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Spartans Receive Academic All-WAC Honors

By Amy Villa, Associate Athletics Media Relations Director

After working hard in the classroom and in their respective sport, 41 San Jose State University student-athletes from 12 sports have received Academic All-Western Athletic Conference honors for the 2010-11 season.

Honored were student-athletes from the spring sports – baseball, softball, men’s golf, women’s golf, softball and women’s tennis.  Also recognized by the WAC are freshmen and transfers for all sports during the 2010-11 school year.

To receive this honor, the student-athlete must have completed at least on academic year, have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average and participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s contests.

San Jose State had 95 student-athletes honored as Academic All-WAC award winners and 12 recognized as Academic All-MPSF by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for the 2010-11 school year.

2011 San Jose State Spring Sports Academic All-WAC Honorees

Anthony Bona, Jr.
Andy Hennessey, Jr.
Kerry Jenkins, Sr.
Blake McFarland, Sr.
Jason Martin, Sr.
Tim Quiery, So.
Danny Stienstra, Sr.

Cheryl Freitas, So.
BranDee Garcia, So.
Breanna Lopez, Jr.

Men’s Golf
Nick Brown, Jr.
Mark Hubbard, Sr.

Women’s Golf
Katrina Delen-Briones, Sr.
Jody Ho, Jr.

Women’s Tennis
Sandra Florea, So.
Olivia Marshall, Sr.
Chau Truong, So.

2010-11 Academic All-WAC Freshmen And Transfers

Michael DiRocco, Fr.

Men’s Basketball
Wil Carter, Jr.
Keith Shamburger, Fr.

Women’s Basketball
Sara Plavljanin, Jr.
AJ Newton, Fr.

Vince Buhagiar, Fr.
Nicholas Kaspar, Fr.
Keith Smith, Fr.

Women’s Golf
Tiffany Nichols, Fr.
Rachelle Reali, Fr.

Julia Greer, Fr.
Cassandra Harrison, Fr.

Maria Esquivias, Fr.
Alex Jimenez, Fr.
Cheryl Kute, Fr.

Jessica Garcia, Fr.
Janessa Gutierrez, Fr.

Swimming and Diving
Darcie Anderson, Fr.
Christina Bergis, Fr.
Karly Brown, Fr.

Women’s Tennis
Sabastiani Leon Chao, Fr.
Emily Prescott, Fr.


Hannah Blume, Fr.
Sarah Griest, Fr.

Pitcher right after throwing a ball wearing SJSU jersey blue and gold with white pants.

Jones An Olerud Award Semifinalist

Pitcher right after throwing a ball wearing SJSU jersey blue and gold with white pants.

Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State’s Zack Jones is among 10 athletes who are still competing for the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.

“Our voters will have another very difficult job as they choose between the ten semifinalists,” said Randy Norman, Olerud Award committee co-chair. “The players on the list have some great statistics.”

Jones, an infielder/designated hitter/right-handed pitcher, finished the 2011 season batting .316 (49-for-155) with seven doubles, three triples and three home runs.  He scored 29 runs and knocked in 26 more.  On the mound he racked up 10 saves while striking out 53 batters in 43.0 innings

Four of the Olerud Award semifinalists are playing for teams that advanced to the Super Regional round of the post-season, including Brian Hernandez of UC Irvine, Brian Johnson of Florida, Danny Hultzen of Virginia and Mike McGee of Florida State. McGee won the inaugural award in 2010.

The winner of the Olerud Award will be announced in Lubbock, Texas, on July 3 as part of the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions.

The Brooks Wallace Award, National Pitcher of the Year Award, Johnny Bench Award and Dick Howser Trophy will also be announced on the Night of Champions, plus the National College Baseball Hall of Fame class for 2011 will be inducted.

2011 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award Semifinalists

Cody Fick (Evansville)
Brian Hernandez (UC Irvine)
Danny Hultzen (Virginia)
Brian Johnson (Florida)
Zack Jones (San Jose State)
Ben Koenigsfeld (Army)
Mike McGee (Florida State)
Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton)
Bo Reeder (East Tenn. State)
Paul Snieder (Northwestern)

Roberto Padilla in mid throw wearing white pants and a blue baseball jersey.

Three Spartans Selected In MLB Draft

Roberto Padilla in mid throw wearing white pants and a blue baseball jersey.

