Outfield 2-fer paying off for UH
Junior college teammates Haislet and Zimny are still together, and looked good in their debuts
There's a difference between a natural athlete and a natural hitter.
Hawaii has one of each in center fielder Brandon Haislet and right fielder Evan Zimny.
UH coach Mike Trapasso said Haislet is "a potential five-tool player," but "hitting comes more naturally to Evan."
The transfers from Cosumnes River College, a JC in Sacramento, Calif., both lived up to their billing in last week's season-opening series against Santa Clara and Division I debuts.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (0-0) AT HAWAII (2-1)
When: Today and tomorrow, 6:35 p.m.; Saturday 1:05 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
TV: KFVE, Ch. 5
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Both batted over .300, with Haislet going 4-for-11 and Zimny 4-for-12. Both also played well defensively, and did nothing to lose their starting spots as UH (2-1) hosts Georgia Southern (0-0) in a three-game series starting tonight.
Trapasso is pleased, and expects more of the same as the season progresses.
"You never quite know for sure until the games," he said. "But these are two guys we really felt could do the job."
Haislet and Zimny are used to playing next to each other. They did so the past two seasons at Cosumnes. The former American Legion competitors became close friends, and are
happy they could move on to the same Division I school.
"We saw what Coach Trap was doing here, building the program up at a real good rate and we committed. Then they ended up making a Regional," Haislet said. "After our recruiting trip here we had a real good feeling."
Two pitchers from Cosumnes, Alex Bates and Jared Alexander, were early signees for 2008.
The pipeline got started in the summer of 2004, when Trapasso and Cosumnes coach Tony Bloomfield worked together with the U.S. National Team and became friends.
Bloomfield said he made sure his players had the right personality to succeed here before sending them across the ocean.
"First of all, you can't be a mommy's boy and want to run home every time something goes wrong," Bloomfield said. "They come from good families and they do things the right way. And they're hard workers. They put the hay in the barn for the winter months. They're good kids. I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed there to live."
Haislet and Zimny have adapted quickly off the field and on -- although they admit to having had opening-night jitters last Friday.
"I felt a little more relaxed as we went on. But it was a long weekend," said Zimny, who went 3-for-5 in his first game and 0-for-4 on Sunday. "I still need to get used to it. We never really played a series (in junior college). We would play three games a week but spread out. I like it better this way."
Zimny is a tough out. He tomahawked an 0-2 pitch with two outs for a two-run double, keying UH's 5-4 win on Saturday.
"He's a left-handed bat and he battles," Trapasso said. "He got (two) two-strike hits over the weekend. That shows what he's all about. We expect him to get better as the year goes. I love having an Evan Zimny in the No. 7 hole, since we expect a lot of RBIs from five, six and seven."
Haislet, a right-hander who bats fourth, displayed his wide array of talent in Sunday's 3-2 loss. He knocked a double off the left-field wall, surprised the Broncos with a bunt single, and stole a base on a pitchout. He scored both of UH's runs.
"Especially considering he missed a lot of the fall with a pulled hamstring, we're happy with how good he is on defense, too," Trapasso said.
UH season-ticket holders in football, volleyball, basketball and baseball can get two tickets for the price of one (maximum eight for four).
Starting pitchers and other notes:
Georgia Southern goes with sophomore lefty Josh Lairsey (3-6, 6.49 last year), sophomore righty Drew Murray and freshman righty Brian Wilkerson. UH throws senior lefty Ian Harrington (1-0, 1.35 this season), senior lefty Mark Rodrigues (1-0, 3.88) and is undecided for Saturday. ... Georgia Southern was 31-27 last year. The Eagles went to the College World Series in 1973 and 1990.