Bauer rebounds from
tough freshman year to
become solid starter

Ricky Bauer did not have the luxury of being protected, of being put in situations where there was a good chance for success as a freshman. He survived a 1-9 record.

"We had to just throw him out to the wolves last year and he was strong enough to realize it wasn't all his doing. In any other year he would have been at least 5-5," said Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso.

"That first series against Florida State was an eye-opener. Talk about a non-confidence booster, that was horrible. I think I gave up five runs in two innings," said Bauer.

Yet, he is philosophical about his freshman season.

"Some of it was just tough luck. You just go out the next time and try to get a win," said the Mid-Pacific Institute graduate.

Despite the numbers, he returned this year more mature, more confident and tried to approach everything with a positive feeling. He says the game that helped him big time was the third one of the series at Fresno State.

"Three or four games before that I was pulled early because my ball was up in the zone. Fresno is good and I did all right against them," said Bauer, who went seven innings, giving up seven hits and three runs. "That really helped. Things have gone well and I've been lucky. If Isaac (Omura) had been 2 feet the other way he wouldn't have caught that line drive with runners at second and third against Fresno here. That would have been two runs for sure."

The sophomore right-hander evened his record at 3-3 with the shutout last week against FSU, the first of his career. He is not known as a strikeout pitcher, but gets his fair share. What statistic stands out is how few walks he allows.

In 139 2/3 career innings, Bauer has issued just 19 free passes. He has fanned 90 and his earned run average of 3.25 is considerably improved over a year ago (5.79).

"If I walk a guy or two in a game, I get mad at myself. Those are free runners and, if you walk the first guy in an inning, he's probably going to score," said Bauer. "I just try to get every batter out. I try to live by what Trap (UH coach Mike Trapasso) says, 'out in three pitches, no matter how'."

UH pitching coach Chad Konishi said, "Ricky has improved just from experience alone. This year he has the ability to throw inside and outside and to throw strikes. He understands the philosophy of pitching and isn't just a thrower. He also does a better job of holding runners."

Bauer isn't fazed by his pitching opponent even when it is someone like San Jose State ace Matt Durkin, who will be on the mound tonight.

"I don't pay attention to that kind of stuff. In the last game I didn't even realize I struck out (FSU first baseman Kyle) Atrat three times until after the game," said Bauer, whose arsenal includes a fastball, slider, changeup and split-finger.

Trapasso's first recruit after taking the UH job, Bauer was drafted by the Boston Red Sox out of high school in the 39th round, but never seriously considered signing a pro contract. However, he would like to do that in the future.

"As soon as coach offered me a scholarship, I said yes," said Bauer, "I wanted to play in front of my family and friends, plus you can't beat playing baseball in Hawaii. The weather up there (mainland) is always questionable. I knew if I came to UH and got bigger and worked on a lot of stuff, I could go higher in the draft."

Bauer has added a few pounds since joining the program and would like to put on another 10 to 15. Gaining weight is not easy for him and he won't do it at the expense of losing flexibility.

This summer he will be pitching for the Brewster (Mass.) Whitecaps in the Cape Cod League, the premier summer wood-bat league for collegiate players.

"It's far and away the best summer league. Ricky is in for a great treat," said Trapasso.

Rainbow Baseball

When: Today and tomorrow, 6:35 p.m., and Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

Where: Murakami Stadium

TV: Live, KFVE, Channel 5

Radio: Live, KKEA, 1420-AM

Tickets: $6 Orange, Blue levels. $5 Red level. $4 Seniors, children age 4-18, UH students in the Red level.

day, 1:05 p.m.

Parking: $3

Probable starting pitchers

Hawaii (23-19, 5-13 WAC)


RHP Ricky Bauer (So.) 3-3 3.25 36

RHP Chris George (Sr.) 6-5 4.58 68

RHP Keahi Rawlins (Fr.) 4-2 2.74 32

San Jose State (20-21, 6-11 WAC)


RHP Matt Durkin (So.) 6-4 2.42 80

LHP Frank Esposito (Sr.) 1-2 4.98 48

Sunday's starting pitcher to be announced.

Notes: The Rainbows and Spartans have played 50 games, with each team claiming 25 victories. ... Hawaii won the first game between the teams a year ago, but San Jose State won the final six meetings, including one game in the Rainbow Easter Tournament. ... UH shortstop Brian Finegan has a nine-game hitting streak. ... Hawaii third baseman/left fielder Brent Cook leads the WAC with four triples. ... 'Bow center fielder Tim Montgomery is second in the WAC with eight home runs. ... Rainbow first baseman Andrew Sansaver leads the team in being hit by a pitch (10) and sacrifice bunts (11).

UH Athletics


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