Hanks wants Mavs’ pitching to come around
The offense continues to produce, but Mesa State College baseball coach Chris Hanks is looking for more from his pitching staff.
The third-ranked Mavericks (20-5, 10-2 RMAC), started out with a team ERA of 9.00 after the season-opening series but has worked that down to 6.24 entering this weekend’s series at Regis (13-12, 6-6). The staff hasn’t allowed a home run in the past six games.
“We’re looking for guys to put back-to-back consistent efforts together,” Hanks said. “We’ll change it up once in a while because we like matchups better against certain clubs.
“We’ll play that game and take some chances. Overall, we’re starting to figure it out. We still need better presence on the mound, better command. That’s what we’re striving for this weekend.
“We have so many options of guys, with probably seven or eight that can start, but we want to make sure our bullpen stays strong too. ”
Seniors Chris Carma (3-2, 6.52 ERA) and Jason Fronczak (4-0, 5.61) have been the most consistent starters so far this season.
Carma has started every weekend this season and has continued to improve each week.
Fronczak started strong with victories over Cal State-Chico and a near-complete game shutout against Dixie State (Utah) College. He had a short outing against New Mexico Highlands, but bounced back with a victory over Colorado Christian.
Chris Shea (2-0, 9.77) won his first two starts and will likely start again this weekend.
Brent Lamaster (2-0, 1.42) has pitched well in long relief and will likely get his first start this weekend. The senior right-hander leads the team in opposing batting average at .272 with a minimum 12 innings pitched.
“The only thing I’m searching for now is for guys that don’t say they want the ball, but really want it and show it through their actions and performance,” Hanks said. “That’s what I define as presence on the mound. The guy that tastes it, feels it and wants it. He has that demeanor on the mound that says it’s going to be tougher than heck to beat me today. I’m trying to find those guys.”
Hanks believes he has the pitchers who want to be that guy, but it’s a matter of finding the guys to actually do it.
“We’ve told them one through 12 we’re deeper with better arms and potential,” he said. “This pitching staff as a whole is underachieving. We need them to become overachievers. As soon as they do that, things can really take off for us. It doesn’t have to happen right now, but we have to keep making progress toward that.”
With a series looming against a usually strong hitting club in Regis this weekend and a series against a strong pitching club in CSU-Pueblo (20-5, 11-1) next weekend, Hanks is looking for those overacheivers.
“We’re looking at, we’ve got to be playing our best at the end. We’ve got to see progress from our pitching staff,” Hanks said.
“We don’t need to be 20 percent better this week, but one percent, two percent, some percent better so we’ve made progress and can build on that. We have the personnel and staff to be darn near impossible to beat.”