Baseball Preview: Pacific Pitching

The one area of the team that Pacific didn't improve in last season was the pitching staff, which had a team ERA of 6.36 that was 8th in the Big West and kept the team from having more improvement with what was going on with the position players.

 Centanni was usually the only reliable SP for most of the season so to say there were many question marks going into this season would be an understatement.  Pacific loaded up on JC transfers who have contributed right away and the result has been the staff ERA tumbling down almost 1 1/2 runs per game to 4.97, which is good enough for 4th in the Big West, with their five leaders in IP having a solid 3.88 ERA.  The Tigers pitchers have usually done a good job of working down in the strike zone and getting ground balls and letting their good fielding infield do the rest.  Pacific’s pitchers pitch to contact and are only 7th in the conf in K’s and have allowed the second highest AVG at .302, including .325 in conf games.

Starters

Fri – JC transfer #35 Marcus Pointer (RHP – 6-2, 4.52 ERA, 10 starts, 70 IP, 63 H, 29 BB, 45 K, .249 BA, 3 HR, 5 HBP, 1 WP) has been solid as the #1 SP and is 3rd in conf in W and IP and 5th in opps BA.  Pointer was outstanding in his first five starts, winning each of them with a 2.06 ERA.  He has struggled over his last five starts with a 7.20 ERA although two of them were solid when he allowed 1 R in 8 IP in a win at Long Beach and 4 R (3 ER) in a CG loss at Irvine while he allowed 24 R in his other three starts, all at home (San Jose, Riverside and Northridge last weekend when he allowed 8 R and 12 H in 6 2/3 IP).  Pointer throws a fastball in the mid-80s, a changeup that he throws at any point in the count, a curveball to keep hitters off-balance and a slider as an out-pitch against RH hitters.  He has allowed runners to go 6-8 on SB attempts.

Sat – SR #21 David Rowse (LHP – 7-0, 4.57 ERA, 10 starts, 65 IP, 82 H, 13 BB, 37 K, .320 BA, 6 HR) pitched primarily in relief last season (’09 stats – 3-2, team leading 3.99 ERA, 15 apps, 5 GS, 47 IP, 64 H, 19 BB, 20 K, .323 AVG) before making starts in the final three conf series with a 1.64 ERA in those starts.  He has carried that success over to this year and leads the Big West in wins and is 6th in IP.  Rowse has good control and mixes speeds but he doesn’t throw hard and pitches to contact, generating lots of ground balls but also allowing batters to hit .320, including .355 in Big West games.  After allowing 13 R and 28 H in 16 IP in his first three conf starts, Rowse bounced back last weekend to shut down Northridge and only gave up 1 R on 5 H in 7 IP.  He has done an outstanding job of controlling the running game and easily leads the Big West with seven pickoffs and only allowed one SB in five attempts.  Rowse did not pitch at Fullerton in 2009 and has allowed 7 R in 5 IP in three apps in his career against the Titans.

Sun – JC transfer Jake Hummel (RHP – 5-2, 3.30 ERA, 3 saves, 14 apps, 7 starts, 60 IP, 63 H, 19 BB, 35 K, .270 BA, 5 HR, 2 HBP, 5 WP) started out the season as the closer and will usually be available on Fridays to throw an inning in middle relief if necessary.  He was moved into the rotation a few weeks into the season and has usually done well and is 6th in the Big West and 8th in opps AVG.  Hummel has been the most consistent SP during conf games with a 3.07 ERA with wins against Northridge (7 1/3 IP, 4 R, 11 H) and Irvine (7 1/3 IP, 2 R, 10 H) and a no decision against Riverside (6 IP, 1 unearned R, 8 H).  He is another ground ball specialist who had only given up 2 HR’s before his start last week in windy conditions and allowed 3 HR’s to Northridge.  Hummel has done a good job at holding runners and they are only 3-7 on SB attempts against him.

Relievers

Pacific doesn’t have a deep bullpen but they have gotten solid work out of their primary set-up man and the two pitchers they have used in the closer position.

Closer – SR #41 Hunter Carnevale (RHP – 3-3, 2.88 ERA, 4 saves, 17 apps, 2 starts, 50 IP, 51 H, 10 BB, 41 K, .274 BA, 2 HR, 5 HBP, 0 WP) made two solid starts during non-conf games and was primarily a middle reliever until Hummel was moved into the Sun SP spot and he has taken over as the closer with some of the better stuff on the pitching staff.  He has been pitching very well over the last three weeks, throwing 11 scoreless innings including a 5 2/3 IP appearance at Irvine, and is 2nd in the conf in ERA, 3rd in saves and 4th in appearances.  Runners are 7-10 on SB attempts against Carnevale.  He has allowed 13 R in 11 IP in two starts against Fullerton.

JC transfer #25 Robbie Richardson (RHP – 1-2, 3.71 ERA, 2 saves, 15 apps, 27 IP, 29 H, 8 BB, 12 K, .302 BA, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 0 WP) is a control specialist who has been the most reliable option to get the ball to the closer.  He will be the RP most likely to be brought into games this weekend in the 6th or 7th inning unless Pacific is using Carnevale to try to get a multiple inning save.

Pacific doesn’t have too much faith in any of their other relievers to get outs in key situations because their other relievers all have ERA’s over 7.  The LHP specialist is SR #22 Jamie Niley (0-0, 15.12 ERA, 10 apps 8 IP, 13 H, 12 BB, 3 K), who threw well last season at Fullerton in two appearances (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 8 K).  LHP John Haberman has also pitched out of the bullpen (1-1, 7.97 ERA, 7 apps, 20 IP, 26 H, 12 BB, 17 K) but hasn’t made an appearance in a conference game.  The other RHP’s are JR #29 Thomas Berolzheimer (0-0, 9.64 ERA, 7 apps, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 K), who was the closer in 2009 and had 5 saves, and SR #45 Casey Neimeyer (1-2, 7.45 ERA, 19 IP, 35 H, 4 BB, 10 K),