Baseball Heads To Long Beach State In Nonconference Showdown

Jonathan Hernandez will make his second start of the season.
May 13, 2016

GAMES 50-52

San José State (16-33, 6-21 MW) at Long Beach State (28-18, 11-7 Big West)

Blair Field (Long Beach, Calif.)

Friday, May 13                  6:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 14              2:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 15                 1:00 p.m.


Friday: LHP Jonathan Hernandez (1-1, 1.31 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Mathewson (5-4, 3.71 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Josh Nashed (0-4, 5.05 ERA) vs. RHP Darren McCaughan (7-1, 2.33 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Hilario Tovar 2-3, 6.23 ERA) vs. RHP Tanner Brown (6-3, 3.47 ERA)

Live Video: None
Radio: None
Social Media: @SJSUBaseball (Twitter, Instagram) •

All-Time Series: San José State trails, 37-27-1

The Spartans play their final road and nonconference games of the season when they take on Long Beach State at Blair Field this weekend. The series kicks off Friday at 6:00 p.m. and continues Saturday at 2:00 p.m. before wrapping up Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Live streaming will not be available.

Overview: Long Beach State, led by sixth-year head coach Troy Buckley, sits at 28-18 on the season and 11-7 in Big West action, good for second place. The Dirtbags have won seven of their last nine games, including a home sweep of Cal Poly. They are 18-9 at home on the campaign and have lost only one series. In midweek action against MW schools, they are 2-2.
Offense: The Dirtbags have posted a .263 team batting average thus far. Daniel Jackson and Garrett Hampson lead the way with .343 and .321 averages, respectively. Luke Rasmussen is just under the .300 plateau at at .294 and owns team highs in home runs (5), doubles (12) and RBIs (36). Hampson has scored almost twice as many runs (43) and has 15 more hits than the next closest Dirtbag.
Pitching: LBSU brings a 3.41 ERA into the weekend. Projected Saturday starter Darren McCaughan owns a team-best 7-1 record with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts. He has struck out 68 in 81.0 innings on the bump. Friday night hurler Chris Mathewson has punched out 85 hitters in 77.2 frames. Austin McGeorge leads the bullpen with a miniscule 0.65 ERA in 26 appearances, and Chris Rivera has notched 13 saves.

The Spartans trail the all-time series with the Dirtbags, 32-27-1. The teams last met in the first game of the 2002 NCAA Regionals at Stanford, with LBSU pulling out a 6-3 win. In the last regular season meeting, Long Beach State grabbed a series win in San Jose in 1996. The Spartans last won a series at Blair Field in 1988.

San José State traveled to Nevada over the weekend and ran into a red-hot Wolf Pack squad that entered the weekend on a six-game win streak and extended it to nine by the time it was all said and done. Despite collecting 27 hits over three games - including a whopping 13 doubles - the Spartans were never able to hold a lead for more than a couple innings at a time.

San José State wraps up the 2016 regular season slate when it hosts San Diego State next weekend. The series kicks off Thursday and Friday at 6:00 p.m. before wrapping up Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The Spartans’ six seniors will be honored before the game.

Senior Ozzy Braff is putting together another impressive season on the heels of last year’s Second Team All-Mountain West performance. In addition to his second-best .301 batting average, Braff owns club-bests in slugging percentage (.511), home runs (6), total bases (90), triples (4), games played (48), stolen bases (7) and assists (137). 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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