Defending WAC Champs To Play 30 Of 56 Games At Home
San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University baseball program will open defense of its 2009 Western Athletic Conference crown on February 19, as the complete 56-game 2010 schedule, featuring 30 home contests, was announced by head coach Sam Piraro.
San Jose State will travel to play 2009 NCAA Championship participant Wichita State in a three-game set, April 23-25, and four-time defending WAC Tournament champion Fresno State in a four-game league series, May 14-16. At home, meanwhile, the Spartans went an incredible 27-6 in 2009 and 21-6 in 2008. They have won 20 or more contests in San Jose in five straight seasons. San Jose State does not face consecutive road tests over the first month, until mid-March, with 11 of its first 15 slated for the friendly confines of Municipal Stadium. Of the Spartans’
56 games, 36 will be against teams with a .500 or better overall record in 2009.
Complete 2010 San Jose State Schedule
Piraro, the four-time WAC Coach of the Year who has earned that distinction in back-to-back seasons, leads San Jose State into Moraga, Calif., to begin the new campaign at Saint Mary’s College on Friday afternoon, February 19. First pitch at Louis Guisto Field is at 2:00 p.m.
The Spartans open the home schedule the following day against the same Saint Mary’s Gaels, at 1:00 p.m. inside San Jose Municipal Stadium, with the three-game set against their area rivals concluding back in Moraga on Sunday, February 21, also at 1:00 p.m.
The Spartans host UC Santa Barbara of the Big West Conference for three to close the month of February. San Jose State welcomes West Coast Conference rival USF for the home leg of its annual two-game set with the Dons on Tuesday night, March 2, at 6:00 p.m. inside Muni.
This year’s three-game series with South Bay foe Santa Clara will see two games at the Broncos’ Stephen Schott Stadium around a 1:00 p.m. meeting at Muni on Saturday, March 6.
After a home date with Southern Illinois on Wednesday night, March 10, San Jose State is proud to co-host the inaugural Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament with Santa Clara, March 11-14. Five of the games are set to take place at Municipal Stadium, including a neutral-site match-up between Air Force and UC Davis to kick things off on March 11. The final day will have the Spartans in action twice, against Air Force at 11:00 a.m. and UC Davis at 3:00 p.m.
On the weekend of March 19-21, San Jose State travels by bus down to Cal State Bakersfield for a three-game set. After a mid-week home contest against UC Davis, the Spartans take on another Big West opponent in Pacific three times, March 26-28, with the first two in San Jose.
A three-game home series with BYU of the Mountain West Conference begins the month of April for San Jose State. That leads into a season-long six-game road stretch which starts at USF, goes through Ruston, La., and ends at UC Davis with a third attle against the Aggies.
The WAC portion of the 2010 schedule opens at Louisiana Tech for four games, April 9-11. The WAC slate, for a second year in a row, features 24 games, with 12 at home and 12 on the road.
New Mexico State heads into town for a four-games-in-four-days league set, April 16-19. All four contests will thus be of the regulation nine-inning variety, whereas nightcaps of the usual WAC doubleheaders will again go seven frames in 2010. The first two meetings with the Aggies, who, like the Spartans, notched 40-plus wins a year ago only to get left out of the NCAA post-season, will be day affairs at Blethen Field, with the last two, including a Monday night finale, at Muni.
That series will set the stage for a much-anticipated appearance in Wichita, Kan., and Eck Stadium-Home of Tyler Field for three games against one of college baseball’s more storied programs in long-time head coach Gene Stephenson’s Wichita State Shockers, April 23-25. The two schools have never before met in baseball.
San Jose State welcomes retiring 32nd-year head coach John Smith’s Sacramento State Hornets to Blethen Field for all four games of their league match-up, April 30-May 2, before travelling up the freeway to take on the Stanford Cardinal on Tuesday, May 4.
