Rainbows, HPU are planning call to arms
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
O'ahu's two collegiate baseball teams will play tonight after enjoying successful series over the weekend.
Hawai'i (5-2), which took 2 of 3 against UC Irvine, will host Division II Hawai'i Pacific (6-6), which won 4 of 6 against North Georgia. Game time is 6:35.
The Rainbows will start right-hander Justin Costi (0-0), but he isn't expected to go long as UH coach Mike Trapasso tries to get other pitchers some work.
Costi started Feb. 4 against San Diego State, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs and 10 hits with six strikeouts. It was the final game of the four-game series.
Sea Warriors first-year coach Garrett Yukumoto hasn't decided on a starter yet, but said he also plans to staff the game. Hawai'i Pacific does not play again until Feb. 24.
"It will be by committee because we don't play for another week," Yukumoto said. "We just want to give our guys some innings."
Besides pitchers, Trapasso said he will try to get some other position players some playing time.
The Rainbows will still be without outfielder Matt Inouye (back) and first baseman Kris Sanchez (hamstring). Sanchez has been out since the third game of the season against San Diego State. Inouye pulled a muscle in his back in Saturday's game against UC Irvine when he rocketed a throw to nail a runner at home plate. Inouye is UH's hottest hitter at .714 (10 for 14).
Designated hitter Justin Frash (.400, 4 RBIs) and first baseman Luis Avila (.350, 7 RBIs) are the only other Rainbows batting over .300.
The Sea Warriors are led by seniors Grandon Costa (.357), Brandon Sato (.324) and Gavin Concepcion (.303, 9 RBIs), as well as sophomore Danny Lee (.316).
Right-handers Spencer Omalza (1-1, 2.70 ERA), Pierce Manglallan (1-1, 2.79) and Mario Ramirez (1-0, 3.75) lead HPU's staff.
The Rainbows will travel to Loyola Marymount for a three-game series starting Friday. It is the first time the Rainbows are playing a nonconference series on the Mainland that is not tied into a Western Athletic Conference road trip. It is the first time the teams will meet since 1998. The Rainbows lead the series, 19-7.
Hawai'i junior left-hander Mark Rodrigues drew the team's first honor of the season, being named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week.
"To get his first win and then to have been such a good performance that it gets him Pitcher of the Week is great," Trapasso said. "If you talk to Mark, he's just happy the team won the game. That's the kind of guy he is."
Rodrigues allowed two hits in seven innings in a 3-1 win against UC Irvine on Sunday. He walked none and had two strikeouts to notch his first Division I victory.
Rodrigues transferred to UH from Los Medanos JC, but missed the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. He came to UH with much potential. He was drafted in the 29th round by the Montreal Expos out of Kaua'i High in 2001 and taken in the 37th round by the Oakland Athletics in 2002 out of Los Medanos.
Rodrigues' performance capped a pitching-dominated series. Only 12 runs were scored in the three games, seven by UH.
"It was a good series, well-played," Trapasso said. "It had to be a fun series to watch."
The Rainbows lost 1-0 on Saturday, the first time they were shutout since April 16, 4-0, by Rice's Eddie Degerman, ironically, a transfer from UC Irvine.
As part of a Valentine's Day promotion for tonight's game, the first 500 female spectators will receive carnations provided by Watanabe Floral, while the first 500 males will get a chocolate bar provided by Nestle.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.