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San Jose State adds three Marquee opponents

SamPiraro Sam Piraro of San Jose State has announced today some major additions to the Spartans schedule for the next three seasons. They will play a three game non-conference series in 2010 at Wichita State on April 23-25. They are scheduled to make the trip down to UCLA on February 25-27th 2011 and in 2012 will play Arizona from February 24-26th. These are great games for San Jose State as they will make their RPI go up and hopefully put them in position for an at-large berth to the NCAA tourney in the coming seasons. You can check out the full press release below.



San Jose, Calif. – San Jose State University head baseball coach Sam Piraro has announced the addition of three-game sets on the road at nationally-recognized Wichita State University, UCLA and the University of Arizona to the 2010, 2011 and 2012 schedules, respectively.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to get on the road and play some national programs that fit the budget situation that we are in, and also get to venues which would be really great for our young men,” said Piraro, a WAC Coach of the Year honoree in each of the past two seasons while leading the Spartans to a 72-45 overall mark, with a regular-season conference crown in 2009. “In 2010, we’re going to have the opportunity to go to Wichita State and play a storied program there. We are very much looking forward to that. In 2011, we’re going to go to UCLA and play the Bruins in an early-season series. Then in 2012, we go to Tucson and play the University of Arizona. We think that not only are those great venues and great college programs, but these games give our guys an opportunity to prepare for the season and to find out how difficult playing on the road is, and playing against real quality opponents.”

Piraro’s Spartans will visit Wichita State’s Eck Stadium – Home of Tyler Field in Wichita, Kan., for a three-game mid-season non-conference series, Friday through Sunday, April 23-25, 2010. Game times are tentatively set for 7:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. locally.

San Jose State is scheduled to contest a three-game set with the UCLA Bruins of the Pacific-10 Conference, February 25-27, 2011, at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. The Spartans are then slated to head to Tucson, Ariz., to meet the Arizona Wildcats in another early-season three-game series with a Pac-10 foe, February 24-26, 2012.

The Shockers of Wichita State are led by legendary head coach Gene Stephenson. Over his 32 years in charge, Stephenson has led the winningest NCAA Division I program in the country, with 1,683 victories. He is one of just two coaches to reach 1,600 wins for his career, second only behind Augie Garrido (1,717) of Texas. At .744 (1,683-577-3), Stephenson has the third-highest winning percentage among active Division I coaches.

Wichita State averaged 3,839 fans (138,204 over 36 gates) at Eck Stadium (capacity 7,851) during a 2009 campaign which saw it finish 30-27 overall with a 27th all-time appearance in the NCAA Division I Championship. It was an eighth straight trip to the NCAA post-season for the Shocks, who lost both of their games at the Norman Regional, 5-4 to host Oklahoma and 3-2 to Washington State, to end their season. Wichita State was third in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) with an 11-7 mark, and went 3-1 as the host of the 2009 State Farm MVC Tournament to notch its 17th MVC tourney title and earn the league’s automatic NCAA berth.

Wichita State went 25-15 at home in 2009 after winning 33 of 39 games there in 2008. The team loses just three seniors for 2010, and had junior outfielder Ryan Jones and four incoming recruits selected during the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Historically, the Shockers have made seven trips to the College World Series, with a national championship in 1989 and three runner-up efforts in 1982, 1991 and 1993. During their 27 NCAA appearances, all under Stephenson, the Shocks are 74-55.

UCLA went 27-29 overall and 15-12 in Pac-10 play in 2009. The Bruins are coached by John Savage, who is 141-150 in five seasons at the helm. UCLA has made two CWS appearances all-time, most recently in 1997, and earned 15 NCAA Championship berths in all. The Bruins last made the tournament in 2008. Jackie Robinson Stadium has a natural grass surface and holds 1,250 spectators. The Bruins are 34-23 there over the past two years, and have had 13 MLB First-Year Player Draft selections during that time.

UCLA’s 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes have each been rated No. 7 nationally by Baseball America, with the latest group being led by right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole, both of whom are currently competing in U.S. national team trials.

In addition to Jackie Robinson Stadium, UCLA is also now home to the adjacent Jack and Rhodine Gifford Hitting Facility, which opened this past February and was funded by the late Jack Gifford and his wife, Rhodine. Gifford, a UCLA alum who played for the Bruins, was a long-time, generous supporter of Piraro’s Spartan program before he passed away earlier this year.

The Arizona Wildcats are three-time national champions, in 1976, 1980 and 1986. They were national runners-up in 1956, 1959 and 1963, and have made 15 CWS trips and 34 total NCAA post-season appearances.

UA is coached by Andy Lopez, who just completed his eighth season in Tucson. Lopez is 969-602-7 (.616) in 27 seasons as a college head coach at four schools. He is one of only 10 active coaches with a national championship to his credit, having guided Pepperdine to the 1992 title, and also is just one of three in the NCAA Division I all-time to guide three different programs to the College World Series. Lopez has taken his teams to the NCAA Championship 16 times and the CWS on four occasions, including the Wildcats five times and once, respectively.

Arizona wound up 30-25 overall in 2009, winning 14 of its last 20 games, including 10 of 12 against Pac-10 opposition. The Wildcats play at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium, which seats 6,500 fans and where they were 21-14 this season. The stadium has been the site of NCAA Regionals in 1979, 1980, 1989 and 1992. UA has had just three losing records there since its first year of use in 1967.

San Jose State’s complete schedule for the 2010 season, when Piraro and his Spartans will attempt to defend their first Western Athletic Conference championship since the CWS team of 2000, will be released at a later date.

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