UH sweeps Western Illinois
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By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
In another shortened game, Hawai'i beat Western Illinois, 3-0, to complete a five-game sweep in a game called after 4 1/2 because of rain last night.
A Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 486 watched Justin Costi (2-0) throw UH's first shutout of the season, scattering two hits and a hit batsman with six strikeouts in five innings for the Rainbows (18-6).
It was the 14th consecutive loss for the Leathernecks (2-14), who travel to UH-Hilo for another five-game series starting tomorrow.
A mutually agreed upon 10-run mercy rule ended Sunday's game — an 11-1 victory by Hawai'i in seven innings — before the regulation nine innings.
Nature ended last night's game early.
The game was delayed 15 minutes in the second inning because of rain and delayed another 51 minutes before being called off with UH batting in the bottom of the fifth with one out and two runners aboard. But by rules, the game was official with completion of the top of the fifth inning because the home team had the lead. Officially, whatever UH did in the bottom of the fifth does not reflect in the statistics.
"These teams spend a lot of money to come over here, so I don't all of a sudden say, 'Official game, rain comes, we're done. Sorry.' We really gave it as much time as we could. The field was completely unplayable as we saw last week in the tournament."
Costi allowed only one runner to reach second. That came after Tyler Johnson reached on a single to third and moved to second on a ground out to the hole at second.
"Costi was outstanding," Trapasso said. "He had all three pitches. He had a very good curveball today. It's his third-best pitch, but it was very outstanding today."
It was Costi's second consecutive quality start. He allowed a run in six innings against newly nationally ranked Washington in an 8-7 win on March 4.
"My fastball placement was pretty good tonight and my curveball was pretty good," Costi said. "My defense was really good. That's the main thing I liked about the game."
Hawai'i scored in the second with one out after the 15-minute rain delay. Matt Inouye was hit by Wyatt Luebber's first pitch after the delay. Jorge Franco then reached on a two-base fielding error by shortstop Ryan Schmidgall that allowed Inouye to take third. Inouye then scored on Kris Sanchez's sacrifice fly to left to put UH ahead, 1-0.
Hawai'i added two in the third. With one out, Robbie Wilder singled to left-center and took second on a wild pitch before Joe Spiers walked. Wilder stole third and Spiers stole second when Justin Frash struck out swinging. A wild pitch scored Wilder and moved Spiers to third, where he scored on Luis Avila's triple to right to make it 3-0.
During the second delay, players on both teams bided the time by exchanging messages written on baseballs and tossing them across to the opposing team's dugout.
Meanwhile, infielder Jon Hee will miss three to four weeks because of a left-shoulder subluxation he suffered in Saturday's game. Trapasso said surgery is not necessary, just rest.
"That's a blow, but we're not going to use injuries as an excuse," Trapasso said. "We've had injuries all throughout the season and what it is is an opportunity for someone else to step up and we have to have Eli (Christensen) and Nate (Young) step up in his place and get the job done."
The Rainbows begin Western Athletic Conference play with a three-game series against Louisiana Tech starting Friday.
UH BASEBALL RANKED AGAIN
The University of Hawai'i-Manoa baseball team vaulted back into one poll yesterday reaching No. 30 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association version.
UH had been ranked by both Collegiate Baseball newspaper and the NCBWA two weeks ago — its first rankings in seven years — before going 2-3 in the First Hawai'i Title Rainbow Baseball Tournament.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.