March 12, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE VISITS UC IRVINE IN NONCONFERENCE ACTION
The Spartans head south for a three-game nonconference set with the UC Irvine Anteaters of the Big West Conference on Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 15. Friday's action will get underway at 6:30 p.m. with first pitch Saturday and Sunday taking place at 1:00 p.m. at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. The Anteaters hold a 16-9 lead in the all-time series, with the last meeting between the schools coming in 1992, when UC Irvine swept a three-game series. San José State's last win in the series came in 1991.
San José State (6-10, 1-5 MW) at UC Irvine (6-9, 0-0 Big West)
Fri.-Sun. March 13-15 6:30 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.
Pitching Matchups: Fri. - RHP Kalei Contrades (1-2, 3.04) vs. LHP Elliott Surrey (1-1, 2.89)
Sat. - RHP Matt Brown (1-1, 2.57) vs. RHP Matt Esparza (2-1. 3.71)
Sun. - RHP Ross Slaney (1-1, 1.93) vs. LHP Evan Manarino (1-0. 5.57)
Live Video: None
Live Stats: Via Statbroadcast
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans
All-Time Series: San José State trails, 16-9
The Anteaters hold a 16-9 lead in the all-time series after sweeping a three-game home set during the 1992 season. The Spartans dropped the first two contests of the 1991 set before taking the series finale 5-1, marking San José State's last win in the series. The Spartans' last win at UC Irvine came on May 4, 1990, and the team's last series victory over the Anteaters came in 1989, when San José State took the first two games of the three-game set.
SCOUTING UC IRVINE
Led by eighth-year head coach Mike Gillespie, UC Irvine sits at 6-9 on the season. After dropping their first six games of the season to Fresno State and California, the Anteaters have won three in a row and six of their last nine, including Tuesday's win over No. 9 USC. UC Irvine made its 13th trip (first under Gillespie) to Omaha last season by winning the Corvallis Regional and the Stillwater Super Regional. Junior infielder Mikey Duarte is hitting .368 with team-bests of 21 hits and seven doubles, and freshman infielder/outfielder Keston Hiura owns a .317 average with three home runs and 13 RBIs.
Spartans Top Cal Poly 5-2 Behind Bullpen, Mercurio's Big Night
Andre Mercurio put San José State up early in the game and the bullpen pieced together a solid effort to make it stick in the Spartans' 5-2 victory over Cal Poly on Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium. Andre Mercurio provided all the offense the Spartans would need on the night. The senior finished 2-for-5 with a double, triple and four RBIs, extending his reached-base streak to 15 games in the process. Hilario Tovar, Jonathan Hernandez, Jeremiah Wylie, Carter Johnson and Turtle Kuhalua combined to hold the Mustangs to six hits.
BAUTISTA NAMED SAN josÉ State FEBRUARY STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Sophomore outfielder/designated hitter Brett Bautista was one of two February Spartan Foundation Student-Athletes of the Month, presented by ScholarShare. Bautista batted .480 (12-for-25) and reached base safely in all eight games during the month of February. He drew seven walks and had three multi-hit games, including two three-hit performances.
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 13.0 innings without allowing an earned run to start his Spartans career and leads the team with four saves in addition to starting 14 games at second base and posting a .220 batting average in 50 at-bats. Nashed had his best outing of the season at SDSU (2/28), tossing 4.0 innings of one-run ball.
MERCURIO A VETERAN IN THE FIELD
Through March 10, senior center fielder Andre Mercurio has 163 games played under his belt. The San Mateo, Calif., resident and Serra High School product owns a .297 career batting average in 622 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).