Alexander looks good in UH victory


POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2009

Hawaii capped its best pitching series of the year with an encouraging performance from senior Jared Alexander.

Alexander pitched into the sixth inning for the first time all season, allowing two runs on four hits while walking only one as Hawaii defeated Sacramento State 8-4 yesterday in front of a Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 2,164.

Kevin Macdonald hit two more home runs to give him four in the series as Hawaii (24-13, 7-4 Western Athletic Conference) took three of four from the Hornets (21-17, 2-6) to move into a tie with Nevada for first place in the WAC.

“;We really pitched well all four games and that was the key,”; Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “;Was definitely a step in the right direction for Jared.”;

All four Hawaii starters in the series pitched at least five innings, with none yielding more than two runs.

Alexander had only thrown five innings in a game once all season and had given up 24 runs in his last 13 innings entering yesterday's start.

He retired the side in four of his six innings and had a shutout going until the Hornets' Tim Wheeler hit a two-run homer in the sixth to pull the Hornets to 4-2.

His only walk came in the third, when he allowed two runners on base, but battled back to retire 10 of the next 11 batters he faced.

“;Definitely helps out my confidence a lot,”; Alexander said. “;Got to try to build off of it.”;

His performance came at a critical time, as this week was the first time Alexander wasn't penciled in as a sure-fire starter when healthy. Solid pitching performances from Jayson Kramer, Matt Sisto and Nate Klein in the series kept the bullpen fresh, allowing Alexander to get another start and pitch well to hopefully build his confidence.

“;Second and third inning he started falling into the same pattern he's been in the last month, where he's getting too tentative and really nibbling and getting behind,”; Trapasso said. “;I went out and told him he's pitching like he's afraid of contact. You can't do what he did for us last year and pitch that way.

“;He's way better than what he's giving himself credit for.”;

Hawaii finished the series giving up 10 runs to a Hornets ballclub that entered the series hitting .318 as a team. Wheeler finally got it going with two home runs yesterday, but up to that point, Hawaii's pitching slowed him down. Blake Crosby was held to five hits in the series and had his 18-game hitting streak snapped.

“;They were able to command both sides of the plate throughout the whole series,”; Sacramento State coach John Smith said. “;They did a good job on our Wheeler kid. They pitched him away and it took him until today to make an adjustment, but they really did a solid job.

“;And their middle of the order is as good of a three guys as I've seen in college baseball ever.”;

The 3-4-5 tandem of Vinnie Catricala, Macdonald and Kolten Wong came up big again yesterday, combining to go 7-for-13 with three homers and five RBIs. Wong came close to a fourth homer for the group, but his ball that went just over the fence in right field hit the top of a pole and bounced back into play for a double.

Catricala and Macdonald hit back-to-back homers in the third to put Hawaii up 4-0. It was Macdonald's second of the day, and fourth of the series, as he also went deep for a two-run shot in the first.

“;I just got lucky four times I guess,”; Macdonald said. “;That's baseball. Can't really say much about it.”;

For the series, the three combined to hit .465 (20-for-43) with seven homers, 12 runs and 16 RBIs.

“;The middle of the order was swinging well all weekend,”; Trapasso said. “;We need to get the rest of the guys going a little more.”;

The Rainbows leave today for Tempe, Ariz., to face No. 4 Arizona State tomorrow. They'll follow that with a four-game series at New Mexico State beginning Friday.


WAC Standings

San Jose State53.6251/22611
New Mexico State75.5831/2328
Louisiana Tech57.4172 1/21816
Sacramento State26.2503 1/22117
Fresno State27.22241820


Hawaii 8, Sacramento State 4

Louisiana Tech 14, Fresno State 12

Louisiana Tech 14, Fresno State 6

Nevada 8, New Mexico State 7

San Jose State 5, UC Santa Barbara 4


Hawaii at Arizona State, 4 p.m. Hawaii time

San Jose State at San Francisco

Pacific University at Nevada


Hawaii at New Mexico State, 2 p.m. Hawaii time

Louisiana Tech at Sacramento State

Fresno State at San Jose State

Cal State Bakersfield at Nevada


Hawaii 8, Sacramento State 4

Martinez 2b4000Garcia ss4100
Roth rf4110Morford 2b4111
Wheeler cf4224Catricala 3b4122
Crosby 1b4010Macdonald 1b4223
Powers 3b4010Wong cf5030
Crouch lf4000Hernandez c3000
Espana dh4000Van Doornum dh3110
Hottman c2000Chevalier dh1100
Chung ss3130Montplaisir lf4111
SAC. ST.000002002482
HAWAII 20200103X8100

E—Hottman, Paine. DP—Sacramento State 2, Hawaii 1. LOB—Sacramento State 3, Hawaii 9. 2B—Crosby, Wong 2, Van Doornum, Montplaisir. HR—Wheeler 2, Catricala, Macdonald 2. SH—Chevalier. SB—Chung. CS—Crosby.

Sacramento St.IPHRERBBSO
Elrod (L, 4-2)354422
Alexander (W, 1-1)642211

WP—Elrod, Paine. HBP—Catricala (by Buchta), Macdonald (by Buchta). Balk—Paine. PB—Hottman.

Umpires—Tony Norris (Plate); Ted Kovach (First); Greg Charles (Third).

T—2:49. A—2,164.