Roberto Padilla is the 10th Spartan to be selected in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft. (Photo by Terrell Lloyd).

Three members of the San Jose State baseball team were selected on day two of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft.

The first Spartan to be taken was left-handed starting pitcher Roberto Padilla.  He was chosen in the eighth round by the Colorado Rockies with the 258th overall pick.  He was followed by first baseman Danny Stienstra (12th round, 380th pick) and right-handed starting pitcher Esteban Guzman (17th round, 517th pick) who were taken in by the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, respectively.

“Anytime an athlete is selected in the draft it shows a tremendous amount of respect for his talent and ability,” head coach Sam Piraro said.  “I’m so happy for these three young men first-and-foremost, but it also says we as an organization and a university are doing things right.”

Padilla led San Jose State with a 3.19 ERA and a 9-6 record.  In 98.2 innings he struck out 81 batters, both tops on the team.  A junior, he was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection and earned WAC Pitcher of the Week honors for his complete game, 5-3 victory over No. 2 UCLA back in February.  Padilla is the 10th Spartan to be drafted in the top-10 rounds of the MLB Draft in the last 30 years.

“It’s hard to put into words how I feel right now,” said Padilla, who was following the draft at a family get together.  “I guess relieved would be a good word.  I was drafted last year, so I kind of knew the drill, but until your name is called it is nerve-wracking.

“I knew I would go in the first 10 rounds and had talked with the (Baltimore) Orioles earlier today, but being selected by the Rockies really came out of the blue.  I had been in contact with them earlier this season, but didn’t think they were that interested.”

“I know Roberto is tremendously excited,” Piraro said.  “He is a special young man with a lot of talent and he has a bright future in front of him.”

Stienstra, a senior, was the Spartans leading hitter with a .349 average and led the WAC with 84 hits.  He was a first-team All-WAC selection and a CoSIDA/Capital One first-team Academic All-District 8 honoree.  Among his accomplishments on the diamond this season, Stienstra led San Jose State in runs (42), RBI (54) and doubles (15) while starting all 61 games.

“I got a call on my cell phone while I was working out and it was a scout from the Cardinals telling me I had been drafted,” Stienstra said.  “To be honest, I wasn’t even paying attention to the draft and was a bit surprised that I was taken in the 12th round.

“I am really glad that I have an opportunity to keep playing baseball.  I am so grateful to the Cardinals organization for giving me a chance.  I wasn’t sure what I would be doing next year, but now I know and I am real excited.”

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Baseball team in uniform lined up for a group photo.

Baseball Head To WAC Tournament As The Fifth Seed

Baseball team in uniform lined up for a group photo.

Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State will face a very familiar foe in their opening game of the 2011 Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament.  As the fifth seed, they take on the fourth seed Nevada Wolf Pack in the first game of the tournament which begins on Wednesday, May 25.


vs. #4 NEVADA (23-29, 12-12 WAC)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 25 – 3:00 P.M.
(San Jose State Leads The All-Time Series, 81-68)
(Nevada Leads The Season Series, 3-1)

The Wolf Pack enter the WAC Tournament with an overall record of 23-29, 12-12 in WAC regular season play.  By virtue of their three games to one series win over the Spartans last weekend, they finished in a tie with Louisiana Tech for third place in the conference.  With Louisiana Tech holding the tie-breaker over the Wolf Pack, Nevada is the fourth seed and take on the fifth seed Spartans at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Spartans hold an 81-68 lead in the all-time series and have a slim 4-3 lead in WAC Tournament games against the Wolf Pack.  SJSU has won the last three postseason meetings with Nevada (6-0 and 7-6 in 2010 and 5-3 in 2009).

The Wolf Pack offense is led by the No. 4 hitter in the WAC Brock Stassi, who is batting .376 (71-for-189) overall.  He leads the team in hits, doubles (19) and RBI (34).  Nick Melino is Nevada’s top run scorer (40) and is batting .312 (59-for-189).  His 59 knocks are good for second on the team as are his 18 doubles and four home runs.  As a team Nevada is batting .276, fourth best in the league.

As a pitching staff, the Wolf Pack has a 5.38 ERA.  The No. 6 staff in the WAC has tossed 437.0 innings, have given up 536 hits and 200 walks while striking out 271 batters.  Opponents are hitting .310 off of them.

