’Bows face another ranked team
Hopefully the Hawaii baseball team got a good night's sleep yesterday after an early-morning wake-up call made for a long day of travel.
After finishing off a two-game series sweep of Alabama-Birmingham Wednesday night, Hawaii had roughly 7 hours from leaving the ball park to being on the team bus that left campus at 5:15 a.m. yesterday.
"It's a good thing I can sleep on the plane," joked Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso, who said he had his alarm set for 4 a.m. but wasn't sure he'd need it. "I might not even go to sleep."
The Rainbows (7-9) will need all the rest they can get as they get set for another rough three-game series, this time against No. 13 UC Irvine (11-1).
Tonight's opener features a battle of aces as Hawaii's Jared Alexander takes the mound against preseason Louisville Slugger first-team All-American selection Scott Gorgen. As was the case against Long Beach State, junior Matt Daly is scheduled to start the series finale, but could be used in relief today. If that's the case, Hawaii would need a fourth starter to close out the series as Nicholas Rhodes will pitch tomorrow.
Senior Josh Schneider made a big push for that spot after tossing six innings of three-hit ball on Wednesday without allowing a run.
It was his first start of the season and he seemed to react much better to starting than pitching out of the bullpen.
"Being able to start and control the tempo and stay relaxed really seems to suit him," Trapasso said.
Schneider agreed, but was quick to point out he'd be available for anything Trapasso asks of him.
"(Starting) did come a little easier for me," Schneider said. "But as far as coming out of the bullpen, I'm starting to develop the mind-set that whatever Coach needs me to do, I'll prepare myself either way."
Music for Haislet?
When senior Brandon Haislet
steps to the plate during home games, Les Murakami Stadium becomes eerily quiet.
That's because Haislet is the only Rainbows player who refuses to have a walk-up song play when he steps into the batter's box.
It worked wonders to open the season as Haislet was hitting well over .400 and leading the team in hits.
But in the last four games, Haislet is just 2-for-16. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Wednesday and has seen his average drop to .345.
Expect to hear some new music the next time he comes to bat if the trend continues.
Fujii making things happen
Sophomore Kevin Fujii
has started just four games as the backup catcher this season, but is responsible for at least two of Hawaii's seven wins this year.
Fujii scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth in Tuesday's 4-3 win over UAB by scoring from second base on an infield single by Sean Montplaisir.
Fujii also was responsible for scoring both the tying and winning runs in Hawaii's season opener against Hawaii-Hilo.
He is currently batting .333 for the season and is tied for fifth on the team in runs despite his limited playing time.