By Kavin Mistry:
Coming off of a horrible 2016 campaign which led to the departure of head coach Dave Nakama, the San Jose State baseball team has a lot to prove this season.
It all begins with new head coach Jason Hawkins.
Hawkins comes to SJSU from the University of Utah where he helped aid the team to a Pac-12 championship in 2016.
He brings with him a young staff with plenty of experience to help turnaround this program.
However, in his first season as the Spartans’ head coach, he will inherit most of the existing starting staff, with an assortment of new tools on offense.
Confidence still runs high through the team, pitcher Matt Brown said the starting staff and bullpen are looking stronger than ever and are well prepared for the season to begin.
This will be vital for the Spartans to make any run this season at improving themselves in the ranks of the Mountain West after a brutal 2016 season for the bullpen.
On the flipside, offensive production will be the key to watch this season for the Spartans. Hawkins said he comes from an offensive mindset when approaching the game and plans to do the same here in San Jose.
Junior first baseman Shane Timmons, the team’s leading hitter from 2016, said Hawkins has been spending extra time working one-on-one with the hitters to improve their swings, approaches and mindsets at the plate. The Spartans were outscored as a team last season 379-241, a sign that they could use some more pop in their lineup.
The revamped Spartans will be pitted for their first test this Friday when they head down to Los Angeles to face the UCLA Bruins in a three game series to open the year.