Rainbows baseball team fighting to finish out tough year
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hoping to make the best of its 15 remaining games, the Hawai'i baseball team will try to snap a four-game losing streak when it plays host to Fresno State in a three-game Western Athletic Conference series starting tonight.
The math is simple: The Rainbows (14-27, 3-12 WAC) must win the rest of their games to finish with a winning record.
"We just gotta fight, can't give up," UH co-captain Scooter Martines said. "It's real easy to quit right now. It's real easy to quit when there's a lot of adversity. But true players, you could say, they battle."
The Rainbows haven't won a series since they swept a three-game series from UCLA Feb. 15-17. They have a five-game losing streak, but three of those losses were by one run.
"All we can do is keep on trying to improve," co-captain Brent Cook said. "We're not getting the job done. We haven't played to our potential."
The Bulldogs (23-21, 11-7), picked to finish second in a preseason WAC poll, swept Nevada in a conference series over the weekend, but lost to UC Irvine, 8-3, Wednesday night. They took 5 of 6 in last year's meetings with the Rainbows.
Hawai'i will stick with the same starting rotation of Chris George (4-2, 5.33) tonight, Sean Yamashita (2-4, 4.27) tomorrow and Ricky Bauer (1-4, 5.80) on Sunday. The Bulldogs will counter with Ben Fritz (7-3, 3.39) tonight and Bob Runyon (6-7, 4.83) tomorrow. Coach Bob Bennett was undecided on Sunday's starter. Runyon started, but pitched only two innings in Wednesday's game at UC Irvine.
The Bulldogs are led by third baseman Casey McGehee (.364, 7 HR, 39 RBIs), outfielder Tobey Riday-White (.297, 4 HR, 20 RBIs) and shortstop Chris Patrick (.289, 5 HR, 23 RBIs). Also on the team is former Mililani High all-state outfielder Brendon Suga, who has been a starter of late.
The Rainbows aren't expected to make major changes in their offensive lineup, UH coach Mike Trapasso said. He added that outfielder Derek Honma (wrist) might be cleared by doctors to swing a bat by the weekend. But shortstops Cortland Wilson is being evaluated for his shoulder problems and Jason Carlson (elbow) is expected to be out three weeks.
Notes: UH coach Mike Trapasso returned from the Mainland last night following a recruiting trip. He went to follow up on players he already signed in November, as well as potential signees ... WAC officials are meeting in Phoenix this weekend to determine WAC baseball's scheduling format. Trapasso said the consensus among the baseball schools is that the home-and-home schedule implemented since 2000 has become costly with teams spread across Hawai'i to Ruston, La. Trapasso said a single round of 15 games (three-games series against each opponent) is not enough games for a conference schedule. He added an unbalanced schedule would be unfair, especially if one team gets stuck with playing a team like national power Rice more times than another team would. Another proposal would be to bring in associate members, but Trapasso fears the quality of those teams might drop the conference's power rating, which would affect teams' ability to gain at-large berths. Trapasso said among the proposals would be to bring the WAC postseason tournament back. It was last played in 1999 ... Rice freshman pitcher Philip Humber is the only WAC player to so far be invited to the USA Baseball tryouts June 18-23 in Tucson, Ariz.
UPCOMING UH GAMES
3at *San Jose State, 4 p.m. 4at *San Jose State, 10 a.m. 5at *San Jose State, 10 a.m. 9*Louisiana Tech, 6:35 p.m. 10*Louisiana Tech, 6:35 p.m. 11*Louisiana Tech, 6:35 p.m. 18at *Nevada, 10 a.m. 19-at *Nevada, 10 a.m. 20at *Nevada, 11 a.m. 23at *Fresno State, 4:05 p.m. 24at *Fresno State, 4:05 p.m. 25at *Fresno State, 10:05 p.m.