANFORD, AIR FORCE
The Spartans return to Municipal Stadium to host the Stanford Cardinal on March 3 at 6:00 p.m. and the Air Force Falcons on Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8. Friday's contest against Air Force gets underway at 6:00 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday's games taking place at 1:00 p.m.
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).