’Bows look to stay hot
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The Hawaii baseball team will try to win its third consecutive series when it hosts Nevada for a four-game set beginning tomorrow at Les Murakami Stadium.
Nevada (21-14, 8-4 WAC) at Hawaii (16-21, 8-8)
When: Tomorrow, 6:35 p.m., Saturday (DH) and Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
TV: KFVE, Ch. 5
The Rainbows are .500 in conference play at the halfway mark.
Nevada comes to town owning five straight wins over the Rainbows and ended Hawaii's season last May in the WAC tournament.
Jared Alexander is the only sure thing as a starter for the Rainbows. He will take the hill in tomorrow's opener.
After Alexander, Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso has a bevy of pitchers to choose from. The recent debuts of Alex Bates and Alex Myers have given the 'Bows some much-needed depth in the rotation.
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The Hawaii baseball team hits the final month of the season putting everything that's happened this year behind it.
All that matters is the present.
Hawaii is 16-21 overall and 8-8 at the halfway point of the Western Athletic Conference season.
The Rainbows have four WAC series and a nonconference tilt against Utah Valley left before the conference tournament begins May 22 in Ruston, La.
"We're definitely in a position where we need to lay it on the line," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "We've got about six weeks left."
The Rainbows have won consecutive series for the first time this season thanks to a new-found consistency, both on the mound and at the plate.
The batting order is set, other than a few changes on doubleheader games. The pitching staff is locked in on its individual roles for the most part, with only a question or two coming at the end of the starting rotation.
It took half the season for Trapasso to figure out the best combinations of players and positions. Now it's just a matter of not being content with their recent success and instead continuing to do things necessary to keep it going.
"We're still in a situation where I don't want to say things like 'turn around' and 'right the ship' and things like that," Trapasso said. "We've played good for a couple weeks. You can see it with the kids. They feel good about what they're doing now. I credit them for staying the course."
Nevada (21-14, 8-4 WAC) comes to town for a four-game series beginning tomorrow at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Wolf Pack are currently two games above the Rainbows in the standings, but have played four fewer games.
Hawaii has lost five in a row to Nevada, including two in last year's WAC tournament that ended the Rainbows' season.
Any thoughts of revenge were quickly put to rest by Trapasso, who says the team is focused on this year.
"When you've been doing this for so long, you really don't look at it that way," Trapasso said. "It's all about just worrying more about ourselves. If you're worried about yourself and executing and playing your game, you have a chance to win no matter who you are playing."
Nevada leads the conference with a .321 team batting average in league play, but has an earned-run average of 5.57.
Hawaii's ERA for the season is 4.86, but is more than a run less in conference play. That has been a big reason for the team's recent success.
"We're pitching much better than we were a month ago," Trapasso said.
Jared Alexander will once again start the opener and most likely be followed by Nick Rhodes. The last two starters have yet to be decided, but Trapasso did say that Alex Bates would get a start.
The coach also said that at this point in the season, anything can happen.
"It all depends on what we see (on Friday)," Trapasso said. "This time of year, nothing is a lock or carved in stone."
One thing he does have is a suddenly deep pool of pitchers with which to work.
Josh Schneider didn't have his best stuff against New Mexico State, but gutted out 5 2/3 innings of relief in the first game of last weekend's doubleheader. His ability to save the bullpen helped the Rainbows split the twinbill and win the series 3-1.
Senior Cory Kahn was very effective in his appearance against the Aggies. Freshman Alex Capaul threw a lot of pitches in his short stint on the mound, but made the throws he needed to get outs.
Add Bates and Alex Myers to the mix and suddenly the Rainbows have a deep crop of pitchers all capable of performing well.
"It makes you feel a lot better about your pitching down the stretch," Trapasso said. "We definitely have a few more options to work with."