After a semi-thorough Google search of San Jose State baseball and SBNation’s Mountain West Connection, this looks to be the first dedicated article for Spartan baseball?
Perhaps timely, but more sad, really.
Baseball in general in the San Francisco Bay Area is not what it used to be in terms of attention and appreciation. And baseball, in general, still plays second fiddle here on MWC.
For head coach Brad Sanfilippo’s fifth season, the Spartans have won more games than the last two seasons combined going 28-27 this season - earning the third seed in the Mountain West tourney starting next Friday.
2018 was the Spartans last appearance in the MW tourney when they were also the third ranked team who finished with the same 16-14 conference record as in 2022. San Jose State made it as far as the semi-finals then.
SJSU last winning season was back in 2011. Also, the baseball Spartans have never won a Mountain West Championship.
Even with the major bump up in wins and some new vibrant team blood, respectability in the conference will be expected from Sanfilippo much sooner than later.
One Key Arrival
6’1” first baseman Hunter Dorraugh’s first year as a Spartan struck a chord.
The redshirt sophomore started his collegiate career with the Sacramento State Hornets, who the Spartans just played in their regular season finale.
After some pedestrian numbers with Sac State, Dorraugh was unexpectedly and embarrassingly cut by Hornet head coach, Reggie Christansen, last May to the surprise of assistant Hornet coaches and players.
After licking his wounds, Dorraugh’s journey took quite a positive turn at San Jose State.
In year one with the Spartans, Dorrough tied the regular season home run record for the Spartans with 15.
As SJS’ cleanup hitter, Dorraugh finished with a .277 batting average and 42 RBIs. Contrast that with his time at Sac State, Dorrough hit only four home runs all together.
In the last regular season series this weekend against the Hornets, the Hollywood story would see Dorraugh hit number 16 against his old team to break the Spartan record.
But it didn’t end that way, as the Hornets took the spotlight winning two of three in the series. Dorraugh remains tied with former major leaguer Jeff Ball who hit 15 home runs in 1990 as a Spartan.
Spartans vs. Hornets
Game one saw the Spartans lose 4-3 in Sacramento.
Game two at home; the Spartans 10-run ruled the Hornets with 12-0 win.
Saturday’s rubber game saw the Hornets 10-run rule the Spartans right back. In the fourth inning, the Spartans wheels fell off when Sac State scored seven runs enroute to a 14-4 win (Dorraugh was 1-3 with a triple, RBI and run scored btw).
Onto the Tourney this Friday
The Spartans have hit a school record 63 home runs this season. Their collective bats will have to stay on more than they’ve been turned off this season to have a chance in the tourney.
A 30-9 win over Air Force showed the extreme to where the Spartan bats can take them. But losing two of three to the Falcons also showed the quick up and down extremes that helped lead to SJS’ 28-27 overall record.
The Spartans also have three hitters well above .300, who’ll need to shine just a bit more. Charles McAdoo (.360), Robert Hamchuk (.380) and Dalton Bowling (.312) are the front of the lineup that basically needs to do what’s expected.
The team ERA is 7.05. Typically, that won’t cut it in the pitching department in a post season, but when you’re in the tournament, the expectation is to overachieve.
Sanfilippo will have to dial up his chess game next weekend in and out of the dugout.
The hope in the end is San Jose State baseball keeps pace with all else going on in Sparta and the Mountain West Tourney is the start.