Baseball to Begin Seven-Game Road Stretch at San Jose State
April 4, 2013
RUSTON, La. - After a 12-game home stand, Louisiana Tech will make its way to the West Coast to face Western Athletic Conference opponent San Jose State beginning at 8 p.m. CT Friday at Municipal Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
Tech (11-19, 1-5 WAC) is coming off a series sweep at the hands of UT Arlington at home and is looking to mirror the results from last season when the Bulldogs swept San Jose State (9-20, 3-3 WAC) in a weekend series in Ruston.
"We have to go out there and be ready to go," head coach Wade Simoneaux. "We are going to stick Maton on them Friday night and we are going to break out the sticks and drive in runs and play ball the way we are capable of. We are going to continue to tweak the lineup. We have four or five mainstays that are going to be in there, and there are eight to ten candidates for those other four spots. We are going to mix and match until we do find the right lineup."
Although the Bulldogs have won the last four meetings against the Spartans, San Jose State leads the all-time series 32-23 with its latest victory dating back to 2011. San Jose State, now under the direction of first-year head coach Dave Nakama, is coming off a 2-1 series victory over UTSA on the road and opened WAC play the previous weekend with two losses to Dallas Baptist at home. Most recently, the Spartans fell to St. Mary's College, 9-8, in midweek road action.
After Friday night's contest, the series against the Spartans will resume with the second and third games scheduled for a 3 p.m. CT start for both Saturday and Sunday at Municipal Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
AT THE PLATE
Junior shortstop Ryan Gebhardt continues to lead all Bulldogs at the plate with a .294 average in 29 games. The Monroe native leads Tech in hits (32), runs batted in (16), total bases (41) and at bats (109). Outfielder Bre'shon Kimbell has also enjoyed success at the plate as of late, as the sophomore has reached base safely in 10 straight games. Kimbell is tied for the team lead in doubles with seven thus far and is hitting .230 overall in 2013.
As a team, San Jose State is hitting .278 with 39 doubles, five triples and four home runs on the season. The Spartans are led at the plate by junior catcher Sheldon Daquioag, who is hitting .397 in 2013 with seven doubles, two home runs and a .449 on base percentage in 18 appearances for San Jose State. Outfielder Andre Mercurio has also been a force at the plate for the Spartans, as the sophomore leads the team in hits (37), runs scored (20) and at bats (116). Mercurio is hitting .319 on the year.
ON THE MOUND
After staying consistent with the pitching rotation for the first half of the 2013 campaign, Simoneaux and the Bulldogs will welcome a change this weekend on the mound. Sophomore right hander Phil Maton has been a mainstay on the mound for Tech since joining the team in 2012 and will continue as the Friday night starter for the squad. Maton (4-2) has a team-leading 2.22 ERA this season and leads the WAC in strikeouts this season with a total of 51. Maton is also 21st in the NCAA Division I Baseball rankings in strikeouts and is 36th in strikeouts per nine innings with an average of 10.28.
In game two, Tech will send right hander Jamie Gilley to the mound in what will be his first start of the season after making 11 appearances out of the Bulldog bullpen this season. Gilley (1-1) has posted a 3.38 ERA in 26.2 innings pitched while striking out 26 batters he has faced this season, and while the Benton native has not started a game this season, Gilley began last season as the No. 2 starter for the Bulldogs and started six games for Tech as a junior.
Senior right hander Trevor Petersen will move from Saturday's starter and get things kicked off in the third and final game of the series on Sunday. Petersen (2-2) has recorded a 3.24 ERA in eight appearances and seven starts in 2013, and in his latest outing against UT Arlington, he struck out a season-high five batters he faced while receiving the no decision in a game that was decided at the end of 14 innings last Saturday.
As for the Spartans, San Jose State will send left hander David Wayne Russo to start things off versus the Bulldogs Friday night. Russo (3-3) has an earned run average of 4.06 in eight appearances and six starts. The Spartans will go with right hander D.J. Slaton (1-4) in the second game of the series on Saturday and are undecided on Sunday's starter.
LAST 5 MEETINGS (SAN JOSE STATE LEADS 32-23)
5/6/12 - LA Tech 4, San Jose State 1 (Ruston, La.)
5/5/12 - LA Tech 10, San Jose State 5 (Ruston, La.)
5/4/12 - LA Tech 4, San Jose State 3 (Ruston, La.)
5/27/11 - LA Tech 9, San Jose State 5 (Mesa, Ariz. - WAC Tournament)
4/23/11 - San Jose State 4, LA Tech 0 (San Jose, Calif.)
FOLLOW THE ACTION
All three games can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM with Dave Nitz calling all the action from Municipal Stadium in San Jose, Calif. The games can also be heard on LA Tech All-Access with play-by-play available for each contest. Fans can also follow along with live stats, which will be available by accessing the link on the schedule page on www.LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech athletics at www.LATechSports.com.
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