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Bellows, San Jose slide past Nevada


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POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2009

Kyle Bellows listened to the San Jose State coaches harp on the importance of a strong start in the Western Athletic Conference baseball tournament.

The junior shortstop responded by powering the top-seeded Spartans to a 5-3 win over Nevada to open the double-elimination tournament yesterday at Les Murakami Stadium.

Bellows doubled off the left-field fence in his first at-bat against the Wolf Pack. He hit solo home runs in his next two appearances to lead San Jose State (40-18) into the winner's bracket.

“;Coach was telling us all week before we got out here, we have to get the first one, we get the first one we're in good shape,”; Bellows said after raising his season home run total to 10.

The Spartans closed the regular season with a four-game sweep of Nevada last weekend and sent the Wolf Pack (25-30) to the loser's bracket.

The Wolf Pack didn't get a chance to see SJSU ace Ryan Shopshire last week. Shopshire was ejected from a game against Stanford last Tuesday, forcing him to sit out the Nevada series.

The suspension appeared to work in the Spartans' favor yesterday, as Shopshire — the WAC pitcher of the year — struck out six before being taken out in the top of the eighth. He improved to 6-1.

“;That's what part of our thinking was, since they didn't see him and they have a lot of right-handed hitters that might be something we could take advantage of,”; SJSU coach Sam Piraro said. “;When his slider's on he's tough on right-handed hitters.”;

Bellows and Corey Valine hit back-to-back home runs off Nevada starter Derek Achelpohl (4-6) in the third and Bellows slammed another homer in the fourth to give SJSU a 5-1 lead.

“;The wind was blowing out to left today, and if you got it pretty good up in the wind it was going to go out today,”; Bellows said.

Nevada closed to 5-3 on Nick Melino's two-run single in the eighth, but reliever Anthony Vega halted the rally to earn his ninth save.