Air Force Visits Municipal Stadium In Weekend Set

Dillan Smith drove in both runs in last year's 2-0 defeat of Air Force.
March 11, 2016

GAMES 14-16

San José State (5-8, 1-2 MW) vs. Air Force (8-3, 2-0 MW)

Municipal Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)

Friday, March 11                6:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 12           2:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 13              1:00 p.m.

Friday: RHP Josh Nashed
(0-2, 5.00 ERA) vs. RHP Griffin Jax (2-1, 1.80 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Logan Handzlik (1-0, 5.24 ERA) vs. LHP Jacob DeVries (2-1, 4.80 ERA)

Sunday: RHP Matt Brown (1-1, 3.31) vs. RHP Nick Biancalana (1-1, 4.61 ERA)

Live Video: None
Radio: KSJS 90.5 FM

Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) •

All-Time Series: San José State leads, 11-9

San José State hosts its first Mountain West series of the 2016 season when the Air Force Falcons visit Municipal Stadium this weekend. Weather permitting, Friday’s opener will get underway at 6:00 p.m., Saturday will be a 2:00 p.m. start and the series will wrap up Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Heavy rain is in the forecast throughout the weekend, and games could be moved up or postponed as a result.

Overview: Air Force enters the weekend at 8-3 overall and in first place with a 2-0 record in Mountain West action. The Falcons are coming off a midweek split with Omaha after topping Nevada in the first two games of last weekend’s series. The third game was suspended in the eighth inning and will be continued in April.

Pitching: The Falcons carry a 3.67 team ERA into the weekend. RHP Griffin Jax has been stellar so far this season, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.80 ERA. Jax has struck out 16 in 20.0 innings and has only allowed one extra base hit. Austin McDaniel leads the club with six appearances out of the bullpen and owns the only save. He has posted a 0.90 ERA in 10.0 innings so far.
Offense: The Spartans will see one of the conference’s best offenses this weekend. Air Force is hitting a sizzling .333 as a team, led by a trio of players above .400 in Bradley Haslam (.422), Adam Groesbeck (.422) and Nic Ready (.404). The three sluggers each have hit double digits in RBIs this season, and Groesbeck has posted nine steals. The Falcons are 19-for-23 as a team in stolen base chances.

The Spartans lead the all-time series with the Falcons, 11-9. Last season, the Spartans picked up their first conference win of the year with a 2-0 win in early March. The Falcons went on to take the next five contests of the season. San José State last topped Air Force in a season series in 1997, when it swept the Falcons in a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) action.

San José State dropped its first Mountain West series of the season last weekend. Josh Nashed threw well on Friday, going 8.0 innings and retiring 16 UNLV hitters in a row at one point. Both Rebel runs came via solo shots, and the Spartans could only muster a run. They answered with 11 runs on 13 hits in an 11-6 win on Saturday before collecting 11 more hits on Sunday, though they only pushed across two runs in a 4-2 loss.

The San Francisco Dons of the West Coast Conference make the trip south on Tuesday to finish off San José State’s four-game home stand. The midweek matchup will be the first between the Spartans and Dons since they played a single game last February.

Sophomore first baseman Shane Timmons has gotten off to a tremendous start in 2016. He has hit safely in 11 of the Spartans’ 13 games this season, including two-hit outings in eight of those. His 32 total bases, 21 hits and 13 RBIs are tops in the Mountain West in their respective categories. Timmons is also tied for the top spot on the team in runs scored (9), triples (1) and home runs (2). He is currently riding an eight-game hit streak, and has posted a clean sheet in 121 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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