April 1, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE HEADS TO AIR FORCE FOR REMATCH
The Spartans will face a familiar opponent for the first time this season when they visit Air Force this weekend. Thursday and Friday's games will get underway at 3:00 p.m. MT/2:00 p.m. PT and the series will wrap up Saturday at 1:00 p.m. MT/12:00 p.m. PT. The Falcons took two of three games from the Spartans when the teams met in early March.
San José State (8-20, 2-10 MW) at Air Force (11-16, 5-7 MW)
Thurs.-Sat. · April 2-4 · 3:00 p.m. MT/2:00 PT, 3:00/2:00 p.m., 1:00/12:00 p.m.
Pitching Matchups: Thurs. -- RHP Matt Brown (1-4, 4.05) vs. RHP Griffin Jax (1-5, 3.88)
Fri. -- RHP Kalei Contrades (3-5, 3.50) vs. LHP Jacob DeVries (3-4, 6.18)
Sat. -- RHP Hilario Tovar (1-0, 7.06) vs. LHP Trent Monaghan (3-1, 2.17)
Live Video: www.sjsuspartans.com/videos
Live Stats: Via Gametracker & Statbroadcast
Radio: Mountain West Digital Network
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans
All-Time Series: San José State leads, 11-6
SPARTANS DROP SERIES TO NEVADA
San José State took the series opener from the Wolf Pack, 5-4, on a walk-off hit by pitch made possible by a stellar relief outing from Josh Nashed, but Nevada rebounded to take the last two games of the series. On Sunday, the Spartans left the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings in a 4-2 defeat.
SAN DIEGO STATE COMES TO TOWN NEXT WEEK
San Diego State, the current conference leader with a 10-2 record in Mountain West action, visits Municipal Stadium next week. First pitch on Friday will take place at 6:00 p.m. with the series continuing Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
The Spartans lead the all-time series 11-6 after dropping two of three to the Falcons on March 6-8. San José State won the first four games of the series with a win in the 1987 season and a three-game sweep during the 1997 campaign. The Falcons' first win in the series came in the second game of the 2010 Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament, when the Falcons topped the Spartans 5-4. Earlier this season, Kalei Contrades was dominant in a 2-0 victory on Friday night, working 8.0 innings and scattering four hits while fanning four.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
Led by fifth-year head coach Mike Kazlausky, the Falcons are 11-16 overall and 5-7 in Mountain West play. Air Force recently lost six in a row to Fresno State, Creighton and Jacksonville State, but enters the weekend with two consecutive wins. Sophomore Adam Groesbeck leads the team with a .342 average with a conference-best 14 doubles, a triple and three homers.
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
Four San José State freshmen -- Josh Nashed, Turtle Kuhaulua, Dylan Sugimoto and Corey Olivet -- 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 20 games at second base and posting a .208 batting average in 72 at-bats. Nashed had his best outing of the season against Nevada (3/27), tossing 4.2 innings of scoreless ball while scattering two hits to pick up the win. Olivet made his debut on the mound one day later and worked 2.0 scoreless frames while adding a hit at the plate.
MERCURIO A VETERAN IN THE FIELD
Through March 25, senior center fielder Andre Mercurio has 171 games played under his belt. The San Mateo, Calif., resident and Serra High School product owns a .289 career batting average in 655 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).