May 19, 2014
SPARTANS FACE AIR FORCE IN MW CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-IN GAME
In its inaugural season in the Mountain West (MW), San José State baseball is playing in its first MW Championship tournament beginning Wednesday, May 21. SJSU is 11-23 overall in 11 conference championship tournament appearances in program history. A 10-3 victory over Nevada in the 2011 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship tournament was San José State's last win. The seventh-seeded Spartans will take on the sixth-seeded Air Force Falcons in an elimination play-in game to kickoff the tournament at 11:00 a.m. PDT Wednesday morning. It will be the fourth meeting in less than two weeks between the teams, as the Falcons took two out of three games from the Spartans on May 9-10. A loss sends the Spartans home, but a win enters them into the double-elimination bracket where third-seeded San Diego State awaits for a 3:00 p.m. game.
2014 MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 21-25
EARL E. WILSON STADIUM (3,000)
LAS VEGAS, NEV.
#7-SAN JOSÉ STATE vs. #6 AIR FORCE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 11:00 AM PDT
RHP Kalei Contrades (4-2, 2.43) vs. RHP CAMERON WHITE (4-7, 3.92)
#7-SAN JOSÉ STATE/#6-AIR FORCE vs. #3 SAN DIEGO STATE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 3:00 PM PDT
TBA vs. TBA
SJSU CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNEY HISTORY
The last conference championship tournament appearance for the Spartans was in 2013 at the WAC Championship in Grand Prairie, Texas. San José State is 11-23 all-time in conference tournament play. The team is 8-12 all-time in conference tourney games against current Mountain West opponents. Six of the eight have come against Nevada. The Spartans are trying to end a four-game losing streak in conference tournament play which dates back to the 2011 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship in Mesa, Ariz. SJSU has won four regular season championships (1971 Big West, 1997, 2000 and 2009 WAC), but have never won a championship tournament.
Seventh-seeded San José State and sixth-seeded Air Force will kick the tournament off with a play-in game at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The winner advances to double-elimination where three seed San Diego State awaits for a 3:00 p.m. start. The MW co-regular season champions UNLV and New Mexico will have first round byes. Top-seeded UNLV will face the lowest seed to come out of the first round of games. Nevada and Fresno State as the four and five seeds respectively will meet in the opening round. The highest seed to prevail from the first round will take on New Mexico. Click the title link to take a look at the MW championship bracket in full.
MW TOURNAMENT STREAMED LIVE
Every tournament game will be streamed live and free on the Mountain West Network (TheMW.com). Rich Cellini will call the play-by-play with Paul Loeffler and David Lombardi sharing the color analyst duties from Earl E. Wilson Stadium.
GET CONNECTED WITH THE MW TOURNAMENT
Keep up with @SJSUAthletics and @SJSUBaseball on twitter this week to chronicle the Spartans' action at the MW tournament. The Mountain West will be providing tournament updates via Facebook (Facebook.com/MountainWestConference), YouTube (YouTube.com/MountainWestConf), Twitter (@MW_OlySports) and Instagram (@MountainWestConference). Fans can also get immediate updates at the MW Championship Central page.
COMEBACK WIN AT STANFORD ENDS REGULAR SEASON
SJSU rides into the tournament this week after a 10-8 comeback win against Stanford in the final regular season game. After trailing 4-0 through three innings, the Spartans rallied for a four-run fourth and a five run sixth to defeat the Cardinal. Eight of nine hitters in the Spartans order reached base and scored a run in the contest. Michael Wright walked away with this second win of the year, and SJSU eclipsed its win total from a year ago by one with the result.
SPARTANS PLAY .500 BALL HEADING INTO TOURNEY
The 18-39 Spartans played their last 12 games of the regular season right at .500. They won their first MW series of the year by taking two of three from Fresno State (5/2-4) and ended with a 10-8 win at Stanford on the final day of the regular season. SJSU's .285 batting average during the stretch is 25 points higher than the team's overall average.
CONTRADES LOOKS TO CONTINUE DOMINANCE
Junior right-hander Kalei Contrades has made the last three consecutive Friday starts for San José State. During that stretch he is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA spanning 26 1/3 innings. He threw nine innings in two of the three starts, and came up with wins over Fresno State at Air Force in his final two appearances. In seven appearances since April 5, Contrades has allowed seven earned runs in 37 2/3 innings for a 1.67 ERA earning two wins and a save.
BULLPEN ANSWERS CALL DOWN THE STRETCH
During 15 appearances in the final two weeks of the season, the bullpen core of Myles Richard, James Glawe, Michael Wright, and Ross Slaney posted a combined 2.72 ERA. Compare that to the team's overall ERA which finished at a Mountain West worst 5.53. Myles Richard racked up four saves in five appearances and has become head coach Dave Nakama's go-to guy to get the final out. Glawe, Wright and Slaney all had a sub-three ERA during the two-week stretch leading up to the conference tournament.
GALLEGOS STREAKING INTO MW CHAMPIONSHIP
Catcher Kyle Gallegos is riding an eight-game hit streak into the MW tournament during which he's batting .469 with seven runs. Gallegos has registered 15 of his team-leading 62 hits during the hit streak. Andre Mercurio has also hit safely in eight straight while batting .333.
FRESHMAN LEADS 2014 BATTING CHARGE
Freshman Brett Bautista certainly didn't disappoint in his first season as a Spartan. He led the team during the regular season with a .315 batting average in 184 at-bats over 50 games. The Granite Bay (Calif.) High School graduate scored 23 runs and knocked 11 doubles while maintaining the team's second-highest on-base percentage of .373.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
Air Force is making its second consecutive appearance in the tournament after a six-year absence. The Falcons hold a 3-16 championship record over eight appearances. The Falcons got one win last weekend against New Mexico, and lost the other two by one run each. Air Force's RHP Cameron White will meet SJSU's righty Kalei Contrades on Wednesday. Those same pitchers battled two Fridays ago when the Spartans pulled out a 4-2 victory in 10 innings. The Falcons returned the favor then next day by sweeping a doubleheader with two one-run wins including one in 11 innings.