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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 9, 2006

Fresno State shuts down Rainbows, 6-1

Advertiser Staff


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Twenty-first ranked Fresno State returned the favor with a strong pitching performance of its own to beat Hawai'i, 6-1, last night in Western Athletic Conference baseball in Fresno, Calif.

Junior left-hander Eddie Romero (8-1) gave up a run in 6 2/3 innings, scattering six hits and four walks while striking out three to help the Bulldogs (25-10 overall, 6-2 WAC) even the series at 1.

The Rainbows (25-10, 3-4) saw their eight-game road win streak spanning to the end of last season snapped in a nationally telecast game on SCTV.

A night after Steven Wright's solid pitching stymied FSU, Hawai'i starter Justin Costi (4-1) wasn't as effective. He lasted just two innings, allowing five runs, six hits and a walk with one strikeout.

"He just didn't have it today," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "He was very lethargic, he had no tempo. I don't know if he was nervous or just really out of sync. I felt bad for him because that was about as bad as we've seen Justin following an outing when he was about as good as we've seen him."

Costi had five quality starts in succession, winning four and getting a no-decision in the other, before last night.

If there was a bright spot for UH, it was the outstanding relief outing by Tyler Davis, who allowed a run and three hits, while walking none and striking out six in six innings. Already without Rich Olsen because of a tender forearm, Davis saved the rest of the UH bullpen for today's 10 a.m. (Hawai'i time) rubber game.

"He was about as good as I've ever seen him," Trapasso said. "At least he saved us from having a game where we have to go back into the bullpen some more and lose more guys. Even though he settled the game and we didn't win, it still might pay dividends tomorrow, we hope."

Hawai'i scored its only run in the third. Trailing 5-0, Joe Spiers led off with a double, stole third and scored when Robbie Wilder grounded out to shortstop.

The Rainbows had at least one base runner in every inning, except the ninth, when Holden Sprague retired the side in order. Hawai'i never had batters reach safely in consecutive plate appearances.

"We battled," Trapasso said. "We hit some balls hard. But we just couldn't get it done. We just got beat tonight."

Brandon Burke and Sprague combined for 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief. Burke got the third out in the seventh when Romero was pulled with runners at the corners, and allowed a walk in a scoreless eighth.

The Bulldogs jumped on Costi for three runs in the first inning. Beau Mills' RBI double ignited the inning and was followed by Christian Vitters' two-run double.

In the second, a two-run single on an 11-pitch at-bat by Kent Sakamoto increased FSU's lead to 5-0.

Davis settled the game, but UH could not generate any offense after scoring in the third.

The Bulldogs added a run in the seventh when Ozzie Lewis led off the frame with a home run to make it 6-1.

The loss dropped the Rainbows from fourth to sixth place. Only 2 1/2 games separate first-place Fresno State from UH. Louisiana Tech is a half-game behind FSU at 5-2, while Nevada and Sacramento State are 4-4 with San Jose State at 3-3. Hawai'i is just a half-game behind the three tied teams.

Meanwhile, newcomer New Mexico State is 1-7.

Today, Hawai'i will send left-hander Ian Harrington against Fresno State right-hander Andy Underwood. The game will be broadcast on KKEA AM 1420.

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