What follows is a bus trip to Reno, Nev., and Peccole Park, home of the Nevada Wolf Pack, May 7-9. The home-and-home with Stanford concludes at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday night, May 12, at 6:00 p.m. The Spartans round out the WAC road schedule with another bus ride south to Fresno, Calif., for four games with the rival Bulldogs of Fresno State, May 14-16.
For the fifth successive year, the Spartans finish the regular season in San Jose, but after completing it three straight times against Nevada, the Rainbows of the University of Hawai’i pay a visit in 2010. All four games will be played at Muni, with Senior Day slated for a 1:00 p.m. first pitch on Sunday, May 23.
The 2010 season will be the first in a three-year agreement to hold the WAC Tournament at a neutral site, Hohokam Park, the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs, in Mesa, Ariz. The six-team, double-elimination tournament takes place May 26-30.
The 64-team NCAA Championship starts with 16 four-team Regionals, June 4-7. The eight two-team Super Regionals will be held at campus sites, June 11-14, with the 2010 Men’s College World Series set once again for Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., June 19-30.
San Jose State went 41-20 a year ago and won the WAC regular-season championship, its first league title since the 2000 team shared the crown on its way to the program’s first College World Series. The 2010 campaign marks the 10-year anniversary of that achievement, when the Spartans won an identical 41 contests, tied for the third-best total in program history.
Over the past three seasons, the Spartans have produced the most wins and best overall record among the nine Division I baseball programs in Northern California. They have gone 106-71 for a winning percentage of .599, finishing ahead of those nine squads in two of the last three years with marks of 41-20 (.672) in 2009 and 34-26 (.567) in 2007. Stanford is 99-77-2 (.562) while fellow Pacific-10 Conference contender California is 86-76-2 (.530) during this three-year span, with UC Davis, Pacific, Sacramento State, Saint Mary’s, USF and Santa Clara all finding lesser amounts of success since the start of the 2007 season.
“I feel that the schedule is very challenging,” commented Piraro, now in his 23rd season. “I don’t see a series or opponent that we’re going to be successful against if we don’t perform at our best. We face a lot of California teams, and people know that there are no weak teams in California. We have a difficult travel schedule, with some great opponents. Obviously, the one that might catch more attention than others is Wichita State. To me, it’s a regular series, but of course it is a great opportunity for our players to go back to the Midwest and compete in an environment and setting in which college baseball is really big. The crowds will be large, but that’s not to take away from any of the other non-conference opponents that we are playing.
“We have our (Jack Gifford Memorial) tournament, we play UC Santa Barbara at home, which will be a great series, we have the series with Santa Clara, we have a series with Saint Mary’s, USF, Pacific, UC Davis, we go to Cal State Bakersfield, and BYU comes in for a series in April, just prior to starting conference.
“We open up the conference schedule at Louisiana Tech, which is one of the most challenging travel venues in college baseball. We are going to have home series against New Mexico State and Sacramento State. We have to go on the road to Nevada and Fresno State, which is a large task, and end the regular season with Hawai’i at home.
“We have a tremendous challenge in front of us (to repeat). Winning the championship last year was a great accomplishment, but we lost almost our entire pitching staff. We return just four wins out of 41. We are really going to have to develop these pitchers through January and February in preparation for the new season, because we have a daunting task ahead. That’s not to be negative, but it is pragmatic. This time last year, we were very confident that we had the makings of an experienced team, which carries a lot of weight in college baseball. We no longer have that in the pitching ranks. It’s inexperienced, it’s young, it’s unproven, and that’s an area where I would prefer not to be unproven.
“The positive is that the future is going to be very good, because these young men are going to get some great experience through their process of maturing, and could be a quality unit within a year. My goal is to have them develop quicker. That is our objective.
“The schedule will be demanding and unrelenting,” concluded Piraro. “Every competition is going to demand our ultimate excellence on the field. We need to stay healthy, and we need to develop our pitching staff as we go along.”