Former MPI pitcher excels in role change
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
When asked to pick between starting a game or finishing one, University of San Francisco senior right-hander Patrick Mc-Guigan said he's "indifferent."
It could be because he's found success at both.
The school's career leader in saves switched to a starting role after injuries struck the USF pitching staff this season.
"As soon as everybody gets healthy, it will be a coaches' decision (as to his pitching role)," McGuigan said. "I would be indifferent as to where I would be, as long as we keep winning."
He was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday after striking out a career-high 12 with no walks, allowing two hits in a complete game, 5-0 win against Georgetown on Saturday.
Saturday's game was his first shutout and second complete game of his career. He is tied for eighth in career victories at USF with 13.
Last Wednesday, he pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief against Fresno State in a 5-2 loss, allowing no runs off one hit and two strikeouts.
The 2002 Mid-Pacific graduate and The Advertiser's State Player of the Year that year was quick to point out how his individual honor would affect the team.
"It's good for the team to get a sweep, it gives us good momentum to go to New Mexico (this weekend)," he said. "It's going to put us on track for the rest of the year, to give us confidence to know we can be able to pitch against anyone in the country, basically."
He has a 3.32 earned run average with a 3-1 record. He leads the staff in innings pitched (38) and strikeouts (27).
Before this season, he started just one game, but racked up a career school record 13 saves, including a school single-season record of seven last year.
"We had a couple of injuries we've been dealing with," said McGuigan, who was also named to the College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll. "I had the most experience innings wise, so they gave me a shot, and it's working out a little bit."
He credits Mid-Pacific coach Dunn Muramaru with his ability to transition back and forth between the roles.
"I think I had a good high school background, coach Dunn did a really good job with us. He disciplined us," McGuigan said. "The learning curve had to be a lot quicker in college. But once you're able to grasp the concepts, you realize it's still baseball."
He was an all-WCC honorable mention selection as closer last year, and called switching to a starter "a good challenge."
"I like closing, but starting is a different opportunity," he said. "A lot of times, I try to approach starting as closing nine games. I try to treat every inning as the end of a game."
He graduates this spring with a marketing degree, and doesn't have immediate plans for the future.
"I'm going to try to play as long as I can," he said.
If baseball doesn't work out, he's "looking to stay in the Bay Area and get a job, see what the Mainland has to offer."
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.