Sam Peraza Named Pitching Coach/Recruiting Coord. For Sun Devil Baseball
TEMPE – Sam Peraza, formerly the associate head coach and pitching coach at San Diego State, has been announced as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for Sun Devil Baseball, as announced by head coach Willie Bloomquist today.
Peraza spent the last six seasons with the Aztecs as the program's pitching coach and was promoted to associate head coach in the summer of 2019.
During his illustrious coaching career, Peraza's pitchers have earned nine All-America honors, five conference Pitcher of the Year awards and 20 all-conference accolades. Peraza has coached 17 players that would go on the become MLB Draft selections.
With Peraza on the Aztec coaching staff, SDSU captured back-to-back Mountain West tournament titles in 2017 and 2018 and has finished first or second in team earned run average in the league in four of the last six seasons. Peraza was part of a group that won 86 straight games when leading after seven innings – an SDSU school record.
Peraza has been a notable standout on the recruiting trail in his stops at San Diego State and Florida International with highlights including the No. 14 national class in 2017 at SDSU and the No. 8 recruiting class in the country at FIU in 2014. He also produced Top-35 classes in 2019 and 2020 at SDSU, which was consistently at the head of the Mountain West in recruiting under Peraza.
The 2021 Aztec squad was the only team in the MW to reach 30 wins on the season and finished second in a league that came down to the final weekend of action to determine a conference champion. SDSU was second in the league with two pitchers selected to the All-Conference Team in Tre Brown and Michael Paredes. Brown led the MW with seven victories on the season while also adding four saves. Troy Melton and Paredes were second and third in the league, respectively, in strikeouts with Ricky Tibbett in sixth.
During the shortened 2020 campaign, the Aztecs led the conference with a collective 3.73 ERA, allowing three earned runs or less in eight of their 10 victories. Against a challenging schedule, SDSU rose to the occasion, posting wins over Virginia Tech, Coastal Carolina, Cal State Fullerton, Iowa, Nebraska, Long Beach State, Oregon State (twice), UC Irvine and Oklahoma.
Individually, Peraza coached two all-MW pitchers in Casey Schmitt and Troy Melton. Schmitt tied for the national lead with six saves in just eight relief appearances after earning consensus preseason All-America recognition and earning a spot on the preseason all-conference team.
Meanwhile, Melton went 3-1 as the Aztecs' Saturday starter, sharing the league lead in victories, which was tied for 23rd nationally. In addition, the right-hander ranked second in the MW with 26 strikeouts and found himself among the conference leaders in several categories, including opposing batting average (3rd - .192), fewest hits allowed (3rd - 15), runs allowed (T4th - 9) and ERA (7th - 3.22).
After leading the Mountain West in ERA during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Peraza directed an injury-plagued 2019 pitching staff – the only staff in the nation to have all three opening weekend starters miss more than half of the season – to the second-best ERA in the league (4.28).
Under Peraza's guidance, right-handers Adrian Mardueno and Justin Goossen-Brown both earned all-conference honors in 2019, propelling SDSU to its sixth season with 30 or more wins victories in a seven-year span. Earlier that season, the Aztecs had an 86-game winning streak snapped when leading after eight innings, which stood as one of the five longest in the nation at the time.
In January 2019, Peraza was invited to attend the SureFire Baseball Forum, which features the top 32 assistant baseball coaches and 32 athletic directors from all over the country. The forum is designed to promote college baseball to athletic directors and give possible future head coaches an opportunity to network themselves, as well as learn the process from actual athletic directors.
Peraza's pitching staff played a crucial role in helping San Diego State secure its fifth Mountain West tournament championship over a six-year span in 2018. Peraza oversaw the emergence of junior right-hander Garrett Hill, who became the second straight Aztec to collect MW Pitcher of the Year honors and was selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft for the first time in career by the Detroit Tigers. In addition, the SDSU bullpen was nearly perfect for the duration of the Mountain West Championships when opposing batters hit a combined .045 (2-for-44) against Aztec relievers.
