Head coach Sam Piraro On the Series, and Year

San Jose State clinched the Western Athletic Conference regular season crown on Saturday after winning the first game of a doubleheader against Nevada 4-2. They then went on to stomp the Wolfpack 5-1 in the nightcap. Spartan head coach Sam Piraro spoke after the twin-bill about the series, and the WAC Championship season, including what winning the title means to him.

San Jose State head coach Sam Piraro was hoping this season would be one whose foundation was laid last season. The Spartans fielded a young team, and that experience paid off with SJSU winning the Western Athletic Conference regular season championship on Saturday with a 4-2 victory over Nevada in the first game of a doubleheader.

"Last year we started five freshman and two sophomores," Piraro said. "So we thought that could pay dividends for us this year. We've taken some hits injury-wise, but we've been resilient. We've had guys step up so we felt we had a chance to be pretty good. To go out and win a championship, believe me this means a lot to us."

In the title-clinching game one, junior Max Peterson went six innings to get the win and go 7-1 on the season. Piraro said he knew when it was time to bring in senior reliever Anthony Vega, who finished for the save.

"Max went six innings and I thought he was effectively wild," Piraro said. "He had an explosive fastball. I thought it was time to bring Vega in and he was ready. He threw very well and had good command. We were able to execute and get a few runs that we needed."

In the second game, senior Tyler Heil went the distance in a shortened game to get his third win on the season, against one loss.

"Heil had unusual game - no walks no strikeouts in a seven inning game," Piraro said. "I think he threw (80) pitches which is incredible."

Piraro noted that his teams never take defense for granted. However, he added that watching one player in particular may appear to disprove that.

"(Kyle) Bellows is easy to take for granted because he makes plays look easier then they are," Piraro said. "Some of those plays are really hard. You might sit there and not understand that because he makes it look easy. Those are hard plays."

The Spartan head coach went on to describe the attributes that Bellows has to give the impression of making journeyman's work of his defensive play.

He has an accurate arm, and he knows the speed of the runner," Piraro said. "He has that instinct where he knows how fast a runner is, so he knows if he needs to hurry or to take the time. That's instinct."

Consistency has been a mainstay of the 2009 Spartan baseball team, according to Piraro. He states that SJSU has only lost one series this season, and that the longest losing streak has been three games (SJSU has had two, three-game losing streaks in 2009). He adds that they've been in on almost every game this season.

"The games that we have not won we've been in a position to win," Piraro said. "This team has been a very competitive team all year. That means a lot to me. I can pick out only one or two games this year where I thought we just didn't play well. This has been a legitimate ball club all year."

San Jose State ends the regular season on Sunday with a final game against Nevada. If the Spartans win they will face the Wolfpack again on Thursday in the first round of the Napa Auto Parts WAC Baseball Tournament in Hawai'i. Start time for the game is 11:00 Hawai'i time. If the Spartans drop the final game they will face Hawai'i on Thursday night at 7:00.



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