The Spartans will likely face Troy Marks or Tom Jameson, Nevada’s starters from last Thursday and Friday, respectively.  Marks (2-5, 3.88 ERA) got the nod last Thursday at Fresno State.  He threw five innings and allowed five runs on six hits in a 7-1 loss.  It was his eighth start in 16 appearances.  He has been in there for 67.1 innings this season and surrendered 29 earned runs while striking out 50.  Opponents are hitting .238 off him.  Jameson (5-6, 5.05 ERA) was the Friday starter and earned the 11-4 victory over the Spartans.  In 76.2 innings he has struck out 36 and given up 43 earned runs.  Opponents hit .321 off him.

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Michael DiRocco seconds after swining the bat. He is wearing a blue helmet and a blue jersey with a white baseball bat.

Baseball Wins 3-0 In 11

Michael DiRocco seconds after swining the bat. He is wearing a blue helmet and a blue jersey with a white baseball bat.

Michael DiRocco hit a two-run double to propell San Jose State over Sacramento State 3-0 in 11 innings on Sunday.

San Jose State broke a 0-0 tie with a three-run 11th inning to defeat the Sacramento State Hornets 3-0 and take three of four in a Western Athletic Conference weekend series.

The win improves the Spartans record to 30-16, 9-7 in WAC play.  Sacramento State falls to 2-10 in league and 15-31 overall.

In the top of the 11th Danny Stienstra led off with a single to right.  Andrew Rodriguez was hit by a pitch from Hornet Brandon Creel to move Stienstra into scoring position.  Nick Borg hit into an apparent 4-6-3 double play, but the exchange at second pulled the shortstop off the bag and the Hornets recorded just the out at first.  An intentional walk to Tyler Christian loaded the bases.

Michael DiRocco then hit a chop just over the outstretched glove of the Hornets third baseman Will Soto and down the left field line plating two runs of the game.

“I was just trying to get the ball in the air and score at least one run when I came up,” DiRocco said.  “When it got 2-2 and I wanted to put the ball in play.  Luckily it went over the third baseman’s head.  I will take that any day and honestly it was really hot out there and I wanted to get the game over with.”

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McFarland Wins Pitcher’s Duel

Blake McFarland, wearing a SJSU jersey and cap with white pants, after throwing the ball leaning over with one foot off the ground. Photo courtesy Spartan Athletics.

In a duel between two of the top pitchers in the Western Athletic Conference, San Jose State’s Blake McFarland shutout Mike Jefferson and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 4-0 on Sunday in Municipal Stadium.

The win improves the Spartans record to 26-15 overall, 6-6 in WAC play.  Louisiana Tech falls to 19-21 overall and 4-8 in conference action.  San Jose State takes three-of-four games in the series.

McFarland, who runs his record to 5-2, tossed his first complete game of the year and the first shutout of his Spartans career.  He scattered five hits and tied a career high with nine strike outs.  He did not allow more than one hit in any inning and just twice had runners move into scoring position.

His only real threats came in the fourth when McFarland loaded the bases with two outs, but got a fly out to end the threat.  In the seventh, Louisiana Tech had runners on first and second with two outs and McFarland induced a groundout to end the inning.

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Jason Martin right after hitting the ball. He is wearing grey pants and a blue shirt.

Martin Sets Hits Record In Win At UCSB

Jason Martin right after hitting the ball. He is wearing grey pants and a blue shirt.

Jason Martin has set the career hits record with 249 and counting after a 7-3 win at UCSB. Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics

A two-RBI single by Jason Martin capped a four-run first inning and established him as the San Jose State career hits leader in a 7-3 Spartans win over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Saturday afternoon in Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

With the win the Spartans assure themselves of their third straight road-series win in as many tries.  Their overall record is now 19-7 while UCSB is now 11-11.

Martin, who came into the game tied with Kevin Frandsen at 246 career hits, went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run.  In the first two games of this series he is 6-for-10 with three runs and three RBI.

“I’ve been working on getting more comfortable at the plate,” Martin said.  “I’m taking my time, trying to see more pitches and remain really confident.  It has been working the past few games and regardless of what happens in any individual at-bat, I am staying with the approach and it is working for me.”

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