After a disappointing trip to Hawai'i where the San Jose State baseball team dropped 3 of 4 against the Rainbows, the Spartans found their groove on Friday - sweeping a doubleheader to open their four-game series against Louisiana Tech. SJSU head coach Sam Piraro talked about the games, his pitching, the 10-game home winning streak, and more.
Keys to the first game:
"I thought the biggest part of the first game was when they went ahead 3-0 and we were able to come back and answer that. That was huge for us. We had some good at-bats. We had a great two-out rally in the 8th where they made an error and we converted it into five runs."
On the second game
"We carried the momentum into that game. We scored four runs in the first two innings to give Ryan Shopshire a little bit of a cushion and he ran with it. Defensively we were outstanding. We made every play that had to be made and more. I though we played very crisply on defense, our pitching was sound, and we had some timely hitting."
"We got two good pitching performances. In the first game David Berner was not real sharp early. By the fourth inning he found not only his velocity but the caliber of his breaking pitch and changeup.
"Shopshire had good command, he had three pitches working. He had a based loaded thing he worked out of. He had a (bases loaded) situation and he was facing the meat of their order. He didn't buckle, he actually got stronger, which we were very pleased with. He had better velocity and better movement on his breaking stuff. From a confidence standpoint for him that has to be tremendous."
On the games at Hawai'i
"Hawai'i is a great venue and a tough opponent. They broke their attendance records that weekend. Hawai'i is a very good team and they're tough at home. We were in every game and we had a chance to win three of the four, we led in three. We weren't able to finish the games. I don't think we played poorly, Hawai'i was just better then we were that particular weekend. They got the bigger hits, they finished the games off better than we did. Our guys played their butts off. We were disappointed in the way we finished the games. One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we want to finish games, to run with the game from the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. We didn't do that."
On what he told the team after the Hawai'i series.
"You don't want to know, I really wouldn't be able to say that (in public)."
On what they worked on over the week
"We had three good days of practice, and we practiced very well. We felt we needed to make some adjustments offensively. Hawai'i did a good job of cutting us off, we hit a lot of ground balls so we spent a lot of time this week hitting. We talked about it, we worked on it more than we normally do. I would say that was the biggest thing. You have to hit in this league. It is an offensive league and you cannot score two, three, four runs a game and expect to win. That was out emphasis."
On the importance of keeping starting pitching deep into the game
"It's very important because our bullpen has been the weaker part of our pitching staff. Obviously complete games are the best but at the same time I have to watch the pitch counts. In today's games both our guys were in the 110-112 range and it's too early in the season to run that high. Luke Mazzanti came into that first game and did a great job. He had some great stuff. I need our bullpen to upgrade and get better. That's something we work on in practice. They do a lot of things to upgrade their variety of pitches."
On the 10-game home winning streak
"We're supposed to win at home. I always tell our team that if we play the Yankees, we should beat the Yankees at home. This field here is where our blood's at. We practice here, this is where the guys sweat, so we take extra pride in playing here."
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Coach Piraro talks about Friday's wins
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