March 4, 2016
San José State (4-6, 0-0 MW) at UNLV Rebels (1-5, 0-0 MW)
Earl E. Wilson Stadium (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Friday, March 4 6:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 5 2:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 6 1:05 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: RHP Josh Nashed (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. D.J. Myers (0-0, 6.10 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Logan Handzlik (1-0, 3.27 ERA) vs. TBA
Sunday: RHP Matt Brown (1-0, 3.48) vs. TBA
Live Video: Mountain West Digital Network (unlvrebels.com/videos) - Sat. & Sun. only
Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) • facebook.com/SJSUSpartansBaseball
All-Time Series: San José State trails, 34-21
SPARTANS SET FOR MOUNTAIN WEST OPENER IN LAS VEGAS
San José State hits the road for the first time in 2016 when it heads to UNLV this weekend to take on take on the Rebels in the Mountain West opener for both clubs. Friday’s game gets underway at 6:05 p.m., Saturday is set for a 2:05 p.m. start and the series wraps up Sunday in a 1:05 p.m. first pitch.
Overview: UNLV enters the weekend at 1-5 overall after taking the season opener at Texas in extra innings and dropping the next five to the Longhorns and West Virginia. The Rebels have yet to play a midweek game this season.
Pitching: The Rebels carry a 7.04 team ERA into the weekend. They have used 12 pitchers on the season, four of which have thrown less than 2.0 innings. Friday night starter D.J. Myers threw well at Texas in the season opener but was roughed up for five runs in 6.0 innings of work last weekend against West Virginia. Sophomore RHP Blaze Bohall recorded the only win for UNLV.
Offense: The Rebels have struggled at the plate against tough competition early on, posting a Mountain West-worst .210 batting average. Payton Squier is the only regular hitting above .300, but his .417 average is good for seventh in the conference. Eight different players have doubled this season, but none have hit more than one. Andrew Yazdanbakhsh owns both of the Rebels’ long balls on the season.
The Spartans trail the all-time series with the Rebels, 34-21. Last season, UNLV visited Municipal Stadium in the final series of the season and split a Friday doubleheader before dropping Saturday’s finale in 10 innings. The Rebels and Spartans faced off four days later in the play-in game of the 2015 Mountain West Championship, with UNLV advancing with a 2-1 win. San José State has not beat UNLV in a regular-season series since 1998.
THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
San José State had an up-and-down series against visiting LMU last weekend. The Lions ran away with the opener for a 13-4 win, but the Spartans responded with an 8-5 victory on Saturday behind Logan Handzlik’s quality start and a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth. After leading 3-1 early on in Sunday’s finale, LMU climbed back to take the game, 4-3, and the series.
WHAT’S ON DECK
San José State returns home to face St. Mary’s for the first time this season on Tuesday, March 8 at Municipal Stadium. Tuesday night’s showdown marks the first of two matchups with the Gaels this season.
THE SHANE TRAIN
Sophomore first baseman Shane Timmons has gotten off to a tremendous start in 2016. He has hit safely in eight of the Spartans’ 10 games this season, including two-hit outings in six of those. His 22 total bases, 15 hits and 10 RBIs are tied for tops in the Mountain West in their respective categories. Timmons is also tied for the top spot on the team in runs scored (7), triples (1), home runs (1) and hit by pitches (2). He has posted a clean sheet in 91 defensive chances at first base after playing primarily as the designated hitter last season.
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.
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.
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