Hawaii pitcher Davis to do it all
Going into the season, Trapasso has a guy he feels can fill any role
» FIRST OF TWO PARTS
Is Tyler Davis a closer, set-up guy, middle reliever, long reliever or starter?
The answer, at least for now, is "yes."
Davis is among several pitchers Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso counts on for flexibility as UH opens its baseball season tomorrow against Santa Clara at Les Murakami Stadium.
"When you look at him and (Matt) Daly both, they're both gonna fill roles where it could be any time during the game where we'll go to them. That's because they, Tyler in particular, can settle a game down, come in and throw strikes, force contact," Trapasso said. "If a starter goes down early, he can give you four or five innings. He can give you one inning. Tyler can even start games if you need it."
SANTA CLARA AT HAWAII
When: Tomorrow, 6:35 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
TV: Sunday only, KFVE, Ch. 5
Radio: All three games, KKEA, 1420-AM
Tickets: $7 in blue and orange sections; $6 (adults), $5 (seniors), $3 (students) in red sections. For this series, UH students can get a free ticket to each game by presenting UH identification card at stadium box office on game day or at Stan Sheriff Center Box Office in advance.
Starting pitchers and other notes: Santa Clara goes with sophomore lefty Matt Wickswat (9-2, 3.54 last year), freshman righty Nate Garcia and sophomore righty Justin Kuehn (3-6, 6.75), in that order. UH throws senior lefty Ian Harrington (9-3, 3.99), senior lefty Mark Rodrigues (4-2, 4.66) and is undecided for Sunday. ... Former Rainbows coach Les Murakami is a graduate of Santa Clara, and his first game against a Division I-A opponent in his 30-year career at UH was against the Broncos in 1971.
2007 HAWAII SCHEDULE
1-3--Georgia Southern. 9-11--Pacific. 16-18--at UC Santa Barbara. 23-25--Wichita State.
1-4--Chicago State. 9-11--Arizona. 16-18--Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 23-25--Nevada. 30-31--San Jose State.
1--San Jose State. 5-7--at Sacramento State. 10--at Pacific. 13-15--at Fresno State. 20-22--Louisiana Tech. 25--at Arizona State. 27-29--at New Mexico State.
3-5--at UH-Hilo. 12-14--at Nevada. 19-21--Fresno State. 24-28--WAC tournament, Reno, Nev.
1-4--NCAA Regionals. 8-11--NCAA Super Regionals. 15-24--College World Series, Omaha, Neb.
Note: All home games at Les Murakami Stadium
Davis led the Rainbows with 24 appearances last season as UH went 45-17 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals. He started two games and closed three with saves and did everything in between at one point or another. The senior from Walnut Creek, Calif., and Santa Barbara Community College said he's ready to do so again.
"Absolutely. I'm coming into the season prepared to pitch each and every game. I'm good to go whenever they need me to go," Davis said. "I'm pretty flexible. Start, relieve. It doesn't really matter to me."
Trapasso said he's a battler.
"I wouldn't call him intimidating. He's tall and skinny, he's athletic and he's got a little funk to his delivery. I think he's our best competitor on the mound," the coach said. "He's extremely competitive and that's one of the reasons why he's successful. He's able to go out there on days when he might not have great stuff and fight and scratch and claw until you take him out, and even taking him out sometimes he's going to fight and scratch and claw me."
About 20 games into last season, Davis changed the angle of his delivery to something closer to sidearm than three-quarters.
"I started getting a lot more movement on my ball and was able to locate it better. So that definitely helped me," said Davis, who relies on a fastball, slider and curve. "Surprisingly more effective against left-handers, which is odd for a (right-handed) sidearmer. But the ball moves away from left-handers and causes a lot of ground balls."
The relief roles for this weekend depend partly on JC transfer Derek Tarapacki's availability. He can't pitch in a game until verification of his associate's degree is received. If it is, he could be the closer, Trapasso said.
"For the most part, guys will start settling into roles as the year goes. Going into the season right now, I want to free up Davis and Daly both, particularly if Tarapacki is cleared and able to do what I think he can do. He could be that one-inning guy."
» Tomorrow: position players
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
WAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year Ian Harrington starts tomorrow's opener for Hawaii.
The Rainbows: Pitcher by pitcher
A quick look at UH's pitching staff heading into the season:
» Matt Daly (5-foot-10, 185, So.): Right-hander sparkled with 6-2 record, 3.25 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings as freshman. Possible future starter can fill a variety of roles.
» Tyler Davis (6-3, 190, Sr.): Right-hander is on Preseason All-WAC team. Went 2-2 with 4.28 ERA in 54 2/3 innings with 45 strikeouts to 18 walks.
» Ian Harrington (6-0, 190, Sr.): Left-hander is the WAC's Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Went 9-3 last season with a 3.99 ERA, walking just 12 in 103 2/3 innings. Starts opener tomorrow.
» Craig Johnson (6-3, 225, Jr.): Right-hander is a power pitcher. Trapasso wants to see him get ahead in the count more.
» Cory Kahn (6-2, 195, Jr.): Right-hander's unorthodox delivery can be a plus, but the coach said he needs to improve his control.
» Jayson Kramer (6-0, 200, So.): Right-hander had a 3.55 ERA in 10 relief appearances last year. Could become a major contributor as he gains consistency and confidence, Trapasso said.
» Harrison Kuroda (5-7, 190, So.): Right-hander continues to battle shoulder woes and not much is expected this season.
» Rich Olsen (6-1, 220, Sr.): Right-hander was superb with 19 strikeouts and three walks in 17 innings and a 1.59 ERA in nine 2006 relief appearances. He is ahead of his rehab schedule after elbow surgery, and might be able to pitch later this season. If not, UH will file for a sixth season of eligibility.
» Nicholas Rhodes (6-3, 180, Jr.): Left-hander is not a hard thrower but has impressed Trapasso with good movement and location. Expected to start Sunday if Joshua Schneider not available.
» Mark Rodrigues (6-2, 190, Sr.): Left-hander worked on changeup in summer ball after going 4-2 with 4.66 ERA in 15 games (12 starts) last year. Starts on Saturday.
» Joshua Schneider (6-2, 200, Jr.): Right-hander starts Sunday if eligibility is resolved.
» Jacob Smith (6-2, 190, Fr.): Right-hander was also listed as an infielder, but will focus on pitching and probably redshirt.
» Jeff Soskin (6-2, 210, Sr.): Left-hander's hallmark is consistency, Trapasso said. Might be used in situations to get lefties out.
» Sam Spangler (6-1, 170, Fr.): Left-hander needs to gain weight and experience.
» Derek Tarapacki (6-4, 210, Jr.): Right-hander could be a key contributor from the bullpen once cleared to pitch in games.
» Cameron Wheeler (6-1, 180, Jr.): Right-hander got medical clearance 10 days ago after having his spleen removed in the fall. Pitched well in scrimmage Monday.