WAC tosses Harrington the weekly honor
Ian Harrington likes to work quickly on the mound, wasting little time between pitches. It's an attribute appreciated by his Hawaii baseball teammates and Rainbows coach Mike Trapasso.
But two weeks ago, Harrington was a little too hasty during his deliveries. It led to a rare poor performance and loss.
The senior left-hander from Kent, Wash., bounced back nicely last Friday, striking out nine and walking one while allowing just four singles and one run in a 13-1 victory over Pacific.
He was honored yesterday as the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week.
"My leg kick was way out of control. It caused me to be up in the zone. I saw that when we watched tape afterward," Harrington (2-1, 3.60 ERA) said of the 13-11 loss to Georgia Southern on Feb. 1, his only defeat in seven starts dating back to last season. He lasted less than two innings and gave up seven runs (five earned).
Harrington's improved performance last Friday, which featured a career high in strikeouts, set the tone for a three-game sweep of the Tigers.
"I'm happy for him. He really bounced back after a sub-par outing for him," Trapasso said.
Harrington has upped his velocity this season with weight training, and can reach 90 mph with his fastball at times. But he's still not a power pitcher, and it was mechanics more than heat that had the Pacific batters walking back to the dugout.
"His velocity to me was normal. He had great command of three pitches, throwing them all for strikes," Trapasso said. "He wasn't rushing and had tempo within his delivery."
Still, Harrington said he feels a little more pop coming from his fastball this season.
"I'm not exactly sure why. I guess I've been eating my Wheaties," Harrington said. "But I know I have to pitch to spots.
"If you throw 90 and you don't throw it in the right place, Division I hitters will knock it out of the park."
Harrington is scheduled to pitch Friday in UH's road opener, at UC Santa Barbara (1-1). The Rainbows (7-2) hope to add to their five-game winning streak.
"We're pretty excited. We'll try to take the momentum we've built up and take it on the road this week," Harrington said.
Trapasso said senior lefty Mark Rodrigues (3-0, 1.72) and junior righty Josh Schneider (0-0, 0.00 in 11 innings) -- a JC transfer -- will again start the second and third games, on Saturday and Sunday.
The Rainbows leave for California tomorrow night. They'll return to host Wichita State next week.
Sanchez still streaking:
Senior first baseman Kris Sanchez
saw his batting average drop from .636 to .543 over the weekend, but when you're riding that high it's hard to keep pace.
It was still a great series for him; Sanchez went 5-for-13 with a homer in all three games, including a grand slam on Friday.
But Sanchez did not win a third consecutive WAC Hitter of the Week award. That honor went to Louisiana Tech's Brandon Hudson, who went 7-for-12 with a triple, homer and four RBIs against Texas-Arlington. Hudson also got a pitching win during the three-game series.
In addition to the three-game homer streak, Sanchez is now the only Rainbow to hit safely in every game this season.
Other hot sticks:
Junior center fielder Brandon Haislet
(.345) was finally stopped Saturday after hitting in the first seven games.
Senior third baseman Justin Frash, who has walked 13 times, has reached base every game by hit or base on balls. He is batting .393 with a .571 on-base percentage, second among the regulars to only Sanchez (.600).
Frash is 9-for-17 after going 2-for-11 in the season-opening series and adjusting his hands.
Sophomore catcher Landon Hernandez is batting .412 after going 8-for-12 against Pacific. Sophomore second baseman Nate Young went 6-for-13 in the series.
After 38 hits in the three games against the Tigers, the Rainbows are batting .298 as a team.
Hee to make trip:
Junior starting second baseman Jon Hee
is on the travel roster and is expected to be medically cleared to play this week, Trapasso said.
Hee returned to practice last week after suffering a subluxed left shoulder during the season opener Jan. 26.
Junior outfielder Derek DuPree could also return to full duty soon. On Friday, he made a pinch-hitting appearance, testing the ACL he tore last summer.