Did anyone happen to notice that when Fr. RHP J.T. Chargois returned to the Cougar Field mound for his second inning of work on Tuesday, he appeared a tad lighter in his road grays? That's because an unnamed member of the coaching staff chewed off his backside after Chargois pitched delicately upon entering the game in relief of So. LHP Taylor Wall. Chargois surrendered an RBI single to M.P. Cokinos before inducing a ground ball from Caleb Ramsey. When he returned to the dugout, he was quickly informed that his effort was unsatisfactory.
The reaming worked. Chargois was magnificent the rest of the way as he did what he was so forcefully told, trusted his arsenal of pitches, and blanked UH through the eighth inning. Whether Chargois can build on his fantastic outing remains to be seen, but with the Owls in such desperate need for consistent quality pitching, fingers are crossed that what Chargois and Fr. RHP Tyler Duffey revealed stuff-wise is reason to believe that both are in the process of turning the corner. Duffey displayed a magnificent breaking ball, and with Chargois issuing zero free passes in 6 1/3 innings of work, the Owls just might have something to work with.
With the hitting and defense in stride, the Owls pitching remains the biggest question mark heading into the final C-USA series of the regular season, a three-game set with UAB. Sr. RHP Jared Rogers (6-1, 5.04 ERA) will start the opener followed by Sr. RHP Mike Ojala (3-2, 4.01 ERA) on Friday, but a starter for the finale has not be announced. Wall, the staff ace, would seem the likely bet if he weren't in a funk. In his three starts since the Owls returned from their final exams hiatus, Wall is 1-1 with an 11.81 ERA and 2.81 WHIP. He has struck out a total of four batters in 10 2/3 innings after averaging 6.6 strikeouts/9IP in his previous five starts. Wall has lost his mechanics and is showing his pitches with both his arm action and an exposed grip. He experienced similar issues earlier this season but corrected them.
If Wall required additional tinkering this weekend, Jr. RHP Boogie Anagnostou could start on Saturday. Anagnostou allowed two runs on six hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings of relief against Southern Miss last Sunday, and with the Owls sure to need four starters if a run to the C-USA tournament title game is in the offing, Anagnostou is a good bet to be that starter.
Unless of course Chargois proves he is ready to tackle the challenge of excelling as a starter.