March 24, 2016
San José State (6-13, 2-6 MW) vs. Fresno State (14-7, 4-2, MW)
Municipal Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)
Thursday, March 24 6:00 p.m.
Friday, March 25 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 26 1:00 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Thursday: RHP Logan Handzlik (1-0, 6.20 ERA) vs. LHP Ricky Thomas (2-2, 2.78 ERA)
Friday: TBA vs. RHP Jimmy Lambert (4-0, 0.79 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Josh Nashed (0-4, 6.52 ERA vs. RHP Edgar Gonzalez (1-0, 3.38 ERA)
Live Video: Spartan Digital Network (www.sjsuspartans.com/videos)
Radio: KSJS 90.5 FM
Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) • facebook.com/SJSUSpartansBaseball
All-Time Series: San José State trails, 156-82.
SAN JOSÉ STATE BASEBALL RETURNS HOME TO FACE FRESNO STATE
The Spartans host rival Fresno State in a three-game set this weekend. In a series that has been moved up a day, the first game will take place Thursday at 6:00 p.m. The rivalry will continue Friday at 6:00 p.m. before wrapping up Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE
Overview: Fresno State, led by 14th-year head coach Mike Batesole, brings a 14-7 overall record and 4-2 conference mark to Municipal Stadium. The Bulldogs kicked off the 2016 season with an 11-game win streak before dropping seven in a row. They have since won their last three ballgames and own series wins over conference foes San Diego State and UNLV.
Pitching: Fresno State has been buoyed by its pitching staff in 2016. The Bulldogs lead the Mountain West in ERA (2.65), strikeouts (187), opponent batting average (.231) and earned runs allowed (55). Scheduled Friday starter Jimmy Lambert has been a big reason for that, as he has posted a 4-0 record with a gaudy 0.79 ERA in 34.0 innings. Closer Tim Borst has recorded six saves and a 1.12 ERA.
Offense: The Bulldogs bring a .255 team batting average into the weekend. Brody Russell (2HRs, 16 RBIS), Aaron Arruda (4 HRs, 13 RBIs) and Jake Stone (HR, 12 RBIs) have done the bulk of the run production this year, while Korby Batesole leads all qualified Bulldogs with a .316 average. As a team, the Bulldogs have walked 74 times and swiped 21 bases in 31 chances.
The Spartans trail the all-time series with the Bulldogs, 156-82. Last season, Fresno State took five of the six games between the teams, with San José State’s lone win coming at home in early May. The Spartans are looking for a repeat of 2014, when they took two-of-three from the Bulldogs at Municipal Stadium.
THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
San José State traveled to Albuquerque, N.M., last weekend and ran into a red-hot New Mexico Lobos squad. Despite out-hitting the Lobos in the first two contests, the Spartans couldn’t hang on to an early 4-0 lead in game one and fell 9-6, then dropped a narrow 3-2 ballgame on Saturday. New Mexico looked every part of one of the conference’s top offenses Sunday, as they pounded out 11 runs and starter Colton Thomson stymied the Spartans offense en route to a series sweep.
WHAT’S ON DECK
San José State closes out the short four-game homestand when it hosts Stanford on Monday night at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is the first of two between the Cardinal and Spartans this season, as San José State makes the drive north to Palo Alto on April 12.
THE SHANE TRAIN
Sophomore first baseman Shane Timmons has gotten off to a tremendous start in 2016. He has hit safely in 15 of the 18 games he has played in this season, including two-hit outings in nine of those. His 38 total bases, 26 hits and 14 RBIs are among the top-10 in the Mountain West in their respective categories. Timmons is also alone or tied for the top spot on the team in batting average (.377) and runs scored (11). He is currently riding a 13-game reached-base streak, and has posted a clean sheet in 172 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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