University of Hawaii pitcher Scott Kuzminsky has had quite a week.
"It's kind of a feeling, looking back at those two games, like wow did that actually happen."
Yes it did.
Last Monday the senior right hander tossed a complete game 1-0 shutout against Nevada in which he faced the minimum number of batters.
On Sunday he tossed 8 2/3 innings in another victory against the University of Alabama-Birmingham that gave the Bows the series victory.
On the season, Kuzminsky's stats are more than worthy of a starting nod. In six starts he's allowed just 16-runs to the tune of a 3.29 ERA. He's also struck out 20 batters while walking just five. Of course, he also has the only complete game shutout on the entire roster.
However, despite the success, Kuzminsky will no longer be part of a quartet of strong starting arms; instead he will lay the foundation for the Bows bullpen instead.
"I knew I was going to be out of the pen this year and I just tried to put quality starts together." says Kuzminsky. "I'm excited to be back there because I'm comfortable there. I think I can really add a lot to our bullpen."
The addition by subtraction is necessary because in the Big West conference teams only play a three game series instead of the four game variety like Hawaii has been a part of this preseason.
Head coach Mike Trapasso says Kuzminsky's ability to be "ready to go" at any moment also played a factor. Hawaii's other starters in the rotation (Matt Cooper, Jarrett Arakawa and Scott Squier) are prototypical starters who rely on a consistent routine to get ready.
So, rather than pitch one quality start, Trap hopes his versatile pitcher can anchor multiple long inning stretches during series.
"It's tough to put a guy who's thrown two stellar starts in a row, into a completely different role. But that's really where we need the help the most." said Trapasso.
"Going to a three game series it only helps us to have him back in there and he can pitch a couple of games a weekend." added Arakawa."It gives us more depth in the pen and it's absolutely big for us."
However, the idea of giving Kuzminsky another start is not out of the question, according to Trapasso.
"Pitchers get hurt and that's the part of baseball that nobody likes. But, it's always there lurking in the back ground. And to know that if one of the starters does go down or struggles, we've got a guy in Scott who is a senior. He's mature. He's able to go deep into games and give you quality starts. So, it's a win-win hopefully."
The Rainbows are 12-12 this season and will hit the road to being Big West play. No. 10 UC-Santa Barbara will host UH in a three game series beginning Friday.
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