April 25, 2016
San José State (12-27, 5-16 MW) at Pacific Tigers (17-20, 8-10 WCC)
Klein Family Field (Stockton, Calif.)
Tuesday, April 26 6:30 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
Tuesday: RHP Jake Swiech (0-2, 5.19 ERA) vs. RHP Taylor Johnson (3-2, 4.50 ERA)
Live Video: TheW.tv
Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) • facebook.com/SJSUSpartansBaseball
All-Time Series: San José State leads, 89-78.
SAN JOSÉ STATE’S ROAD TRIP CONCLUDES WITH TRIP TO PACIFIC
The Spartans close out their five-game road swing with a trip to Stockton to take on the Pacific Tigers on Tuesday night. The 6:30 p.m. contest marks the back end of a home-and-home set with the Tigers this season, after the Spartans were victorious at Municipal Stadium on March 1. Tuesday night’s game will be streamed live via theW.tv.
Overview: Pacific, led by first-year head coach Mike Neu, sits at 17-20 overall and 8-10 in the West Coast Conference. The Tigers took a six-game win streak into the weekend against LMU and extended it to seven with a win on Friday, but dropped the next two games. They have won 11 of their last 19 contests after going 6-12 over the first 18.
Offense: The Bulldogs have posted a .279 team batting average this season. Gio Brusa is hitting at a team-best .352 clip so far and has scored 27 runs while posting 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. Nate Verlin (.315) is the only other Tiger above the .300 mark. Danny Mayer (.282) has slugged 11 doubles and 11 home runs while driving in 30 runs and scoring 34. Pacific does not have a bonafide base-stealing threat, but nine different players have swiped a bag this season and the team is 21-for-33 overall.
Pitching: Pacific brings a 4.94 ERA into Tuesday’s showdown. Taylor Johnson is scheduled to start his sixth game of the season Tuesday night. The sophomore right-hander owns a 3-2 record and a 4.50 ERA in 28.0 innings thus far. He is a strike thrower but not especially overpowering, as evidenced by his three walks and 13 strikeouts. Vince Arobio leads the club with four saves.
The Spartans lead the all-time series with the Tigers, 89-78. When the teams met at Municipal Stadium in March, Pacific took a 7-2 lead into the ninth and saw San José State score six runs to pull of an 8-7 walk-off thriller. The Spartans have not won at Klein Family Field since 2012, when they took both games in Stockton.
THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
San José State traveled to Fresno State over the weekend and came away with a win in the series finale. The Bulldogs grabbed the first two games behind a dominant pitching performance by Ricky Tyler Thomas on Friday and a five-run first inning on Saturday, but the Spartans rebounded with a 12-inning victory on Sunday. After Fresno State tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, the teams traded zeroes until the top of the 12th, when Aaron Pleschner delivered a sacrifice fly to put the Spartans up for good.
WHAT’S ON DECK
San José State kicks off its longest remaining homestand of the season when it hosts UNLV this weekend. The series gets underway Friday at 6:00 p.m. and continues Saturday at 2:00 p.m. before wrapping up Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
OZZY DOES IT
Senior Ozzy Braff is putting together another impressive season on the heels of last year’s Second Team All-Mountain West performance. Braff is currently second on the team with a .338 average and leads the club in several categories, including slugging percentage (.576), on-base percentage (.406), RBIs (22), home runs (6), total bases (80), hits (47), triples (3), games played (38), stolen bases (4) and assists (107). He has only been under .300 for the season at the conclusion of a game five times this year, and reached base in 24 consecutive games earlier in the campaign.
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 Olivet (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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