'Bows shake it up for Vulcans
Matt Daly moves into the pitching rotation as the Rainbows head to Hilo
Matt Daly will move into the starting rotation as Hawaii visits Hilo this week. Daly starts Saturday in the second of the three-game set, replacing Joshua Schneider, coach Mike Trapasso said.
The boys from Manoa hold a 103-19 stranglehold on the series, but when the Rainbows and Vulcans meet up, it's always interesting.
HAWAII AT UH-HILO
When: Tomorrow, 6 p.m.; Friday, 3 p.m.; Saturday, noon.
Where: Wong Stadium, Hilo
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
The games are at Wong Stadium, and the Vulcans (12-32-1) are finishing their season against the Rainbows (28-19), who are in the stretch drive of what they hope is another season that will continue into June and another NCAA regional bid.
The Rainbows will have to improve on their 1-4 performance of last week at Arizona and New Mexico State to have any hope of that happening. After this series, they move on to three at Nevada and three at home against Fresno State before the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Reno, Nev., May 24-28. Unlike last year, they'll have to win the tourney to advance.
But for now, the Vulcans.
Like the Rainbows, they're coming off a bad trip to the southwest (five losses at NMSU and New Mexico), but coach Joey Estrella said his club will have plenty of motivation.
"I worry about our guys just throwing our gloves out there," Trapasso said. "This series is always huge for (Hilo)."
With nine regular-season games left, Mike Trapasso knows this isn't the best time to shake up his starting pitching. But the Hawaii coach doesn't see much choice.
Matt Daly steps in Friday at Hilo (12-32-1) to replace fellow right-hander Josh Schneider as the No. 2 man in the rotation. Mark Rodrigues remains in the first spot and will pitch tomorrow's series opener at Wong Stadium, and Ian Harrington is still the anchor and will go in Saturday's finale.
Vulcans coach Joey Estrella said yesterday he'd yet to decide on his starters.
Daly (4-1) was one of the few pitching bright spots on UH's just-completed five-game trip to the mainland. He got the Rainbows' only win, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings in a 21-6 win at New Mexico State.
UH (28-19, 9-9 WAC) got no quality starts on the trip. Schneider hasn't pitched well since a five-hit, 6-0 shutout of San Jose State on April 1.
Meanwhile, Daly has allowed opposing batters to hit just .196, while striking out 62 and walking 26 in 52 1/3 innings; 16 of his 20 appearances have been in relief.
"We've got to find a way to get some quality starting pitching," Trapasso said of the move. "It's going to weaken our bullpen, but Josh will have to pitch well out of the bullpen."
Daly said he feels his velocity improving as the season goes on. His fastball reached a high of 96 mph against Louisiana Tech, he said.
"We need to step up and go as long as we can on the mound, and offensively we have to keep the pressure going," Daly said.
The Rainbows lost a chance to move up in the WAC standings last week. They dropped a doubleheader to the Aggies on Saturday, 8-6 and 9-4.
"We didn't play with the toughness that we need," Trapasso said. "There are no excuses."
Like Daly, second baseman Jon Hee hasn't wilted down the stretch. The junior from Mid-Pacific is batting .331 and has been solid in the field with four errors in 204 chances.
"You talk about toughness and heart, there's a guy all our players should look to," Trapasso said. "He's been playing on one-and-a-half shoulders all season. He quietly leads by example and it doesn't matter what the situation is. He's going to be tough."
Hee missed last year's trip to Hilo because of a shoulder injury.
"It should be fun. I know a bunch of their guys, A.J. Satele and Dane Ogawa," Hee said. "We have to go out and regroup and not take anyone lightly. We looked kind of tired last week. It's not a good excuse."
The Vulcans are finishing their season with the Rainbows.
"I'm not sure what happened with the New Mexico State series, but they're still a regional team, and we can't ask for anything more," said Estrella, who played at Manoa. "It's always been a special series for a lot of the guys from the islands and those who have played in the past. It's something to end the season playing the Rainbows."