’Bows face Bulldogs in
key 3-game homestand
The Hawaii baseball team returns to Western Athletic Conference competition this weekend when the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs invade Murakami Stadium for a three-game series.
The Rainbows (20-12, 5-4 WAC) are in second place, but only a game ahead of Fresno State and Nevada, tied for third and the next two teams on the UH schedule.
LaTech at UH
When: Tomorrow and Saturday, 6:35 p.m.; Sunday 1:05 p.m.
Where: Murakami Stadium
TV: Live, KFVE, Channel 5
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM
Tickets: $6 Orange, Blue levels. $5 Red level. $4 Seniors, children age 4-18, UH students in Red level
"It is too early to think about where you are in the standings," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "You just look at the standings and none of us have played half of our WAC games. It is more for conversation at this point."
The real conference race is going to be for second place the way the Rice Owls are taking care of business behind a stellar pitching staff that is backed by solid offense.
"We're pretty much there right now. It's OK. We all knew coming in it would be this way," Trapasso said. "We just have to take care of our business against everyone we play."
The Bulldogs (12-26, 3-9) have lost seven consecutive games, including a three-game sweep by visiting Nevada last weekend. The Wolf Pack scored 57 runs at J.C. Love Field.
"I don't really know what you can take from that," Trapasso said. "It can happen in a park like that, especially when you walk 20 like Louisiana Tech did in the last game. It tells me Nevada is making their annual turn upward because Gary Powers is a good coach. It tells me Nevada is feeling good about themselves.
"It also tells me that weekend will mean nothing to Louisiana Tech. They are coming on a fun trip and their pitchers will like pitching in our park. They will be invigorated."
Louisiana Tech also lost a nonconference game Tuesday to Northwestern State 8-5.
The Bulldogs, who traditionally swing the bat well, are led by Kyle Spangler. He has a 10-game hitting streak, a team-high 26 runs batted in and a .375 batting average. Jeff Walker, who had his 14-game hitting streak stopped Tuesday, is next at .328.
Trapasso will go with the same starting rotation. Ricky Bauer, who did not pitch well at Louisiana Tech and will be out for redemption, starts tomorrow. Stephen Bryant gets the starting assignment Saturday and Clary Carlsen takes the mound Sunday.
Louisiana Tech coach Wade Simoneaux has named Clayton Meyer his first-game starting pitcher. Meyer pitched nine innings in the Bulldogs' 7-6, 10-inning win over UH at Ruston, La., March 25.
Greg Kish, who has the best WAC batting average (.389) for all games, leads the 'Bow offense. RBI (29) and on-base percentage (.524) leader Matt Inouye is next at .350, followed by Brian Finegan (.328).
Trapasso, who thought his team was playing tired in the Sacramento State series, hopes having last weekend off will recharge the 'Bows.
"We have to focus on us," he said. "We have seven more WAC series and we have to take care of business."
Notes: Rice had its 11-game winning streak stopped by Texas 3-2 Tuesday night. The Longhorns won all four regular-season games with the 27-7 Owls this year. ... The Hawaii-Hawaii Pacific game postponed March 13 by rain will be made up May 4 at 6:35 p.m. Ticket stubs and ticket vouchers handed out March 13 will be honored for the makeup game. ... Trapasso has determined that two more freshman Rainbows, right-hander Jonathan Serapion and outfielder Derek Dupree, will redshirt this year.