San José State (6-10, 2-3 MW) at New Mexico (10-6, 2-1 MW)
Santa Ana Star Field (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Friday, March 18 6:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m. PT
Saturday, March 19 2:00 p.m. MT/1:00 p.m. PT
Sunday, March 20 1:00 p.m. MT/12:00 p.m. PT
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: RHP Logan Handzlik (1-0, 6.00 ERA) vs. LHP Carson Schneider (3-1, 3.29 ERA)
Saturday: TBA vs. RHP Tyler Stevens (2-1, 6.33 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Josh Nashed (0-3, 6.26 ERA vs. RHP Colton Thomson (1-1, 5.52 ERA)
Live Video: Mountain West Digital Network (www.livestream.com/newmexico)
Radio: ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team (www.1017theteam.com)
Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) • facebook.com/SJSUSpartansBaseball
All-Time Series: San José State trails, 11-4.
SAN JOSÉ STATE HEADS TO NEW MEXICO TO MEET HIGH-FLYING LOBOS
The Spartans travel to Albuquerque, N.M. this weekend to take on New Mexico in the Lobos’ first home Mountain West series of the season. The action from Santa Ana Star Field kicks off Friday at 6:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m. PT and continues Saturday at 2:00 p.m. MT/1:00 p.m. PT before wrapping up Sunday at 1:00 p.m. MT/12:00 p.m. PT.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO
Overview: New Mexico, led by ninth-year head coach Ray Birmingham, enters the weekend at 10-6 overall and 2-1 in Mountain West action. The Lobos are coming off a two-game sweep of Grand Canyon this week. Last weekend, they topped Nevada in the first two games of the conference opener for both teams before dropping the finale.
Pitching: The Lobos carry a 5.84 team ERA into the weekend. Friday starter Carson Schneider has been solid thus far, posting a 3-1 record with a 3.29 ERA in 27.1 innings. No other Lobo with at least 6.0 innings of work has less than a 5.00 ERA. Despite an 0-2 record with a 5.40 ERA, Victor Sanchez has posted four saves in six appearances. New Mexico has used 15 different pitchers so far in 2016.
Offense: The Lobos have been one of the top offenses in the conference in 2016. They lead the Mountain West in runs (127), hits (182), home runs (18) and walks (97), and are tied for tops in steals (22). Their .318 average and 33 doubles are second-best in the conference. Chris DeVito leads the club with a .419 batting average and has posted six doubles, five home runs and 20 RBIs.
The Spartans trail the all-time series with the Lobos, 11-4. Last season, New Mexico’s offense went wild, scoring 52 runs in three games en route to a sweep of the Spartans. San José State’s last win at Santa Ana Star Field was an 8-5 win in March of 2014.
THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
In a rain-filled weekend in the Bay Area, San José State was able to squeeze in a doubleheader against visiting Air Force on Saturday. The Spartans and Falcons were washed out on Friday and Sunday, and will have to play an extra game when San José State heads to Colorado Springs in April. In the first game, Air Force’s Griffin Jax showed why he’s been on of the best pitchers in the Mountain West this season as he led the Falcons to a 7-2 win. San José State rebounded in the second game, scoring six runs in the first inning and holding off a pesky Air Force club the rest of the way for a 9-5 victory.
WHAT’S ON DECK
Next up for San José State is a home series against the rival Fresno State Bulldogs. The Spartans will not play a midweek game due to the series with the Bulldogs being played Thursday through Saturday. Thursday and Friday’s games will get underway at 6:00 p.m., with the finale taking place Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
THE SHANE TRAIN
Sophomore first baseman Shane Timmons has gotten off to a tremendous start in 2016. He has hit safely in 13 of the 15 games he has played in this season, including two-hit outings in eight of those. His 34 total bases, 23 hits and 14 RBIs are among the top-5 in the Mountain West in their respective categories. Timmons is also alone or tied for the top spot on the team in batting average (.397) runs scored (10), and home runs (2). He is currently riding a 10-game hit streak, and has posted a clean sheet in 143 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.
Keep up with all things Spartan Baseball by following along on social media. Be sure to ‘follow’ the baseball-specific accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for game previews, in-game updates, recaps and other original content.