Meat of the order has been tasty for 'Bows
Hawaii has had great production from the 3, 4 and 5 hitters this season
When Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso sits down to write out his lineup every weekend, he knows that he needs run producers in the 3, 4 and 5 spots. Deciding on those three can often be a manager's worst nightmare, but Trapasso sleeps easy.
He only has three run producers at the moment, leaving little to choose from.
HAWAII VS. PACIFIC
When: Tomorrow, 6:35 p.m., Saturday, 1:05 p.m., Sunday 1:05 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
TV: Sunday only, KFVE, Ch. 5
Tickets: $3 to $7
With Justin Frash in the third spot followed by Brandon Haislet and Kris Sanchez, the heart of Hawaii's order is hitting .459 after the first five games. They are getting on base more than half the time, combining for a .576 on-base percentage.
"As far as getting on base the way they do, they might be able to keep that up all year because they are that good," Trapasso said. "I don't think we can count on Sanchez going 7-for-11 in every series, though."
Sanchez was named the WAC's hitter of the week in each of the last two weeks. He is hitting an obscene .636 with 10 RBIs, twice as many as any other Rainbow. But it is what happens when Sanchez is on base -- which is frequently -- that might worry Trapasso the most. Sanchez has been on base 18 times this season, but has only scored four runs.
"A lot of that depends on how we are swinging early, but we will be tinkering with that until we find something that works," Trapasso said. "The hitting in that part of the order will improve when we get (injured starters Jonathan) Hee and (Derek) DuPree back."
The last four spots in the order have hit just .188 this year, with the No. 6 spot -- the hitter directly following Sanchez -- hitting only .150.
Shortstop Eli Christensen (.143 ) has been in the No. 6 spot for five of six games, followed by Evan Zimny (.227), Landon Hernandez (.273) and a motley crew in the ninth spot.
Hawaii's lineup is going to have to support Sanchez if Hawaii is to have a chance this weekend against the Pacific Tigers. Pacific pounded Cal State Northridge pitching for 20 runs in three games before putting 16 runs up on Sacramento State two days later.
But the Pacific pitchers may help mend Hawaii's woes at the bottom of the order, as its staff has given up more than nine runs twice in their four games.
That left the Tigers' potent offense to arrive in Hawaii with a 2-2 record and looking to be the first to take a series from the Rainbows this year.
To avoid that, Trapasso needs a good series out of his entire lineup rather than just the usual suspects.
"We've had spots where the whole lineup's been clicking, but right now we're not clicking as a team in all areas -- offense, defense, pitching," Trapasso said. "You gotta just put things together, but that's what you do in this part of the season, try to find your way and get into a rhythm."