Hawai'i loses WAC opener
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By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
There was nothing nice about Hawai'i' in its 6-1 loss to Louisiana Tech in last night's Western Athletic Conference season opener.
Freshman right-hander Luke Burnett pitched 5 1/3 strong innings and Andrew Alsup finished with 3 2/3 scoreless frames for the Bulldogs (10-10 overall, 1-0 WAC) to snap a five-game win streak by the Rainbows (18-7, 0-1) before 1,110 at Les Murakami Stadium.
"It was a case of us not showing up," UH coach Mike Trapasso said of his team's performance. "I'll give credit to their pitcher, but we didn't show up as a team from the first pitch. We were lifeless. The better team by far was wearing gray today. The final score wasn't even that close a game. They believe that they're a good club. We played tonight like all we believe in is what we're reading."
On top of that, UH senior right fielder Matt Inouye was ejected in the bottom of the ninth inning after grounding out to the pitcher. Umpires said he elbowed first baseman Albie Goulder on the play.
"I didn't even touch him," Inouye said.
"I'm embarrassed by that because that isn't Matt," Trapasso said. "I'm disappointed and I'm sure Matt's disappointed. We just don't support that."
Despite the ejection, Inouye will not serve any league sanction, such as a suspension for future games. Asked if he would impose his own penalty, Trapasso said it was a possibility.
It wasn't a great outing for UH starter Steven Wright (4-2). He gave up six runs, 10 hits, including a two-run home run to Goulder in the fourth inning, walked one and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings.
"He just didn't make good pitches, plain and simple," Trapasso said.
But take nothing from the 6-foot-9 Burnett. The only run he allowed came in the fourth. Esteban Lopez doubled to left, took third on a ground out and stayed there when Derek DuPree popped out to shortstop. He scored on Robbie Wilder's ground single to right.
Burnett struggled a bit when he walked Joe Spiers and then threw a wild pitch to put runners at third and second. But he got Justin Frash to ground out to second to leave the runners stranded and keep LaTech's 3-1 lead.
"He's a pitcher," Tech coach Wade Simoneaux said. "He's not a flame thrower. We can't be big on velocity. People can hit velocity. Wright pitched early in the game, too. He had good command, but we had a couple big hits off him to break it open.
"For a big, 6-foot-9 guy, it's funny. He doesn't walk people, he throws three pitches for strikes. His curveball's not the greatest looking, but he throws it for a strike. He did his job. He let his defense play behind him."
Burnett stranded five runners in scoring position. Wilder led off the first with a single and advanced to second and third on successive ground outs, but was left there when Burnett struck out Luis Avila with the curve. The Rainbows also had first and third with two outs, but the slumping Kris Sanchez flied out to left.
Sanchez, the designated hitter, has become a concern, Trapasso said. He entered the game hitting .212 and went 0 for 3.
"He's got to swing better than he's swinging, that's for sure," Trapasso said.
Goulder led the Bulldogs' 13-hit attack by batting 3 for 4 with a double and his two-run home run. Jericho Jones was 3 for 5 with two RBIs.
Goulder scored in the second when he led off with a double, took third on a ground out to shortstop and scored on another ground out to shortstop. His two-run homer on a listless night to right-center made it 3-0 in the top of the fourth.
The Bulldogs added three in the seventh off Wright on Jones' two-run double followed by Amos Ramon's double.
"It's always good to take the opener," Simoneaux said. "We've got a good veteran senior (Matt Lacy) on the mound tomorrow. I do that so I can use my bullpen on Friday. Lacy usually gives a good outing."
The Rainbows will counter with left-hander Ian Harrington in today's 1:05 p.m. start.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.