RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH's Sam Spangler pitched against the alumni in the fifth inning at Les Murakami Stadium.
Freshman pitchers are sharp vs. alumni
Two of Hawaii's talented freshman pitchers passed their first test with flying colors.
Josh Slaats and Sam Spangler combined to hold an alumni team featuring five current professionals to just one hit over eight innings as the Rainbows defeated the alumni team 6-0 yesterday at Les Murakami Stadium.
Slaats gave up a double to Justin Frash to lead off the second inning, but that was the only hit the alumni could muster. Slaats struck out three in 4 2/3 innings and Spangler struck out the side in the sixth inning and retired 10 of the 12 batters he faced.
"Sam Spangler was very good. I was real happy to see that," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "One of the things he did that I like is he tends to go in and out of a rhythm. When he did, he was able to find it again. That's what we're going to have to have during the season."
First baseman Kris Sanchez, who led the team in batting average, home runs and RBIs as a senior last year, was one of many alumni who came away impressed by Hawaii's young guns. He finished 0-for-3.
"They were throwing strikes and that's the main thing," Sanchez said. "You come in throwing strikes and you have a chance to do well. I'm pretty sure they're going to have a good year for them."
The game was competitive from the start, as Justin Costi kept Hawaii scoreless through the first four innings. The Rainbows took advantage of an error to score three runs in the fifth inning, but finished with only eight hits.
"I didn't think we swung the bats as well as we're capable of," Trapasso said. "It's the most talent on any alumni team that we have played by far."
The story of the game was the two freshman who kept the alumni at bay. To their credit, most of the alumni players hadn't faced live pitching in six months, but it was also the first time Spangler and Slaats threw in a live game wearing the UH uniform.
It was kind of nerve-wracking at first," Spangler said. "I've been really trying to work on the fastball and it was working for me."
Slaats was primarily a two-pitch pitcher in high school, but has added a changeup to his repertoire that he used effectively yesterday.
"I was trying to throw the (changeup) consistently for strikes," Slaats said. "That's a pitch I didn't have until this year, so I've really been working on that."
The Rainbows return to the field in five days when they host UH-Hilo to officially open the 2008 season.