LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The seventh-seeded San José State baseball team (19-36) opened up the 2014 Mountain West Championship with an 11-3 victory over No. 6 Air Force (20-34) on Wednesday afternoon from Earl E. Wilson Stadium, on the campus of UNLV.
With the victory, SJSU advances to face the tournament’s No. 3 seed, San Diego State (37-18, 17-13 MW) in the second game on Wednesday scheduled for 3 p.m. PT.
Junior right-hander Kalei Contrades took the mound for the Spartans to lead the charge with a career-high 11 strikeouts in a complete game performance in his seventh start of the year. Contrades, a former closer, now moves to 5-2 on the season in his first complete game of the season.
“All the credit goes to the defense and the hitters making me feel comfortable. Most of the game I was looking to keep the ball down to limit the hits and it worked out for me today,” Contrades said.
As a team, SJSU got to work early-and-often offensively in their first-ever appearance in Mountain West postseason play. The Spartans finished with 16 hits on way to their 11 runs scored.
“We weren’t trying too hard at the plate, but it starts at the mound with Contrades,” SJSU head coach Dave Nakama said.
Senior second baseman Jacob Valdez led the Spartans with three RBIs after going 3-for-5 on the day with one run scored. Fellow senior catcher Kyle Gallegos added two RBIs after going 3-for-3 from the plate to help extend his team’s season.
Air Force senior starting pitcher Cameron White was charged with the loss after surrendering seven earned runs on 12 hits in six innings on 101 pitches. During the sixth inning, White became the MW’s all-time career leader in innings pitched, reaching the 329 inning mark with the second out of the frame. Left fielder Jake Schomaker and second baseman Noah Pierce finished 2-for-4 for the Falcons offensively.