March 26, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE HOSTS MW CO-LEADER NEVADA THIS WEEKEND
The Spartans get their first glimpse of the Nevada Wolf Pack this weekend when the MW co-leaders visit Municipal Stadium for a three-game set. Friday's action gets underway at 6:00 p.m., with first pitch Saturday and Sunday taking place at 1:00 p.m. The series marks the end of a stretch of eight games in 10 days for the Spartans, who played a three-game set at Fresno State followed by a midweek two-game series at Oregon State on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Nevada (21-4, 7-2 MW) at San José State (7-18, 1-8 MW)
Fri.-Sun. · March 27-29 · 6:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.
Pitching Matchups: Fri - RHP Kalei Contrades (2-4, 2.98) vs. RHP Jason Deitrich (4-1, 2.17)
Sat. - RHP Hilario Tovar (1-0, 7.27) vs. TBD
Sun. - RHP Matt Brown (1-3, 3.80) vs. LHP Cameron Rowland (2-2, 3.76)
Live Video: www.sjsuspartans.com/videos
Live Stats: Via Gametracker & Statbroadcast
Radio: KSJS 90.5 FM, Spartan Digital Network
Chad Oklin-Jolin, Jon Wold
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans
All-Time Series: San José State leads, 85-72
The Spartans lead the all-time series 85-72 after going 2-4 against the Wolf Pack in their first year as members of the Mountain West Conference. San José State won one out of three games in both series last season - one at Municipal Stadium and one at Peccole Park. The Spartans last series win over the Wolf Pack came in 2009, when San José State swept a four-game affair at home when the teams were members of the WAC.
Led by second-year head coach Jay Johnson, the Wolf Pack sits at 21-4 overall on the season and is tied atop the Mountain West at 7-2. Nevada posted a seven-game winning streak to open the season and carries an eight-game streak into the weekend. As a team, the Wolf Pack leads the conference in doubles, home runs and walks in addition to its pitching staff posting a MW-low 3.79 ERA. Sluggers Ryan Howell and Austin Byler are two of the top players in the conference this year. Howell is hitting .409 with nine doubles, two triples, eight homers and 36 RBIs, while Byler owns a .333 average with eight doubles, six long balls and 21 RBIs.
SPARTANS DROP FIRST-EVER GAMES IN CORVALLIS
Though they had played 21 times previously, San José State and Oregon State met Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time in Corvallis, Ore. The Spartans hung around in both games, especially Wednesday night when they held a 2-1 lead in the seventh, but fell by scores of 6-1 and 8-2.
REMATCH AT AIR FORCE ON DECK
The Spartans have their second Tuesday bye next week and will resume action at Air Force next weekend. The Falcons took the final two games of a three-game set at Municipal Stadium on March 6-8.
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 hit .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 threw 13.2 innings without allowing an earned run to start his Spartans career and leads the team with five saves in addition to starting 19 games at second base and posting a .206 batting average in 68 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 25, senior center fielder Andre Mercurio has 168 games played under his belt. The San Mateo, Calif., resident and Serra High School product owns a .290 career batting average in 645 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).