’Bows bring passion into second half
The team snapped out of its doldrums with a visit to Hilo
The Hawaii Rainbows begin the second half of their 2006 schedule tomorrow with their last nonconference series of the season against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.
UC Santa Barbara at Hawaii
When: Tomorrow,1:05 p.m.; Monday and Tuesday, 6:35 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium.
TV: Tuesday's game only, live, KFVE, Ch. 5.
Radio: All games live, KKEA, 1420-AM.
Tickets: $7 orange and blue sections; $6 red section; $5 seniors, and $3 students ages 4-18, UH students in the red section.
Notes: Fans 65 years and older will receive two free tickets for every ticket purchased. The tickets, good for family and friends, can be purchased in advance or on game day.
After this series, the Rainbows (20-8) play 23 of their next 25 games against Western Athletic Conference opponents. They don't want a repeat of what happened against Louisiana Tech, playing in a manner coach Mike Trapasso termed "cruise control."
The fifth-year coach declared that ended after Wednesday's win over Hawaii-Hilo.
"We just have to keep playing like we are capable of playing, like we played for the first 20 games," Trapasso said.
"We have said from day one that we have good kids and smart kids. They knew they weren't playing the way they could. Our only focus is to play the best baseball we can, win or lose."
The Gauchos (9-10), from the Big West Conference, have jelled the past two weeks to win five of their last seven games. Last weekend, the Gauchos took two of three from Texas Christian, the preseason pick to win the Mountain West Conference title.
"They have played well lately and they beat a TCU team that was ranked in the top 20 earlier in the season," Trapasso said.
Alden Carrithers is the top UCSB hitter, with a .406 batting average. Chris Valaika is hitting .364 and provides extra-base offense with seven doubles and two home runs. Brian Lee has a team-leading four homers.
UCSB coach Bob Brontsema's starting rotation has right-hander Andy Graham (1-2, 3.89 earned-run average) going tomorrow followed by right-hander Brian Tracy (1-3, 3.86) and left-hander Anthony Martin (1-0, 5.40).
Hawaii will have right-hander Steven Wright (4-2, 3.14) on the hill tomorrow with left-hander Ian Harrington (3-1, 3.25) taking the mound Monday. Either right-hander Justin Costi (3-0, 5.24) or left-hander Mark Rodrigues (3-1, 3.31) gets the start Tuesday.
The 'Bows have five regulars hitting above .300, with Matt Inouye showing the way with a .450 average. Justin Frash (.380), Luis Avila (.333), Robbie Wilder (.330) and Derek DuPree (.304) follow.
Avila is the team leader with 10 doubles, four home runs and 27 runs batted in.
Infielder Jon Hee, out with a subluxation of the left shoulder, has a .300 batting average and there is a possibility he will return to action next weekend.
"Jon is coming along nicely. He took batting practice today without pain," Trapasso said yesterday.
"We're hoping he'll be back for the San Jose State series (March 31-April 2.)"