Klein takes mound for UH opener
BY Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
If all goes right, Nate Klein will spend less time on the mound, yet last longer in games this season.
The senior right-hander has the honor of being opening night starter tomorrow for Hawai'i, which takes on No. 10 Oregon State to start a four-game series at Les Murakami Stadium.
Hawai'i coach Mike Trapasso said Klein needs to be more efficient than last season, when he pitched at least seven innings only three times out of his 10 starts.
"Last year, I got a lot of high pitch counts," Klein said. "Not so many walks, but (I had) a lot of 2-2, 3-2 counts because I was nibbling, trying to hit the outside corner. What I've really been focusing on is first-pitch strike and after that, just try to be more aggressive with my pitches and not play around with (batters)."
Klein (3-4, 5.10 earned run average last season) spent his offseason here attending summer school. Between studies, he and Saturday's starter Matt Sisto, did long toss and other conditioning drills to prepare for the coming season.
Klein said he basically needs to be aggressive in the strike zone and let the fielders support him.
"If it's a good pitch and it's over the plate, it will probably be an out," Klein said.
Although junior left-hander Sam Spangler was pegged for opening day, shoulder inflammation has set him back. Spangler could start Monday or be used in relief, Trapasso said.
But Klein is as good a candidate to face a Beavers team that is picked to finish second in the Pac-10.
"Klein has the kind of stuff where you can go in blind when you don't have much of a scouting report because he's a four-pitch guy," Trapasso said.
Klein is excited for drawing the opening night nod.
"It's something I haven't done before and something I've been looking forward to doing in a long time, so it's going to be a big thrill," he said.
The Beavers' probable starting pitchers for the series are: right-hander Tyler Waldon tomorrow, left-hander Tanner Robles on Saturday, and right-hander Greg Peavey on Sunday, OSU coach Pat Casey said yesterday in a telephone interview. Like UH, his Monday starter has yet to be determined.