Spartans Need to Show Up and Play

San Jose State won four-straight games over the weekend against Nevada. The Spartans square off against the Wolfpack again on Thursday in the first round of the Napa Auto Parts WAC Tournament. SJSU head coach Sam Piraro talks about what the Spartans need to do to make it five in a row.

San Jose State head baseball coach Sam Piraro said on Saturday after the Spartans clinched the Western Athletic Conference regular season title with a 4-2 win over Nevada, that Sunday's game against the Wolfpack was meaningless, but that they needed to play because it was a game.

Between the conclusion of Saturday's doubleheader and Sunday's contest, the winningest coach in San Jose State history had a chance to reconsider his position, and the Spartans came out on the attack and cruised to a 9-3 Senior Day win to finish the season. SJSU will again face Nevada on Thursday in the first round of the Napa Auto Parts WAC Tournament in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

"If we lose the game we play Hawaii in front of 5000 people. They're the host team and that doesn't make much sense," Piraro said. "Or we can play somebody we beat four times. Plus, you always want your seniors to go out on a winning note."

25 players along with seven coaches and staff departed for the Islands on Tuesday in their quest for a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. The Spartans advanced to the College World Series in 2000, and Piraro said he has more depth on this team.

"On the 2000 team we had a real small staff," Piraro said. "We only threw five guys. We have more depth at position players and I have more backup I can go to."

San Jose State led the WAC in batters hit by pitches for the 2009 season. The 99th bean came in the third inning of Sunday's game when SJSU senior Kyle Bellows took a wicked smack on the arm from Nevada reliever Beau Witsoe. It was plainly obvious that the Spartan shortstop was in pain but he stayed in the game and shortly after stole second base. SJSU senior left hander David Berner has been hobbled by a sore arm. Piraro will be counting on the Hawaiian climate to help speed up recover of his two stars, along with the other nicks and dings gathered along the course of the season.

"Physically at this time guys are banged up," He said. "We'll have to see how Bellows's wrist is, and we have guys who aren't at 100-percent. Hawai'i is a healing haven because of the weather. It's really good on the muscles."

It's tournament time and, especially in the WAC, records are thrown out the window, only one thing matters come Thursday.

"We need to show up and play," Piraro said.




Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at publisher@insidesparta.com

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