March 21, 2014
SPARTANS TAKE ON A HOT LOBOS TEAM THIS WEEKEND
San José State squares off against the New Mexico Lobos in a three-game weekend series beginning on Friday night. The Lobos enter the weekend on a hot streak that includes five straight wins. The streak includes a sweep of Fresno State in Fresno, Calif., and two wins over Kansas at home earlier this week. See the game notes link above for more info about this weekend's series including the new pitching rotation for the Spartans.
AT NEW MEXICO LOBOS (14-7-1, 4-2 MW)
Lobo Baseball Field (1,000)
TV: Watch LIVE
RADIO: Listen LIVE
LIVE STATS: Click Here
SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 12:00 PM PDT
RHP Kalei Contrades (2-0, 1.11) vs. RHP Josh Walker (2-1, 3.41)
SJSU AVOIDS SWEEP WITH 3-2 WIN OVER UNLV
San José State avoided being swept by UNLV with a 3-2 win in game three. The Spartans did it behind Kalei Contrades' best pitching performance of his career and a perfectly executed eighth inning of offense. Sheldon Daquioag came up with the game-winning hit that scored Mitch Ravizza with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Contrades did not end up with the win, but he did achieve career-highs in innings pitched with 7.2 and strikeouts with seven.
MW STANDINGS OUTLOOK
A 3-6 record in Mountain West play puts San José State in sixth place, four games behind the leading UNLV Rebels (7-2). San Diego State and New Mexico are both 4-2 and tied for second in the conference. Fresno State was tied for first place at the beginning of last week with a 5-1 record, but got swept at home by the Lobos over the weekend and dropped to fourth place. Nevada has an identical MW record as the Spartans but hold the tiebreak after taking two of three from SJSU back on 2/28-3/2. Air Force, at 1-5, rounds out the seven teams in the MW standings.
SPARTANS HIT THE ROAD FOR SECOND HALF
12 of the next 16 games for San José State will be played away from the friendly confines of San Jose Municipal Stadium. After Tuesday night's contest versus San Francisco, the Spartans play a three-game series at New Mexico (3/21-23) and then head to Washington State for four games (3/27-30).
CONTRADES BECOMES MW ERA LEADER
Kalei Contrades' performance on Sunday against UNLV vaulted him straight to the top of the Mountain West for lowest ERA at 1.11. Contrades has appeared seven times (24.1 IP) this season including his first-career start last Sunday. He has struck out 22 on the year and allowed only three earned runs.
The University of San Francisco Dons (8-9) enter Tuesday night's game with the Spartans after being swept at home by Gonzaga over the weekend. The Dons are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Bradley Zimmer leads the team with 30 hits and a .417 batting average through 17 games. San Francisco is hitting .256 as a team. The Dons are 6-4 in the last 10 meetings with the Spartans. The teams have split the last 10 games played in San Jose, Calif.
SPARTANS DEFENSE REMAINS TOP-RANKED IN THE MW
Despite making four errors during the weekend series versus UNLV, San José State's .973 fielding percentage is tied for first in the MW with New Mexico. The Spartans lead the conference in chances (828), putouts (561) and assists (245).
OLIVET CONTINUES TO WALK
The Spartans have valued Tyler Olivet as the leadoff man in 2014 based on his ability to get on base. He leads the MW in walks with 18 and is ranked in the top-15 of the conference for his .402 on base percentage.
BAUTISTA PACING SPARTANS OFFENSE
Freshman Brett Bautista leads San José State in multiple offensive categories including: batting average (.353), slugging (.412) and on base percentage (.468). After missing a week with a leg injury, Bautista has hit .300 with three runs and has only struck out once in his last six games.
CARROLL LAUNCHES THIRD HOMER
First baseman Matt Carroll blasted his third home run of the season in last Friday night's contest against UNLV (3/14). He is tied with Jordan Luplow and Taylor Ward of Fresno State for second-most home runs in the conference.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO
The Lobos (12-7-1, 4-2 MW) vaulted into second place in the MW standing after sweeping Fresno State in Fresno, Calif., over the weekend. They lost two out of three games to UNLV in their only other MW series in 2014. New Mexico was a co-favorite to win the Mountain West regular season alongside San Diego State in the conference's Preseason Coaches' Poll. Five Lobos hitters are batting above .300 with at least 20 at bats on the season. Chase Harris leads the team with 30 hits and a .337 batting average. The team's .301 batting average is ranked second in the MW while its 3.76 team ERA is fourth. The all-time series between the Spartans and Lobos is all tied up 3-3.
RETURNING CONFERENCE HONOREES
Spartans' center fielder Andre Mercurio and first baseman Matt Carroll were second-team All-Western Athletic Conference selections in 2013. Mercurio was SJSU's hits leader with 74 and Carroll knocked in a team-high 40 runs.
In its first season of Mountain West play, San José State joins some familiar foes in Fresno State and Nevada whom the Spartans have played a combined 378 times. 109 games have been played between the Spartans and the other four MW programs: San Diego State, Air Force, New Mexico and UNLV combined. SJSU is 199-288 (.409) all-time against its MW competitors.
JASON ARMSTRONG JOINS SJSU AS VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT
Jason Armstrong comes to the Spartans after serving as UC Davis' hitting coach from 2010-2013. He helped turn around the Aggies hitting statistics from worst in the Big West to the top-three marks in 2013. Armstrong teaches from experience as he was an NCAA All-American shortstop for Trinity (2004).