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TJ Bruce and Nevada baseball begin quest to repeat as Mountain West champions

Tj Bruce
TJ Bruce's Wolf Pack team is out to defend its Mountain West regular-season title. (David Calvert/Nevada athletics)

The Nevada baseball season won't start for another four months, but the team has been grinding through its fall preparations with two primary focuses as it looks to defend its 2021 Mountain West regular-season title.

"One, we have to do better in the non-conference," Wolf Pack head coach TJ Bruce said on Wednesday's NSN Daily. "We play a tough schedule. I think we play as tough a schedule as anybody on the West and anybody on campus. But we have to do a better job to cement Nevada baseball in the conversation of being in an (NCAA) Regional bid without winning the conference and at least play .500 in non-conference. That would be a huge deal and go a long way. And the other thing is we have to learn how to handle success. Everything is made so much about handling failure, and as we call it 'negatives to positive.' We have to learn how to handle winning. ... We have to learn how to handle success and keep that chip on our shoulder."

The Wolf Pack also will hold an "Elite Prospect Camp" at Peccole Park on Oct. 23, which Bruce said will give his team a chance to get prized players onto campus given the shortened recruiting window this season.

"The recruiting period just got over with," Bruce said. "They changed the calendar on us, so we really had one month. We had Sept. 10 to Oct. 10, and that's it until March 1. Anytime you can host these prospect camps, high school campus on your campus during these quiet periods, I think it's a huge benefit because they get to get seen during this time because coaches cannot go off campus and also we get to show off our school and our community, especially if you can do it on a football weekend. You can feel the atmosphere. I had a chance to walk the tailgate scene last week and I was really impressed. I was pumped."

Bruce said getting prospects onto campus is especially important for Nevada because of what the school has to offer from aesthetic standpoint.

"Nevada's campus has an East Coast feel," Bruce said. "Being from the West, I've seen a lot of campuses on the West Coast and we have a very, very unique East Coast feel. The brick and the old part of campus that has a lot of character. I think that's always first and foremost. It's, 'Wow, I didn't know campus is this nice.' If you really look around and go on campus, it's pretty breathtaking. I've had a chance to be at a lot of places and seen a lot of places. The other thing is the access (the players) have. The access they have to (UNR) President (Brian) Sandoval. The access they have to our athletic director Doug Knuth, and just the access we have to other coaches. It's not that way everywhere else. I think that brings such a unique experience to these student-athletes. We're going to go into basketball practice Saturday with Coach (Steve) Alford. We've got some recruits on and we're going to go to practice, and that does not happen everywhere."

You can watch TJ Bruce's full NSN Daily interview below.

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