News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

May 19, 2012

Manaea to start MVC tourney opener for ISU

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State coach Rick Heller has participated in 13 Missouri Valley Conference tournaments at ISU and at Northern Iowa, his previous stop.

He’s seen No. 1 starters try to pitch on five (or six) days’ rest and hasn’t liked what he’s seen.

“In college baseball you get seven days off  [between starts]. What worries me the most is short rest,” Heller said. “I’ve seen a lot of No. 1 and No. 2 guys play for the [regular season] championship, get after it, and then come into [the MVC Tournament] and just not have it.”

To avoid a similar scenario for the Sycamores, Heller has elected to alter ISU’s rotation for next week’s MVC Tournament. Sean Manaea, who got a no-decision against Missouri State on Friday night, will start Tuesday’s MVC Tournament opener.

Manaea would replace Dakota Bacus, ISU’s No. 1 starter during the season. The idea is that Bacus will be fresh to pitch on Wednesday. If ISU were to make it to the MVC Tournament championship game, Manaea would start again and Bacus could be available in a long-relief role, if needed.

Bacus threw 130 pitches in ISU’s victory over Missouri State on Thursday.

“He’s not used to short rest. After a long outing, it didn’t make me feel comfortable throwing him out there [on Tuesday],” said Heller, who noted that Manaea recovers quicker than Bacus does.

Manaea threw 76 pitches against Missouri State on Friday.

Heller is thinking beyond the MVC Tournament. The rotation he sets in Springfield will also prepare the Sycamores for a possible NCAA Tournament regional too.

“Let’s say we get to a regional. Dakota throws on short rest Tuesday. Pitches some on Saturday and then comes back Thursday for a regional? That’s not a great scenario for us. As good as Sean is, he should be able to handle [pitching on Tuesday],” Heller said. “I think it’s the right thing to do. Whether it works or not? You never know.”

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