Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, February 14, 2002



Room for
improvement as
’Bows host Bruins

Trapasso wants to see UH
hit the ball better against UCLA

By Al Chase

Hawaii will try to generate more offense and tighten up the defense this weekend when it plays a familiar nonconference baseball opponent.

The UCLA Bruins, making their ninth consecutive trip to the islands, provide the opposition. The Bruins have played the Rainbows 49 times, more than any other nonconference team from the mainland.

The Rainbows (2-5) lead the series 26-23, but UCLA (6-3)has won five of the last six games and scored 10 or more runs in four of those victories.

Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso will go with the same starting rotation -- Bryan Lee, Aaron Pribble and Ricky Bauer -- that worked last week.

"We're going to try to settle things a bit. I like the way our guys have been coming out of the bullpen and I don't want to mess with that," Trapasso said.

Lee has been solid in both starts, pitching into the eighth inning in each and doing it with fewer than 90 pitches. He allows less than a hit an inning and has a 2.30 earned run average.

Pribble, who pitched very well in relief against Florida State, struggled last weekend. Bauer improved last weekend over his start against FSU and was hurt by defensive miscues against Cal State Sacramento.

"I want to see if Pribble can throw the way he did against Florida State. Bauer pitched well. If we had made plays behind him, he probably would have gone seven innings," Trapasso said.

"When you have trouble scoring a lot of runs, the errors on defense are magnified. We can't be afraid to make a mistake. If we make a mistake playing aggressive baseball, I can live with that. But, I thought we played uptight Saturday and Sunday. We played very timid."

The Rainbows have committed only seven errors, but most have come at the wrong time and cost runs.

The running game has worked well for the Rainbows, although Trapasso says it can be better. The 'Bows have been successful on 13 of 16 stolen base attempts.

"Regardless of how far down we are, we're going to have to run. That's part of our team identity," Trapasso said.

"I looked at the Western Athletic Conference statistics and everyone has played six or seven games. We lead the league in stolen bases and fielding. We're middle of the pack with our pitching and that may be better than I thought it would be. If we can hit a little, we'll be OK, but we're dead last in hitting.

"I know we're going to hit better. We've been in a collective slump offensively, and I think Florida State put us there. I want to see our players aggressive and loose. Let's make mistakes by going all out, make them on the side of being aggressive."

Hawaii is hitting .241 as a team. There were signs that might change this past weekend, especially in Sunday's game, when several 'Bows made good contact only to line the ball right at someone. UH isn't expected to be a power-hitting club, but of their 60 hits, only 10 have been for extra bases.

"I think our approach is the same with everyone. I want to stay positive and not make a big deal out if it," Trapasso said.

"There hasn't been a single situation come up in the first seven games that we haven't worked on in practice. I really do believe we have guys who will swing a little better than we have so far."

UH Baseball

Who: vs. UCLA
When: Tomorrow, 6:35 p.m.; Saturday, 12:05 p.m.; Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
Tickets: $4-6
Broadcasts: All three games will be carried live on KFVE-TV, 1420-AM and

UH Athletics

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