[ UH BASEBALL ]
Warriors face Cal
The UH coach hopes his team
shows growth after losing three
straight to fifth-ranked Texas
Coaches want their team and players to improve from week to week. Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso is looking for just that when the Rainbows meet Cal State Northridge in a three-game series at Murakami Stadium this weekend.
Minutes after Texas completed a three-game sweep Sunday, Trapasso had a list of 17 items to deal with in practice this week. He said that was not unusual this early in the year.
The Rainbows trailed in each game by the time they came to bat in the first inning. They spent the weekend chasing the early Longhorn run production and the closest they came to having a lead was two ties in Saturday's extra-inning affair.
"We did not pitch like we are capable of pitching even against a team like Texas," Trapasso said.
The Rainbows don't bash the ball all over the yard, so playing catch-up proved difficult for a team that wants to sacrifice, use the hit-and-run and make use of team speed to manufacture runs -- much like Texas did.
Trapasso was not pleased with the UH defense either. The Rainbows committed nine errors that show up in the box score and several more of the mental variety.
"We shouldn't have a fly ball drop in the outfield. We work on outfielder communication three days a week," said Trapasso. "Our outfielders got too amped up trying to throw out the lead runner and that kept us out of double-play situations (when the hitter advanced to second on a throw home that sailed over the cutoff man)."
There were other concerns that Trapasso said would emerge after a season-opening series no matter who the 'Bows played. Dugout demeanor, a really big item on his list, was discussed this week. He also wants to see the tempo of the game change.
"The tempo hurt our pitching. We were really slow and had no tempo," said Trapasso. "When you do that, you don't throw strikes and you put your defense to sleep. We want to deliver a pitch about every 12 seconds.
"There were some things we did right, but Texas was a better team in some areas."
The Longhorns were successful on 10 of 14 stolen-base attempts, but Trapasso did not fault his pitchers, who he said did a good job of holding the Texas base runners.
The starting rotation will be tweaked this weekend. Right-hander Clary Carlsen draws the starting assignment in tomorrow's 6:35 p.m. opener.
"I think it is important for the psyche of our club to get out of the gate with a good start and have some zeros on the top of the scoreboard for the first few innings," Trapasso said. "We're going to have to scratch and claw until Mark (Rodrigues) gets back and gives us another healthy arm."
Rodrigues, a left-hander who did not join the team until semester break and missed fall practice, experienced some tenderness around his left elbow and took a week off. He started throwing Wednesday and Trapasso expects him to be ready in a week or two.
Ricky Bauer starts Saturday and Rich Olsen, if not used out of the bullpen Friday or Saturday, starts Sunday. Otherwise, freshman right-hander Steven Wright will start Sunday.
The bullpen, led by Stephen Bryant, Guy McDowell, Darrell Fisherbaugh and Carlsen, did a creditable job against Texas.
"You will see some guys develop and fall into some roles in the bullpen. Your are going to see Fisherbaugh continue to get innings," Trapasso said.
Notes: Since going to an all-collegiate schedule in 1975, UH has not lost four consecutive games to start a season. ... The total turnstile attendance for the Texas series was 5,647.