Loyola comes calling on Rainbows


POSTED: Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hawaii picked up some momentum with a rousing baseball series win last weekend.

The real trick is getting it to stick around.






Rainbows baseball
        Loyala Marymount (8-7) at Hawaii (6-6), 6:35 p.m. tomorrow, KKEA, 1420-AM




Bolstered by a breakout performance at the plate against nationally ranked Mississippi State, the Rainbows want to maintain their roll when they open a four-game series with Loyola Marymount tomorrow at Les Murakami Stadium.

“;Momentum and confidence is a big thing,”; Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “;But like they say in baseball, momentum only goes as far as the next starting pitcher you're going to face or the next starting pitcher you put out there.”;

In Hawaii's case, that will be senior Jayson Kramer, a steady performer as the Rainbows' first-day starter in each series this season. Loyola Marymount is expected to counter with right-hander Lee Roberts, who leads the Lions' staff with a 1.33 earned-run average and 20 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.

The Rainbows had scuffled at the plate through their first nine games, but following Vinnie Catricala's game-winning home run last Friday the Rainbows scored 21 runs on 26 hits in the final two games against Mississippi State. Their team batting average had dipped to .222 after a 3-1 loss to open the series with the Bulldogs, then jumped 19 points over the next three wins.

“;We've been swinging the bats well all year and this past weekend we got some balls to fall and strung some hits together,”; UH shortstop Greg Garcia said. “;It was good for our team to beat a team of their caliber, I think it should carry over to this weekend.

“;Baseball's a very mental game and you need some positive things to come out of it. To get some hits here and there is always nice for your confidence level. In baseball you'll line out, and then you can also get some 10-hoppers through the hole.”;

While the Mississippi State series boosted the team's numbers, Trapasso wants to maintain that production over an extended stretch.

“;We've known all along the way we hit on Saturday and Sunday is the way we're capable of hitting on a consistent basis,”; Trapasso said. “;But that remains to be seen, two games do not a season make.”;

Catricala has been the most consistent hitter and raised his batting average to .364 last week. Garcia moved into the leadoff spot for the last three games and helped ignite the offense by hitting .467 against Mississippi State.

Loyola Marymount, under first-year coach Jason Gill, enters the series on a five-game losing streak after being swept by UC Santa Barbara over the weekend and then losing to UC Riverside 10-9 in 10 innings yesterday in Los Angeles.

The Lions jumped out to an 8-2 start, but haven't won since knocking off UC Irvine on March 3.

LMU right fielder Angelo Songco, a preseason All-West Coast Conference pick, is hitting .389 and homered twice yesterday. The Lions are hitting .288 as a team, but have given up at least nine runs in each of their last four games. That string began after Roberts lost a 1-0 decision to UC Santa Barbara last Thursday.

Trapasso said the Rainbows will stick with their rotation of Kramer, Nate Klein, Jared Alexander and Matt Sisto. Loyola Marymount is expected to follow Roberts with right-handers Ernie Cho and Alex Gillingham with Sunday's starter yet to be determined.

The first three games of the series start at 6:35 p.m. Sunday's finale is at 1:05 p.m.