Baseball Meets Air Force In Mountain West Home Opener

Brett Bautista enters the weekend as the Mountain West's leader in batting average (.467).
March 5, 2015


 

 

SAN JOSÉ STATE MEETS AIR FORCE IN MOUNTAIN WEST HOME OPENER
San José State baseball hosts the Air Force Falcons this weekend, with the series opener taking place Friday at 6:00 p.m. and continuing Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The series is San José State's first home conference action and the first of five Mountain West sets at Municipal Stadium this season. The Spartans hold a 7-3 lead in the all-time series after splitting four games with the Falcons last season, including an 11-3 victory in the play-in game of the Mountain West Tournament. Air Force last visited Municipal Stadium in 2010, when it split a pair of games in the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament.








Games 13-15

Air Force (3-7, 1-2 MW) at San José State (4-8, 0-3 MW)

Fri.-Sun. • March 6-8 • 6:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.


Pitching Matchups: Fri. - RHP Kalei Contrades (0-2, 4.34) vs. RHP Griffin Jax (0-2, 4.22)

Sat. - RHP Matt Brown (1-0, 2.00) vs. RHP Steven Trojan (0-0, 2.84)

Sun. - RHP Ross Slaney (1-1, 1.80) vs. LHP Jacob DeVries (1-2, 4.11)

Live Video: www.sjsuspartans.com/videos

Live Stats: Via Gametracker & Statbroadcast

Radio: KSJS 90.5 FM, Spartan Digital Network

Fri. - Chad Oklin Jolin, Daniel Barrera

Sat. - Alex Scott

Sun. - Chad Oklin Jolin

Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans |facebook.com/SJSUSpartans

All-Time Series: San José State leads, 7-3

SERIES HISTORY
The Spartans hold a 7-3 all-time lead over the Falcons in a series that dates back to 1987. San José State won the first four games of the series with a win in the 1987 season and a three-game sweep during the 1997 campaign. The Falcons' first win in the series came in the second game of the 2010 Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament, when the Falcons topped the Spartans 5-4. Last season, Air Force took two-of-three from San José State in Colorado Springs, Colo., before the Spartans ousted the Falcons from the Mountain West Tournament with an 11-3 victory in the play-in game.

SCOUTING AIR FORCE
The Falcons enter the weekend at 3-7 overall and 1-2 in Mountain West play. Air Force dropped its first five games of the season to The Citadel, Savannah State and New Mexico, but has won two of its last three after taking a pair from Navy last weekend. Sophomore outfielder Adam Groesbeck leads the team with a .378 average and a pair of home runs, while fellow sophomore Griffin Jax earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors for his 8.1 inning, 10-strikeout performance against Navy.

CAL POLY VISITS MUNICIPAL STADIUM ON TUESDAY
The Cal Poly Mustangs of the Big West Conference come to town on Tuesday, March 10 to wrap up San José State's five-game home stand. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.

Spartans Fall To Stanford In 13-8 Slugfest
San José State pounded out eight runs on 13 hits, but it wasn't enough to overcome Stanford's 13-run, 18-hit attack in Tuesday night's 13-8 loss to the Cardinal at Municipal Stadium. All 18 frames featured a runner on base, including at least one hit in the first 17.

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, 15 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 10 games at second base and posting a .250 batting average in 36 at-bats. Nashed had his best outing of the season at SDSU (2/28), going 4.0 innings of one-run ball.

MERCURIO A VETERAN IN THE FIELD
Through March, senior center fielder Andre Mercurio has 159 games played under his belt. The San Mateo, Calif., resident and Serra High School product owns a .292 career batting average in 606 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).