San José State (10-17, 3-8 MW) at Air Force (14-8, 4-4 MW)
Falcon Field (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Friday, April 8 3:00 p.m. MT
Saturday, April 9 (DH) 12:00 p.m. MT
Sunday, April 10 1:00 p.m. MT
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: TBA vs. TBA
Saturday (Gm. 1): TBA vs. TBA
Saturday (Gm. 2): TBA vs. TBA
Sunday: TBA vs. TBA
Live Video: Mountain West Digital Network (www.goairforcefalcons.com/videos)
Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) • facebook.com/SJSUSpartansBaseball
All-Time Series: San José State leads, 12-10
SAN JOSÉ STATE HEADS TO AIR FORCE FOR FOUR
The Spartans travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a four-game set with Air Force this weekend. The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader is a make-up of the March 13 rained out contest in San Jose. That game will be seven innings, with San José State being the home team.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
Overview: Air Force, led by sixth-year head coach Mike Kazlausky, sits at 14-8 overall and 4-4 in the Mountain West. The Falcons are coming off a road sweep at the hands of conference co-leader Fresno State before getting back on track with a midweek win over Northern Colorado. They enter the weekend with a 6-1 record at Falcon Field this season, with the only loss coming to Omaha.
Pitching: The Falcons have posted a scalding .326 team batting average through 22 games. Junior OF Adam Groesbeck leads the conference and is 10th in the nation with a .444 average. He has walked six times, tripled six times, homered once and driven in 22 runs. Six of the nine regular starters are hitting at a .300 clip or higher, and Tyler Jones is tied for second in the Mountain West with seven long balls this season.
Offense: Air Force brings a 4.22 team ERA into the weekend - the second-best mark in the conference. Griffin Jax, who stymied the Spartans in March, sits atop the Mountain West with a 1.14 ERA and a .174 average against. Nick Biancalana (4.33 ERA), Trent Monaghan (5.73 ERA) and Jacob DeVries (5.76 ERA) round out the likely starters this weekend, though none have been announced. Austin McDaniel leads the club with 15.2 innings and a pair of saves out of the bullpen.
The Spartans lead the all-time series with the Falcons, 12-10. In mid-March, San José State split a doubleheader with Air Force. Griffin Jax pitched the Falcons to a 7-2 victory in the opener, but the Spartans jumped all over Jacob DeVries and held on for a 9-5 win in the nightcap. San José State is looking for its first win in Colorado Springs since the series opener in May of 2014 after being handed a sweep last season.
THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
San José State made the trek to San Luis Obispo last weekend and came out with its first series win of the season. Cal Poly took the opener, 7-4, despite the Spartans holding a 4-1 lead in the third inning. Trailing 3-2 entering the eighth inning of Saturday’s contest, the Spartans plated six runs and rallied for an 8-5 win. It marked the Mustangs’ third home loss of the season and first to a team other than UCLA. San José State followed up with a 9-7 win in a back-and-forth contest on Sunday to take the series.
WHAT’S ON DECK
San José State closes out its nine-game road swing with a visit to Stanford on Tuesday, April 12. The midweek matchup, the back end of a home-and-home with the Cardinal, gets underway at 5:30 p.m. from Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
THE SHANE TRAIN
Sophomore first baseman Shane Timmons has gotten off to a tremendous start in 2016. He has hit safely in 21 of the 25 games he has played in this season, including multi-hit outings in 13 of those. His 50 total bases, 36 hits and 16 RBIs are among the top-20 in the Mountain West in their respective categories. Timmons is also alone or tied for the top spot on the team in batting average (.371) and on-base percentage (.430). He is currently riding a 20-game reached-base streak, and has just one error in 245 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. Six of the probable starting position players and three of the starting pitchers this week are underclassmen. Corey Olvet (So. - OF), Cal Koga (Fr. - C) and Kyle Morrison (So. - INF) represent three more underclassmen who will compete for time throughout the season.
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