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Wednesday, February 16, 2005



[ RAINBOW BASEBALL ]


art
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Joe Spiers and Schafer Magana celebrated after scoring the first two runs in the third inning of Thursday's game.




Rainbows want to
own the strike zone

After striking out 37 times
against Alabama, UH is working
on its approach at the plate

The day before the series against Alabama, the Hawaii Rainbows worked on their approach at the plate whenever they had two strikes.

Pacific at Hawaii

When: Tomorrow and Friday, 6:35 p.m.; Saturday, 5:35 p.m.; Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
TV: Saturday and Sunday games live, KFVE, Ch. 5
Radio: All games live, KKEA, 1420-AM
Tickets: $6 orange and blue sections; $5 red section; $4 seniors, and $3 students age 4-18, UH students in the red section.
Parking: $3

After 37 strikeouts at the hands of Crimson Tide pitching, it appears they need more work.

"There were a lot more positives than negatives. We played a very good ballclub in Alabama, but we split and we're disappointed we didn't win all four or at least three because we gave one game away," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said.

The adjustments at the plate are important for the Rainbows as they prepare for their four-game series against Pacific that begins tomorrow night. The Tigers (5-2) are a vastly different team than the one UH beat in Stockton, Calif., last year. Second-year head coach Ed Sprague has 25 (15 junior college transfers and 10 freshmen) new players.

"This series is going to be pretty interesting. The Tigers are feeling good about themselves after winning the tournament they were in last week," Trapasso said. "Their coach cleaned house and they are playing with confidence. I'm sure they will be ready to go."

Pacific defeated St. Mary's 6-5 in 11 innings, San Francisco 9-0 and UC Davis 2-1 in the River City Classic at Sacramento, Calif. The Tigers' earned run average is a stellar 1.25 and they have a .280 team batting average.

The Hawaii coaches grade execution each game and the goal is to reach a rating of 70. There are 10 categories, including sacrifice bunts, getting a runner home from third with less than two outs, double plays hit into and batting average. The Rainbows did not meet that goal in any of the four Alabama games.

"In the Saturday night win, our execution was 49, but we won because we pitched well and they threw a couple of balls away for us," Trapasso said.

"After the first series, you focus immediately on what you need to improve on. I was encouraged with what I saw. Overall, it was a fairly well-played first series. There were little things that cost us games, but we had opportunities to make things happen.

"We didn't hit the way we would like. You know Matt Inouye (2-for-14) is going to hit. You know Isaac Omura (3-for-14) is going to hit. Jose Castaneda (1-for-9) and Esteban Lopez (1-for-11) will hit.

"The reason we weren't happy is it's a matter of our expectations being higher than they have been. We expect to take advantage of opportunities, opportunities we squandered because we didn't do the things we know we are capable of doing."

Pitching was the biggest positive.

"All four starters pitched well. I have no complaints," pitching coach Chad Konishi said. "(Relievers) Rich Olsen and Steven Wright were very strong and Guy McDowell, in his first outing, was 9-for-9 with first-pitch strikes."

Trapasso thought Olsen pitched better than he ever had before missing last year with a sore arm. The hitting of first baseman Luis Avila (.417) and shortstop Joe Spiers (.347) were a plus.

"Joe plays with high energy and his job is to push the envelope. When he got on base, he disrupted their pitchers," Trapasso said.

The 'Bows will go with the same starting rotation of Ricky Bauer, Stephen Bryant, Colby Summer and Justin Costi against Pacific.

Note: Fans can redeem their "Bracket Buster" basketball game ticket stub from Saturday's game for a free ticket to the 5:35 p.m. baseball game. A special entrance will be available at Les Murakami Stadium for basketball fans wishing to take advantage of this promotion. The baseball tickets are limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.



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