UH’s Garcia in a groove since return to lineup
At the beginning of the season, Greg Garcia
found himself wondering when he was going to get a hit.
With the way he's swinging now, the question is, when won't he get one?
The freshman from El Cajon, Calif., went six games before getting his first collegiate hit and was batting .175 when a sprained ankle suffered against UC Irvine forced him to miss 10 games.
Since his return against Stanford on March 1, Garcia is hitting .436 with nine runs scored.
"I think the injury actually helped, because it got him to slow a bit," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said.
Hitting is contagious and the rest of the Rainbows have followed Garcia's lead. Hawaii is 12-5 since Garcia's return from injury and has raised its batting average by more than 40 points.
Garcia was told he would suffer lingering effects from the injury for more than a month, but says the ankle hasn't been a problem since he came back.
"From what I've heard from my trainer it's not going to be 100 percent for another month," Garcia said. "But it doesn't bother me anymore. I have no troubles with the ankle."
Garcia has been especially hot of late, going 13-for-26 in Hawaii's last eight games.
He had six hits last weekend as the Rainbows split a conference series against Louisiana Tech.
The Bulldogs host the WAC tournament, beginning in three weeks, and last weekend served as an indication of what Hawaii should expect when it returns to Ruston, La.
"It's going to be an interesting WAC tourney I'd say," Garcia said. "It's going to be a home run fest probably."
Louisiana Tech and Hawaii combined to hit 17 long balls in four games.
A 3-1 series victory for Nevada against WAC-leading Fresno State last weekend has brought five of the seven teams within 3 1/2 games of the Bulldogs in the conference standings.
Hawaii (21-24, 13-11 WAC) is the only team that has already played 24 league games and currently sits in third place, three games behind Fresno State.
Canceled games between Louisiana Tech and both San Jose State and Sacramento State mean at least three teams will play one fewer game.
The Rainbows face the Hornets (19-23, 10-9) this weekend with Sacramento State just a half-game behind in the standings.
At the end of the weekend, Hawaii could be anywhere from first to sixth in the conference.
Hawaii's longest road trip of the season featured more than 4,000 miles of travel each way, two different planes and a 60-mile bus ride.
The distance makes the trip one of the toughest on the 'Bows all season, and they get to do it again in three weeks for the WAC tournament.
Despite the length of the trip, Hawaii is 10-2 in its last 12 games in Ruston and has used the trip to develop a sense of camaraderie with each other.
"It's something you've got to deal with," Garcia said. "It kind of brought us together. The long flight, everyone is tired and the 5-hour time difference is tough, but it's going to make you stronger."