[ RAINBOW BASEBALL ]
Rotation closer to being
set for WAC season
As the Hawaii Rainbows prepare to play their last nonconference game tonight, the roles of several pitchers are more defined 21 games into the season.
The likely starting rotation entering the Western Athletic Conference campaign next week is Ricky Bauer, Stephen Bryant and Clary Carlsen. For the Florida International and Hawaii-Hilo series, Carlsen was on call to close the Friday or Saturday games. If he had done that with an economy of pitches, he still would have been the Sunday starter. That dual role is over.
Hawaii Pacific at Hawaii
When: Today, 6:35 p.m.
Where: Murakami Stadium
TV: Live, KFVE, Channel 5
Radio: Live, KKEA, 1420-AM
Tickets: $6 Orange, Blue levels. $5 Red level. $4 Seniors, children age 4-18, UH students in the Red level.
"I just don't like what it has done to Clary. It almost made him too strong. When he is too strong he loses what makes him effective, the sink on his ball," said UH coach Mike Trapasso. "By putting him in the closer role Friday and Saturday and the Sunday starter, he didn't get a good solid bullpen during the week.
"It's almost like Clary feels too good and he is up in the zone and loses movement on his pitches. He might have a little more velocity, but that is overrated. Movement is much more important."
Another factor in this decision is the emergence of freshman right-hander Darrell Fisherbaugh to close games. He has demonstrated coolness in pressure situations. He earned two saves during the recent Rainbow Baseball Tournament during which he pitched four innings, walked two, struck out 10 and allowed one earned run.
Sophomore right-hander Guy McDowell also can close and should see action tonight against Hawaii Pacific. The situation never arose in last week's tournament where he got the call from the bullpen.
"Darrell is the closer and Guy is someone I would have no problem using as a closer," said Trapasso. "If Fisherbaugh is rested, then Guy can be used in a setup role.
"Darrell has a slider and a changeup, two pitches that enable him to get out of jams. He is one of those rare guys who has two out pitches and both are above average. He doesn't have tremendous fastball command at this time, but he makes up for that with moxie and toughness."
Another sophomore right-hander, Rich Olsen, is in the mix as a middle reliever and could still see action as a starter if needed.
Freshman right-hander Steven Wright is the fourth starter at this point.
"If Steven continues to throw well, we want to keep getting him innings. We think he is coming on," said Trapasso.
"It's pretty rare to have a situation like Rice did last year where the starting rotation is set in stone. Usually you have to tinker with it."
Most of the positions are now set thanks to the return of Rocky Russo at third. He struggled somewhat defensively early on, but Trapasso still wants him at the hot corner. Creighton Kahoali'i, a high school shortstop who gave third base a shot, returns to back up Matt Inouye behind the plate.
Center fielder Robbie Wilder, who aggravated a hamstring injury rounding third while scoring from second base on a passed ball against Chicago State on March 5, will not play tonight. He is ready, but Trapasso is taking no chances with his leadoff hitter before next weekend's series at Rice.
Left fielder Jaziel Mendoza also is questionable after spraining an ankle in last Saturday's championship game.
The 'Bows (14-7) raised their team batting average from .276 to .296 during the five-game tournament, something Trapasso credits to driving the ball better and producing more two-out hits.
"Going into the tourney, we did some things well when we had to execute. But, when it was man-to-man, batter vs. pitcher, we weren't really doing those things."
Probable starting pitchers
|RHP Ricky Bauer (Jr.)
Hawaii Pacific (6-10)
|To be announced
Notes: The Rainbows defeated the Sea Warriors 10-2 in a midweek game Feb. 17 to take a 24-2 lead in a series that began in 1983. ... Since then, HPU played a six-game series with Division II No. 1 Tampa and lost five of six. ... The Rainbows are 11-0 when they have a lead after seven innings. ... Andrew Sansaver and Brian Finegan are one, two in the Western Athletic Conference in runs scored with 19 and 18, respectively.