By Sergio Gonzalez:
San Jose State will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for the DeMarini Desert Classic this weekend where it will play a total of five games.
Last weekend, the Spartans began their season at the Kajikawa Classic where they finished 3-3.
“We haven’t started off that well in my five years here,” said senior outfielder Casey Watts.
They started the weekend off strong by defeating Creighton University 7-3, but would go on to lose their next three games, falling to Western Michigan (5-1), Oregon (8-0) after six innings and to Utah (8-5).
Spartans’ head coach Peter Turner talked about how playing in games like these will help the team in the long run.
“We had one meltdown game, but we’ve only started one senior so the rest are relatively young and the experience they’re getting now will take them on another level,” Turner said.
On the last day, SJSU was able to turn things around and finished the weekend with back-to-back wins, defeating Virginia 1-0 and then dismantling UC Riverside 11-2 in five innings.
Unlike last year when the Spartan were an offensive team, this year the team’s strength is their defense.
“This year our number one attribute is our defense,” Turner said, “We’re stronger defensively than we have ever been.”
With momentum on their side, the Spartans will try to keep improving their game this weekend by facing even more tough opponents such as Hawaii, Southern Utah, Brigham Young University, Idaho State and the University of Texas, El Paso.
The toughest test for San Jose State this weekend will be the University of Hawaii (2-1), who have defeated the Spartans in their last six meetings and Brigham Young University (2-2) which is a top 25 ranked team this year.
Idaho State will be making their season debut this weekend giving SJSU the upper hand having some game experience under their belt.
The Spartans can finish the weekend off strong with solid performance against two teams that have not had much success this season in Southern Utah (1-3) and University of Texas, El Paso (0-5).
If SJSU can return with a winning record after this weekend, then expect the Spartans — who placed third in the MW preseason rankings — to make some noise during conference play.
“I think we’re primed to be a contender this year,” Turner said.