RAINBOW WARRIOR BASEBALL
Trapasso will play all vs. Western Illinois
The Hawaii Rainbows will squeeze five games into four days this weekend after playing five in five days last week.
This week UH plays just one opponent -- the Western Illinois Leathernecks, who are making their second visit to Les Murakami Stadium.
"We will use this series to do what we have done in most of our nonconference series. We want to get everybody involved. That is one reason we scheduled five games," said Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso.
WESTERN ILLINOIS AT HAWAII
When: Tomorrow, 6:35 p.m.; Saturday (doubleheader) and Sunday, 1:05 p.m.; Monday, 6:35 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
TV: Sunday game only, live, KFVE (Channel 5)
Radio: All games live, KKEA, 1420-AM
Note: Members of the military will receive two-for-one ticket discounts for the series. A valid military ID must be presented at the Stan Sheriff Center or Les Murakami Stadium box offices when tickets are purchased. There is a limit of 20 tickets per ID card.
The Leathernecks (2-9) are hitting .225 and have a staff earned-run average of 8.49.
"Western Illinois has played a monster schedule. If you look at what happened to us with Texas-Arlington, you know records don't mean a thing," Trapasso said.
Texas-Arlington was 3-7 coming into the UH game and pounded the 'Bows 15-9.
Western Illinois won its first two games against Alabama State, then was swept in three-game series at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas.
UH (13-6) begins the series with its three usual starting pitchers.
Right-hander Steven Wright (3-1, 2.50 ERA) starts tomorrow night, and in Saturday's twin bill it will be left-handers Ian Harrington (2-1, 3.90) and Mark Rodrigues (1-1, 4.63).
"I would like to start Justin Costi (1-0, 8.49) Monday night and Sunday's starter is TBA," Trapasso said.
Costi, a senior right-hander, will get the nod Monday if he is not needed in long relief earlier in the series.
Trapasso still plans to use Matt Inouye behind the plate. The senior outfielder strained a muscle that kept him sidelined for several games, then was hit in the knee with a pitch last week.
Starting catcher Esteban Lopez is struggling at the plate with a .191 batting average, but he did the same last year until he got hot in the second half to finish at .250. Freshman Landon Hernandez, who usually catches the day game following a night game or the second game of doubleheaders, is hitting .235.
"Landon can go in and do a good job," Trapasso said.
Trapasso has options in the outfield, where he has rotated Inouye (team-leading .486 average), Robbie Wilder (.328), Jorge Franco (.275) and Derek Dupree (.271).
There also are options in the infield. When Kris Sanchez suffered a hamstring injury in the second game of the season, Luis Avila took over at first base. He has been solid at the plate (.317), leading the team with three homers and 21 runs batted in.
"Kris has recovered. I wanted to get him at-bats in the tournament, but we faced a lot of left-handers. I want Kris (a left-handed hitter) swinging the bat the way he started the season," Trapasso said.
Justin Frash (.404), used mostly as a designated hitter, could see more time at third base. That would move Jon Hee (.310) to second, where Eli Christensen has played good defense, but is hitting .196.
Joe Spiers, who has his average up to .277 after a terrible start, will be at shortstop, but can't continue to make errors (he has a team-leading nine) or freshman Nate Young will get more playing time.
Notes: UH dropped out of the Collegiate Baseball poll this week. ... The Leathernecks complete their Hawaii trip with five games at Hawaii-Hilo starting next Wednesday.