George, Omori lift UH to 6-2 win
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Is the Hawai'i baseball team a Game 1 wonder or can it break the spell?
Chris George pitched eight strong innings and Gregg Omori had three RBIs to lead the Rainbows over Fresno State, 6-2, last night in Western Athletic Conference baseball.
But UH has seen this before. Take the opener, then lose the next two. Except for series sweeps by Rice, the Rainbows have done that in WAC series against Nevada, Louisiana Tech and San Jose State.
"It's definitely a problem that's occurred for us most of the year," UH co-captain Brent Cook said. "Like Coach (Mike Trapasso) says, 'We're happy one night, but we've got to forget about it.' We have to play like we've got nothing to lose, then it would give us an opportunity to win the series."
But let the Rainbows (15-27, 4-12 WAC) savor last night, as they snapped a five-game losing skid. The Bulldogs (23-22, 11-8) have dropped two in a row.
George (5-3) admittedly struggled with command in his eight innings. He allowed a run on nine hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in his 116-pitch outing.
George was backed by two double plays, the second one in the nick of time. With UH leading, 5-1, he allowed an infield single to Ben Fritz and hit Brian Pierce to start the eighth inning. Trapasso paid his pitcher visit and had simple instructions.
"I told him if you get extended, get out in front, you'll be able to get the guy down and get yourself a ground ball, you'll have a double play and have a man on third with two outs," Trapasso said. "The game will be over because we'll get out of it, even if that run scores, and they won't be able to hurt us. And it was pretty funny because that's exactly what happened."
The Rainbows got an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth that aided reliever Bryan Lee, who was summoned for the ninth. After getting the first two out, he walked the next two batters and allowed an infield single to load the bases. He walked Fritz to force in a run, bringing the tying run to the plate. But Pierce grounded out to third to end the game.
"It was telling (thoughout) the whole game (that) I really didn't have control," George said. "But when I needed to, I just got it over and my defense bailed me out of many jams. I wasn't locating anything until that one pitch. I was lucky to get a double play out of it. It wasn't my best performance, that's for sure."
George fell behind 1-0 when Fritz, the starting pitcher and designated hitter for FSU, led off the fourth with a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Pierce's single to left center. But the Rainbows responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Cook led off by lining a double down the left-field line, and took third when Gregg Omori reached first safely on shortstop Chris Patric's fielding error. Scooter Martines followed with a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game. After Tim Montgomery struck out, Kevin Gilbride's double to right-center scored Omori.
The Rainbows scored three more in the fifth on a two-out, bases-clearing double to left by Omori.
"Basically, anything around the plate, I was swinging," Omori said of the at-bat. "It was a slider on the inner half of the plate."
Fritz (7-4) allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits and five walks in 5¡ innings. As the DH, he was 3-for-3 with two walks.
But that was last night. The Rainbows haven't won a series since they swept UCLA Feb. 15-17
"We still have to concentrate on tomorrow," Omori said. "We've won a lot of first games of series and loss the next two. We can be happy tonight, but tomorrow we have to concentrate on playing hard."
Notes: Already hurting with shortstops Cortland Wilson (shoulder) and Jason Carlson (elbow) out, UH's Brent Cook played last night the past month for that matter with a groin pull. He was the designated hitter. Freshman Danny Mocny filled in at third. And Cook, who was 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored, got to test injury all night because he was on base three of four times."Once I got going it was pretty good," Cook said. "Just stopping quickly hurt it the most." Twice he had to slide into home, but he said that actually took pressure off the injury. He said he should be able to play today and tomorrow. He has missed only one game and that was because of the flu.... Sean Yamashita (2-5, 4.82) will pitch for UH against Bob Runyon (6-7, 4.74) for FSU today in a battle of right-handers. Game time is 6:35 p.m.