The 'Bows are back in town!


POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sometimes the slightest change can make the biggest difference.

Such is the case for Hawaii first baseman Kevin Macdonald, who, after hitting just one home run in each of his first two seasons with the Rainbows, is nearing the top of the record books for most long balls in a season.

After a tip from hitting coach Keith Komeiji to move his hands back in his batting stance following the Nevada road trip, Macdonald has whacked homers at a record pace, with seven in his last nine games.

“;Ever since then, I've been hitting with more power,”; the junior from Palm Desert, Calif., said. “;I can't really say exactly why. That's just the way things have been going.”;

His recent outburst has him at 11 for the season, tied for the fourth-most in UH history. Only Joey Meyer, who hit 16 in 1983, and John Matias, who followed up a 15-homer season in 1988 with 12 in '89, have hit more.

“;I don't know (what he's eating), but he needs to keep eating it and maybe give some to everyone else,”; Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “;We'll continue to need him.”;

Macdonald's most recent homer might be his biggest of the year. After a superb start from Nate Klein (six shutout innings) in the toughest pitchers' park in the league, New Mexico State rallied with seven runs in the eighth inning to take a 7-5 lead.

Already with a grand slam in the earlier game last Saturday, Macdonald stepped to the plate as the tying run with two outs and delivered a two-run blast that put the game into extra innings and allowed the 'Bows to earn a split with the Aggies.

“;At that park, to come out of there with a split is a success,”; Macdonald said.

Unlike a lot of teammates who played summer ball before the season, Macdonald had his own way to prepare for his junior campaign.

“;I worked in an indoor hitting facility and gave hitting lessons to kids,”; Macdonald said. “;I spent most of my time feeding balls to machines actually. Nothing exciting.”;

Summer jobs doing the same could become mandatory if it means the same progress that Macdonald has made.

After a stellar freshman season in which he hit .314 in 38 games, Macdonald experienced the sophomore slump that has plagued a few Rainbows this season.

He started 55 games, but saw his average dip more than 60 points to .249. He scored just as many runs as the year before, but in double the plate appearances.

“;I definitely struggled last year,”; Macdonald admitted. “;Only thing you can do is just keep playing hard and try to work through it.”;

His recent tear has caught the attention of everyone on the team, including Klein, who wants no part of pitching against Macdonald.

“;Absolutely not,”; the junior right-hander said. “;Every ball he sees right now—fastball, curveball, changeup—he's hitting out of the park.”;

After missing a month with a muscle strain, Klein was one of the few bright spots among the UH pitching staff in Las Cruces, N.M., hitting the 100-pitch mark while throwing six shutout innings against the Aggies.

“;I got my off-speed pitches over for strikes and they're a fastball-hitting team,”; Klein said. “;You get them hitting changeups and they're not going to hit them out of the park.”;

Klein will start the third game of the series on Saturday, which is down to only 700 tickets remaining.

Jayson Kramer and Matt Sisto will start the first two games, with Jared Alexander closing things out on Sunday.

Trapasso had yet to make a decision on the availability of relievers Lenny Linsky and Alex Myers for the series. The two were sent home early from last week's road trip for violating team rules.




UH Scouting Report

        Louisiana Tech (22-18, 7-9) at Hawaii (26-16, 9-7), 6:35 p.m. today through Saturday, 1:05 p.m. Sunday; TV: KFVE (all games but Saturday); Radio: 1420-AM (all four games)

» Inside LaTech: Split a four-game series with Sacramento State last weekend and has won 10 of last 12 games overall
        » Top Dogs: LaTech, which didn't qualify for the WAC tourney at its own ballpark last year, stunned defending national champ Fresno State by sweeping a four-game series two weeks ago.
        » 1-2 punch: Chris Kerstan and Devon Dageford have combined for 35 home runs, the most between any two teammates in the WAC this season.



Probable Starters
Jeb Stefan3-57.67542745
Dylan Moseley4-35.3460 2/32333
John Anderson5-25.31391537
Casey Jones3-05.50361726


        » Inside Hawaii: The Rainbows are coming off a four-game split at New Mexico State and also dropped a game at No. 3 Arizona State earlier in the week

        » Power trip: UH's 45 home runs are already the second most ever hit in one season. The Rainbows are 13 away from the record of 58 set in 1983.

        » The Wong way: Kolten Wong is hitting a league-best .492 in WAC play. His 16-game hitting streak is tied for fourth-longest in school history, nine behind Dwayne Daughtry's record of 25 in 1990.


Probable Starters
Jayson Kramer4-33.68662033
Matt Sisto4-44.12591029
Nate Klein1-23.6339 2/3931
Jared Alexander2-16.8234 1/3818