Rainbows need runs
Hot San Jose State has won
11 of its last 13 games
The Hawaii Rainbows will attempt to find their offense this weekend against the San Jose State Spartans, a team that has featured excellent pitching the past two weeks.
The Spartans sputtered to open the season with a 4-7-1 record. Then they started rolling, winning 11 of their last 13 games and going 5-1 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Freshman right-hander Brandon Hennessey (3-2, 5.49 earned-run average) has been solid as coach Sam Piraro's Friday starter.
The next two games have belonged to left-handers Brandon Dewing (4-1, 2.50) and Brad Kilby (5-1, 1.10). The past two weeks they have pitched compete-game victories over Rice, allowing one run each, and Louisiana Tech, both shutouts.
Kilby and Dewing were named WAC Pitchers of the Week the past two weeks.
The challenge is obvious for the last-place Rainbows. They need to find their offense. Until they do, pitching must set the tone each game.
"The truth is we are not swinging the bat and scoring runs. This happens to teams. If we are only going to score two or three runs a game, then we have to win 3-2 or 2-1," said UH coach Mike Trapasso.
"It is disappointing. It is not like we have players we think can't hit. We have seen them hit. We've shown glimpses and signs of being able to swing the bat, but this is a strange team. We've had games where we've played lights out offensively and games where we don't hit at all. We have to change that and be more consistent."
Since defeating Louisiana Tech in their WAC opene while producing 12 hits, the Rainbows have lost six consecutive games. During the losing streak they hit .206 (41-for-199) and averaged fewer than three runs a game.
The 'Bows haven't committed many errors, but when they do, it always seems to come at a critical point and their opponents capitalize.
"It is everything and everybody. Everyone has to look in the mirror and make themselves better. When that happens, we'll start to be a better team," said Trapasso. "Overall, the pitching and defense has been consistent. The bullpen did not allow a run on the whole trip. Pitching is a big part of our game, but we still have to score runs to win."
Trapasso has tinkered with the lineup about as much as possible recently. He hasn't had the same lineup for consecutive games since the Florida State series.
"At this time of the year, I hate to change the lineup every day, but it is going to depend on people hitting," Trapasso said.
The outfield will have a new look with Greg Kish back in left, Derek Dupree in center and Matt Inouye in right. Trapasso says this is UH's best defensive outfield.
"Derek swung the bat well on the trip. He can slash, run and make things happen," said Trapasso.
The coach also moved Steven Wright, who struggled in the early innings in two starting assignments, back to the bullpen, where he was very successful earlier this year.
Colby Summer (1-2, 3.82) joins the starting rotation Saturday. Stephen Bryant (4-1, 2.74) goes tomorrow and Justin Costi (1-3, 3.51) starts Sunday.
Note: Jose Castaneda has been dismissed from the team for breaking team rules on the road trip.