April 13, 2015
SAN JOSÉ STATE TRAVELS TO SAINT MARY'S IN MIDWEEK ACTION
The Spartans open a 10-game road swing when they head north to Moraga for a rematch with the Saint Mary's Gaels of the West Coast Conference on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. from Louis Gusto Field. San José State hosted the Gaels on March 17 and nearly erased a four-run deficit in the ninth inning before falling, 8-6.
San José State (9-26, 3-15 MW) at Saint Mary's (19-16, 6-9 WCC)
Tues. · April 14 · 3:00 p.m. PT
Pitching Matchup: Tues. -- LHP Jonathan Hernandez (0-2, 7.11) vs. LHP Wes Malik (2-2, 5.19)
Live Video: TheW.tv
Live Stats: Via Statbroadcast
Social Media: @SJSUAthletics | @SJSUBaseball | #GoSpartans
All-Time Series: San José State leads, 99-48
The Spartans lead the all-time series, 99-48, after dropping the first game of this year's home-and-home set back in March. In that game, SMC's projected Tuesday starter, Wes Malik, came out of the bullpen and picked up his first collegiate win by working 3.0 innings of one-run ball and steadying the ship after the Spartans touched starter Jake Valdez for three early runs.
SCOUTING SAINT MARYS
Led by second-year head coach Eric Valenzuela, the Gaels sit at 19-16 and 9-6 in West Coast Conference play. Saint Mary's enters Tuesday's tilt on a five-game skid, having lost the last two games of its home series against LMU and being swept at Gonzaga last weekend. The Gaels boast the 16th-best team batting average (.304) in the country and feature eight players with significant playing time that have averages over .300. Anthony Villa (4 HRs, 27 RBIs) and Collin Ferguson (5 HRs, 25 RBIs) lead SMC in those categories.
ROAD TRIP CONTINUES WITH FOUR-GAME SET AT WASHINGTON STATE
The Spartans will play their final nonconference weekend series of the season when they visit Washington State next weekend for four games. Thursday and Friday's action will get underway at 6:00 p.m., while Saturday will be a 2:00 p.m. start and Sunday a 1:00 p.m. first pitch.
SPARTANS TAKE ONE FROM MW-LEADING SAN DIEGO STATE
San José State dropped the first two games of its home series against San Diego State last weekend but managed to pull out a convincing 11-2 win over the Aztecs in the series finale. In that game, Kalei Contrades scattered three hits over 7.0 innings and the Spartans' offense collected 13 hits.
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 18 games at second base and posting a .211 batting average in 76 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 April 12, senior center fielder Andre Mercurio has 178 games played under his belt. The San Mateo, Calif., resident and Serra High School product owns a .285 career batting average in 684 at-bats with a .997 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. Myles Richard, the third senior on the 2015 Spartans, transferred 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).