Tough pitchers in UH tourney
|||Trojans snap 'Bows' 7-game win streak|
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
If baseball fans missed nationally ranked Southern California during the weekend or did not get to see its star pitcher Ian Kennedy, they'll have a chance to catch reasonable facsimiles at the First Hawai'i Title Rainbow Tournament, which starts tomorrow at Les Murakami Stadium.
Arkansas, which is nationally ranked, Washington and Texas-Arlington join host Hawai'i in the annual round-robin format, which will have a new twist involving the traditional title game on Saturday.
Because Arkansas and Texas-Arlington must leave on the red eye Saturday night, both will play the 2:30 p.m. game, leaving Hawai'i and Washington in the 7:05 nightcap. Hawai'i coach Mike Trapasso said the Razorbacks and Mavericks were requiring their players to be in class on Monday after missing this week because of the tournament. The original schedule had semifinals on Friday with the winners playing for the championship and the losers for third place on Saturday. Hawai'i would've played the late game regardless if it was for the title or third place. Trapasso said it will be determined later how the teams will be matched on Friday.
The Razorbacks (9-0), a projected regional team from the Southeastern Conference, were ranked 17th by Baseball America and 24th by Collegiate Baseball before this week's polls came out today.
The Huskies (8-2), of the Pac-10, feature one of the better pitchers in the nation in junior right-hander Tim Lincecum, who was picked in the 42nd round last year by the Cleveland Indians as a draft-eligible sophomore.
"Our fans will get to see another guy that's listed among the top few pitchers in college baseball that's draft-eligible," Trapasso said of Lincecum. "He's a guy who's supposed to have electric stuff."
Lincecum, like the 6-foot, 195-pound Kennedy, isn't a big guy at 6-0, 165. But he is 3-0 with a 3.71 earned run average with 33 strikeouts to nine walks in 17 innings pitched.
The Mavericks (3-7) were picked to finish fourth in the 11-team Southland Conference.
Arkansas has a phenomenal pitcher of its own in sophomore left-hander Nick Schmidt (3-0, 0.47). In 19 innings from three starts, he has allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with 23 strikeouts to five walks. He did not allow hits in his first two starts, each six-inning stints. In one of the starts, he combined with two relievers to no-hit Oklahoma State. 3-0, on Feb. 11. He was named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Pitcher of the Week after that performance.
The Rainbows (11-3) bring a team ERA of 3.40 to the tournament, led by starter Steven Wright (3-0, 1.82), who has the team's only complete game to date.
Hawai'i is deciding on tomorrow's and Wednesday's starting pitchers. Justin Costi, who has two starts, is likely to start one of the days with the other being staffed, Trapasso said.
Besides pitchers, Trapasso also will try to get position players who haven't had much action some game experience.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.