Trapasso wants to see UH batters less tentative
Most questions surrounding the Hawaii baseball team as it opened the season last weekend revolved around the Rainbows' inexperience on the mound.
Newcomers Jared Alexander and Alex Capaul helped ease those concerns with solid outings, but the offense was a different story.
Six of the nine offensive starters on opening night made at least 35 starts last year and are expected to carry the team through the early part of the season.
That didn't happen against Hawaii-Hilo as the Rainbows hit .239 in three games against the Vulcans and had just two innings in which they scored more than one run.
"We were lucky to win this series, frankly, with the way we swung our bats in particular," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "It's our older guys offensively that aren't doing it. We had one good inning offensively in three games. That's it."
The Rainbows couldn't string together any of their 22 hits. Hawaii managed one inning of more than two hits and no batter recorded a multi-hit game in the series.
"We've got to swing the bats with a little less fear," Trapasso said. "We've got to swing more aggressively. We were tentative the entire weekend."
One bright spot for Hawaii was the pitching of the new players who made their first starts.
Alexander was electrifying in tossing eight shutout innings Saturday. He was a little wild in the first, but settled down to face just two batters over the minimum in eight innings.
"I was able to throw strikes and save the bullpen," Alexander said. "I made them put the ball in play and got some quick outs."
Capaul got the loss on Sunday, but showed good control of his stuff. Forty-six of his 69 pitches were for strikes and he only walked one. Capaul gave up all four runs in the fourth inning, but never faced more than four batters in any of the other four he pitched.
"It's a shame he gets a loss because of one bad inning and really one bad pitch for the most part," Trapasso said. "He didn't get the support he should have got."
Hawaii's one offensive surge came in the eighth inning of Saturday's 9-2 win. The Rainbows scored six, thanks to Jon Hee's
first home run of his career. It took over 400 career at-bats before the senior second baseman took a 3-1 fastball deep over the left-field wall.
Vinnie Catricala was a disappointing 2-for-10 in the series, but he made one of his two hits count an inning earlier with a mammoth shot that cleared the fence in left-center.
"Vinnie's was a blast," Trapasso said. "We're not a power-hitting team, especially in this ballpark, but when you have the Kona winds like they were (Saturday), the ball can go out to left."
The first of many
Hawaii will play the first of nine four-game series held in a three-day period this weekend when it faces San Francisco. All eight WAC matchups will be under the same three-in-four-days format as a late start to the season forced the conference to adopt the new schedule.