March 3, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE HOSTS STANFORD TO OPEN FIVE-GAME HOME STAND
San José State baseball hosts the Stanford Cardinal of the Pac-12 conference to kick off its second consecutive five game home stand, the longest remaining stretch of the season. Tuesday night's game will get underway at 6:00 p.m. and marks the first of two meetings between the Spartans and Cardinal this season, as San José State will visit Sunken Diamond on April 28 to cap off the home-and-home set. Last season, the visiting team was victorious in both meetings, with the Spartans coming away with a wild 10-8 victory over the Cardinal in the last game of the season.
Stanford (6-6, 0-0 Pac-12) at San José State (4-7, 0-3 MW)
Tues. March 3 6:00 p.m.
Pitching Matchup: LHP Jonathan Hernandez (0-1, 4.50) vs. LHP Quinn Brodey (0-2, 6.00)
Live Video: www.sjsuspartans.com/videos
Live Stats: Via Gametracker & Statbroadcast
Radio: Spartan Digital Network (Justin Allegri)
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans |facebook.com/SJSUSpartans
All-Time Series: San José State trails, 100-39
Tuesday night's game marks the first time Dave Nakama and Tom Kunis, two former assistants at Stanford, will coach against the Cardinal together. The pair assisted together for six seasons (2002-07) under Mark Marquess, where they aided Stanford to two Pac-10 conference titles and five NCAA Tournament appearances, including three Super Regional appearances and two College World Series berths.
In a series that dates back to 1959, the Spartans are 100-39 all-time against the Cardinal after going 1-1 against them last season. In the first nonconference game of the season, San José State and Stanford were deadlocked at 3-3 after four innings at Municipal Stadium before the Cardinal put the game away with a five-run fifth. In the season finale, the Spartans used a four-run fifth inning and a five-run sixth to pull out a 10-8 victory at Sunken Diamond.
Stanford is coming off a 2014 season in which it fell one win shy of a trip to Omaha after winning the Bloomington, Ill. regional as the No. 3 seed and taking eventual champions Vanderbilt to a deciding game in the Nashville Super Regional. In 2015, the Cardinal sit at 6-6 after facing a slew of tough teams in Indiana, California, Cal State Fullerton, Nevada and Rice. Matt Winaker, a freshman from San Ramon Valley High School, has started 11-of-12 games and is tops on the team with a .405 batting average, 10 RBIs and two home runs. Collegiate Baseball currently has the Cardinal slotted as the 26th-best team in the country.
AIR FORCE ON DECK FOR THE SPARTANS
The Air Force Falcons (3-7, 1-2 MW) visit the Spartans for a three-game Mountain West set beginning Friday at 6:00 p.m. and continuing Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
SAN JOSÉ STATE SWEPT BY SAN DIEGO STATE IN MOUNTAIN WEST OPENER
The Spartans opened Mountain West play with a three-game set at San Diego State last weekend. San José State held leads of 1-0 and 4-0 in the first and second game of Friday's doubleheader, respectively, but were unable to hold off the Aztecs and fell 4-2 and 7-5 before San Diego State completed the sweep with a 5-1 victory on Saturday.
NEW FACES ALL AROUND
San José State fields 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.
FRESHMAN DUAL THREATS
Three San José State freshmen - Josh Nashed, Turtle Kuhaulua and Dylan Sugimoto - have seen time on the mound and in the field in 2015. Kuhaulua has thrown 9.1 innings without allowing an earned run to start his Spartans career and leads the team with two saves in addition to starting nine games at second base and posting a .235 batting average in 34 at-bats. Nashed had his best outing of the season at SDSU Saturday, going 4.0 innings of one-run ball.
MERCURIO A VETERAN IN THE FIELD
Through Feb. 28, senior center fielder Andre Mercurio has 158 games played under his belt. The San Mateo, Calif., resident and Serra High School product owns a .290 career batting average in 601 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.
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.
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.
SPARTANS TESTED EARLY AND OFTEN IN 2015
Six of San José State's opponents - Cal Poly, Stanford, UC Irvine, UNLV, Oregon State and San Diego State - received regional berths last season. Cal Poly and Oregon State each hosted a regional, Stanford won the Bloomington Regional before falling to eventual national champion Vanderbilt in the Nashville Super Regional, and UC Irvine advanced to the College World Series by winning the Corvallis Regional and Stillwater Super Regional.
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).