Leading SDSU bullpen that season was closer Casey Schmitt, who was named a first-team Freshman All-American by Baseball America, marking the first Aztec to receive such distinction since Stephen Strasburg in 2007. Schmitt finished his freshman campaign with a 0.28 ERA, the lowest single-season mark in SDSU history (minimum 30 IP).
Peraza's staff was also instrumental in the Aztecs' MW tournament title run in 2017, leading the league in victories (42), saves (16), earned run average (4.12), walks allowed (188), runs allowed (298) and opponent batting average (.269). In conference play, SDSU also yielded the fewest hits (281) and extra-base hits (82).
Individually, left-hander Brett Seeburger garnered MW Pitcher of the Year accolades under Peraza's watch and was later selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The Aztecs had two additional hurlers drafted that year in left-hander Marcus Reyes (Toronto) and righty CJ Saylor (St. Louis), tying for the program's most pitching draft picks since 2007.
Peraza returned to the West Coast in July 2015 following a two-year stint as pitching coach at Florida International in Miami, Fla.
During his second season at FIU in 2015, Peraza mentored a pitching staff that produced a 3.89 team ERA, helping the Panthers win the Conference USA tournament championship and post its first regional victory since 2001 (Coral Cables Regional).
Peraza also made his mark on the recruiting trail. In 2014, he helped assemble a class that was ranked eighth-best in the country by Perfect Game, featuring seven incoming recruits who were selected in the MLB draft that June.
In Peraza's first season as FIU's pitching coach in 2014, the Panthers established Conference USA single-season records for most shutouts (14) and lowest team ERA (2.29). Along with earned run average, FIU set two other school records that season with the fewest walks (175) and fewest triples allowed (3). In all, Peraza's staff cracked the top five in 11 different school-record statistical categories, while individuals were among the top 10 in eight different statistical categories.
The Panthers' pitching staff was dominant from a national perspective as well, ranking third in the country with a record-setting 14 shutouts and fifth in team ERA. For his efforts, Peraza became a finalist for the inaugural C-USA Assistant Coach of the Year award.
Before relocating to the Sunshine State, Peraza spent the 2013 campaign as pitching coach at Cal State Northridge, where Matador hurlers compiled one of their best seasons in program history, recording the best team earned run average (3.96) over a stretch of 21 years. Additionally, CSUN finished with its lowest walk-to-strikeout ratio since 2002 and led the conference in batters struck out looking with 117. As a result, CSUN registered the team's highest victory totals overall (31) and in the Big West Conference play (15) since 2002.
Prior to joining the Matadors, Peraza spent the summer of 2012 as the pitching coach for the Santa Barbara Foresters, a summer collegiate team that defeated the Seattle Studs to capture the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series title. Under Peraza's tutelage, the Santa Barbara pitching staff posted a collective 2.41 ERA with 570 strikeouts against only 173 walks.
Previously, Peraza spent five seasons at Cal State Los Angeles from 2008-11 as head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, as the Golden Eagles produced two conference Pitcher of the Year winners during his tenure. In addition to coaching the CSULA pitching staff, Peraza assisted with all game planning, scouting, film, administration and travel.
In 2008, Peraza also served as the head coach of the So Cal Fire, a summer collegiate baseball team that recorded an impressive sixth-place finish out of 64 teams in the NBC World Series. Peraza skippered a squad that consisted of 20 Division I athletes and seven players who were selected in the top 20 rounds of MLB Draft.
Before his move to Los Angeles, Peraza spent the 2007 season as head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Eastern Oklahoma State College, overseeing all aspects of recruiting and scholarships awarded. In addition, he coached the Mountaineers pitching staff, which produced the 2007 conference Pitcher of the Year, and directed the team's strength and conditioning programs.
Peraza's collegiate pitching career began at El Camino Community College from 1998-2000, where he tops the program's record book for career saves. He then attended San Francisco State for one year in 2000-01, earning second-team all-conference honors. As the team's Saturday starter, Peraza led the Gators in wins, earned run average, strikeouts and complete games. He then transferred to San Diego State in 2002, pitching out of the bullpen for head coach Jim Dietz and Mountain West champion Aztecs.
Peraza graduated from San Diego State in 2002. He is married to Nevada, and they have two sons, Cy Marshall and Ace Samuel.