SJSU Spartan Baseball: Arrival and rebirth with the end of the 2022 regular season

After a semi-in-depth Google search of San Jose State baseball and SBNation’s Mountain West Connection, this appears to be the first article dedicated to Spartan baseball?

Perhaps timely, but sadder, really.

Baseball in general in the San Francisco Bay Area isn’t what it used to be in terms of attention and appreciation. And baseball, in general, always plays second fiddle here on MWC.

Renewal

For head coach Brad Sanfilippo’s fifth season, the Spartans have won more games than the past two seasons combined with a 28-27 record this season – winning the third seed in the Mountain West tournament from Friday next.

2018 was the Spartans’ last appearance in the MW Tournament as they were also the third-ranked team to finish with the same 16-14 conference record as in 2022. San Jose State then reached the semi-finals.

SJSU’s last winning season was in 2011. Additionally, the Baseball Spartans have never won a Mountain West Championship.

Even with the major uptick in wins and vibrant new team blood, respectability in the conference will be expected of Sanfilippo much sooner rather than later.

A finish key

6’1″ first baseman Hunter Dorraugh’s first year as a Spartan struck a chord.

The redshirt sophomore began his collegiate career with the Sacramento State Hornets, who the Spartans just faced in their regular season finale.

After a few pedestrian numbers with Sac State, Dorraugh was unexpectedly and embarrassingly cut by Hornet head coach Reggie Christansen last May to the surprise of Hornet assistant coaches and players.

After licking his wounds, Dorraugh’s journey took a pretty positive turn at San Jose State.

SJSU first baseman Hunter Dorraugh at bat.
photo by: Terrell Lloyd

In his first year with the Spartans, Dorrough tied the regular season home run record for the Spartans with 15.

As an SJS cleanup hitter, Dorraugh finished with a .277 batting average and 42 RBIs. Compare that to his time at Sac State, Dorrough only hit four homers in all.

In the final regular season series this weekend against the Hornets, Hollywood history would see Dorraugh hit number 16 against his former team to break Spartan’s record.

But it didn’t end that way, as the Hornets took the spotlight by 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 1 saw the Spartans lose 4-3 to Sacramento.

Second game at home; all 10 runs the Spartans outscored the Hornets with a 12-0 victory.

Saturday’s rubber game saw the Hornets top the Spartans by 10 points. In the fourth inning, the Spartans’ wheels went down as Sac State scored seven runs en route to a 14-4 win (Dorraugh was 1-3 with a triple, RBI and a run scored in the meantime).

At the tournament this Friday

The Spartans hit a school-record 63 home runs this season. Their collective sticks will need to stay on longer than they’ve been off this season to have a chance at the tournament.

A 30-9 win over the Air Force showed just how far the Spartan bats can take them. But losing two of three to the Falcons also showed the fast up-and-down extremes that contributed to SJS’ 28-27 overall record.

The Spartans also have three hitters well over .300 who will need to shine a little brighter. Charles McAdoo (.360), Robert Hamchuk (.380) and Dalton Bowling (.312) are at the forefront of the roster that basically has to do what is expected.

The team ERA is 7.05. Typically, that won’t be enough in the pitching department in a post-season, but when you’re in the tournament, the expectation is to surpass.

Sanfilippo will have to compose his chess game next weekend in and out of the dugout.

The hope in the end is that San Jose State baseball keeps pace with all that is happening in Sparta and the Mountain West Tourney is the start.

SJSU outfielder Brady Hill comes in at third base against Sacramento State.
photo by: Terrell Lloyd

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