Gallagher proving he belongs in UH rotation
BY Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
As a newcomer, Zach Gallagher was prepared for any role on Hawai'i's pitching staff.
And ready he has been.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior right-hander beat Long Beach State and San Diego within a six-day span to help the Rainbows (14-11) complete a 3-2 road trip against regional-caliber competition.
"I really wasn't sure what I was going to do in the beginning, but I was willing to do whatever coach wanted me to do," Gallagher said.
He has made the most of the opportunities.
"It's been a pleasant surprise in the maturity and poise that he has on the mound," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "The competitive fire he has when he's out there, that's something you really can't see in bullpen sessions and in fall baseball. That's been good to see."
Gallagher made two one-inning relief appearances before being pressed into the rotation March 15 against Southern California. He threw 59 pitches in 3[0xb0] innings against the Trojans. He wasn't needed in the bullpen against Air Force, setting him up to start at LBSU on March 24, when he allowed a run in six innings. Five days later, he went six-plus at San Diego, allowing three runs. It was fewer days rest than usual for a college starting pitcher.
Being that the Rainbows will play a three-game series against Gonzaga (10-13) this weekend, Gallagher will return to the pen. But he is likely to get a start in next week's Western Athletic Conference four-game series season opener here against Fresno State because Nate Klein is still anticipated to be out, Trapasso said.
"He's picked us up big time," Trapasso said. "He's earned the right to be getting starts."
Gallagher came to UH from Columbia Basin JC in Pasco, Wash., where he was 11-1 with a 1.08 earned run average, striking out 86 in 92 innings. He signed a letter of intent with Indiana State, then coached by Lindsay Meggs. But when Meggs landed the Washington Huskies job, Gallagher said he was able to get out of his letter of intent and considered UW, about three hours from his home in Camas. But the Huskies didn't have any scholarships available.
"I was excited about Washington, but I already knew two guys on this team — Jesse Moore and Alex Capaul — from summer ball, so it made it easier to come here," Gallagher said.
It was sort of a homecoming for Gallagher. When his father was in the Navy, his family lived at Barbers Point for several years. He was too young to recall anything.
"When my parents were here (earlier in the season), we drove over to Barbers Point," Gallagher said. "It was cool to see where I lived when I was young."