Cougar of the Week: Mike Mainuli


Photo: Scott Levine Cougar of the Week: Mike Mainuli

Photo: Scott Levine Cougar of the Week: Mike Mainuli
Photo: Scott Levine
Cougar of the Week: Mike Mainuli

Mike Mainuli (‘15) is enjoying his best season so far at Clark. He has posted a 3.43 ERA and a respectable 1-2 record. He is on track to play much more this year than in years past.

Scarlet: How is the transition to being a full time starter been?

Mainuli: My freshman year we ran into a lot of injuries, so I got the opportunity to be a spot starter and [pitch] some innings, which really helped because going into games and getting that exposure [has been] really effective in [helping me become] a better pitcher. [In] my sophomore year, I had a starting role, which was nice. It’s nice to have a role and to know it, and to go out there and just try and to do the best for the team, to [pitch] as many innings as you can.


Scarlet: You’re pitching many more innings this year, what’s the biggest challenge that comes with more time on the mound?

Mainuli: I don’t see any real challenges other than the stamina involved. To pitch so many innings, it takes a team effort because I’m the kind of guy that will pitch to contact. I’m not going to strike too many guys out. So I need a lot of help from the infield and from the outfield to [record] outs and to keep going deep into games. But all in all, it benefits a team if you can get a starter to go six or seven innings. It takes a lot of pressure off of the bullpen.


Scarlet: Have you always been a guy who pitches to contact?

Mainuli: Yeah, at least at this level. You try and throw stuff in the zone that moves. You don’t really want to walk too many guys in this league because they can turn into runs. You want to keep it over the plate, out in the zone a little bit. It’s a lot easier than trying to blow it past everyone.


Scarlet: You mentioned earlier that your 90 MPH fastball was about 74 MPH when you enrolled in Clark. Do you pitch for contact because your fastball has not always been top tier?

Mainuli: Yes and no. I never had too much of an off-speed or a breaking pitch, so I was always a heavy fastball guy. It was [about] using your other off-speed pitches to set it up and make it look a lot faster than it was. When I was a [first-year], it wasn’t going much harder than 80 MPH, but you can make it a lot more effective if the kid saw it after a curveball or a changeup, so that was kind of the approach. And I still pitch that way now. You’ll see a lot more fastballs because I’ve developed as a player, so fortunately, I can throw it past some guys. But a good hitter will square you up no matter how hard you throw, so you still have to place the ball, [and] use your other pitches.


Scarlet: What are some of your goals for the team this season?

Mainuli: I want to see us make a conference tournament. I want see a playoff spot for the Clark Cougars. I really do think we have the talent for it, and I’ve seen it in a lot of games so far where we mess up just one little aspect of the game. But it has come together for some of our games; [we’ve had] some of [our] best innings as a team. And when we see that [consistently], we’ll have a very, very competitive team.


Scarlet: What in particular have you seen that’s encouraging?

Mainuli: We have a very dominant pitching rotation. Derek [DuBois] (‘13) obviously, he throws the crap out of the ball, and Miles [Sheehan] (‘16) has been absolutely awesome the last couple starts. So having that basis for your team is a really good way to keep yourself in games. And the hitting has come alive for a couple games like [against] Emerson and down in Florida too when we put up nine runs in my start against Penn State-Abington. But if we can get consistency out of everyone, the bullpen too, I think those are our most encouraging days.


Scarlet: Any personal goals for this season?

Mainuli: I’d like to win a couple games. I actually haven’t had more than one win a season for my last couple years here, and I know we’re getting progressively better as a team, so I’d like to win more games and pitch more innings.


Scarlet: And maybe try to get a complete game under your belt?

Mainuli: Yeah, complete games are a lot of fun. Obviously when I go out there, every start I’m expecting to pitch the entire game, but that’s not always the case. But it’s that mentality that I try to bring to every game, that I want to start the game, I want to finish [the game]. I want to make sure I make it so that we can win.


Clark Baseball lost on Tuesday, April 1 at Wheaton 16-2. They will square off against crosstown rival WPI on Friday, April 4 at 3:30 p.m. and on Saturday, April 5 at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. All games will be held at Clark. Go Cougars!