JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kris Sanchez was named the WAC Hitter of the Week yesterday after the first baseman was 7-for-11 at the plate in a three-game series against Santa Clara last weekend. CLICK FOR LARGE
Sanchez the answer to 'Who's on first?'
The season-opening baseball series was much better for Hawaii first baseman Kris Sanchez this year than last.
In 2006, Sanchez pulled a hamstring during the second game against San Diego State and missed a month. When he came back, he no longer had a starting job.
Last weekend, Sanchez went 7-for-11 in three games against Santa Clara and won the WAC Hitter of the Week Award. The senior from Tucson, Ariz., belted three doubles and drove in three runs. He also made several good defensive plays in UH's 5-4 win on Saturday.
"It was rough being the opening night starter and getting hurt," Sanchez said. "But when I came back Luis (Avila) was playing really well. As a team it was OK, because we were winning."
Sanchez, a senior JC transfer from Central Arizona College, did get into 32 games last year, mostly as a DH and pinch-hitter. He hit .262 in 94 plate appearances.
UH coach Mike Trapasso expects Sanchez to continue the productivity from the No. 5 spot in his lineup as the Rainbows host Georgia Southern for three games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
"This summer Kris worked really hard in the collegiate league here," Trapasso said. "He's made some adjustments. A lot of JC players take a year to completely adjust."
Sanchez said moving closer to the plate and opening his stance has helped him drive pitches more consistently.
"(Assistant) Coach (Keith) Komeiji has been the biggest help for me," Sanchez said. "I don't know how many hours he's spent with me in the cage."
Trapasso is "looking at a couple of weeks" for the return of junior starting second baseman Jon Hee
. Hee suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder when he hit the turf hard making a diving stop Friday.
"He said (Saturday) he's shooting for Pacific," said Trapasso, referring to next week's series that starts Feb. 9.
Hee was out for 20 days and missed eight games last year with the same type of injury.
"When it happens once, it's more likely to happen again," Trapasso said.
Sophomore Nate Young replaced Hee in the field and in the second spot in the lineup and went 2-for-9 against Santa Clara. Freshman Kevin Macdonald and junior starting left fielder Jorge Franco will also practice at second.
Two for one:
UH season-ticket holders in football, volleyball, basketball and baseball can get two tickets for the price of one for this week's series.
A maximum of eight tickets per game can be obtained via this promotion.
They can be purchased online at HawaiiAthletics.com, in advance at the Stan Sheriff Center box office, or on game day at the Les Murakami Stadium box office.
The Rainbows hoped junior outfielder Derek DuPree
(torn ACL last summer) would be ready to play by February, but Trapasso said Sunday it probably won't be until March. ... JC transfer right-hander Derek Tarapacki
's clearance still hadn't come through as of yesterday. "We're not sure if we'll have him all year," the coach said. ... All three games this week are slated for TV. ... Strange stats: UH enjoyed a team ERA of 2.33 last week, despite the Broncos hitting .324. UH won two of the three games while being outhit 34-30.