Rainbows pour it on Louisiana Tech, 9-1
After playing the entire month of March in rainy weather, a one hour, 11 minute rain delay wasn't about to faze the Hawai'i baseball team.
Steven Wright and the Rainbows maintained their focus following the stoppage after the first inning and hammered Louisiana Tech, 9-1, yesterday to hold first place in the Western Athletic Conference.
Although the game was played at J.C. Love Field in Ruston, La., the Rainbows (34-12 overall, 11-6 WAC) were the home team because it was a makeup of the March 19 rainout at Les Murakami Stadium, where the Bulldogs (28-19, 9-9) won two in that series. The series resumes at 1 p.m., Hawai'i time, today with the Bulldogs returning to home status.
Hawai'i, winner of five in a row, picked up a half-game on idle Fresno State and San Jose State, both tied for second at 9-6, while fourth-place LaTech dropped 2 1/2 games back.
Rain was forecast for the weekend, so the Rainbows were prepared for interruptions. No problem, being they had their share of rain delays, not to mention three cancelations because of inclement weather since March.
"You could tell just walking into the park today that we were going to play one of those deals where it would be 'put the tarp on, take it off,' " UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "We were fortunate in that it was just the one time. They were calling for rain off and on the whole weekend. Our guys were focused."
Because the delay came at an early juncture of the game, neither team lost its starting pitcher.
Wright (9-2) gave UH eight innings, allowing a seventh-inning solo home run by Brandon Hudson and five other hits, two walks with nine strikeouts. It was critical that he went deep into the game to save the bullpen with three more games to go, including a doubleheader tomorrow.
"He was good," Trapasso said of Wright. "We've seen him better, but he was very solid."
Tyler Davis pitched a scoreless ninth, allowing a single.
The Rainbows were patient with LaTech starter Luke Burnett, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound freshman right-hander. He struck out nine, but walked five, three of them being cashed in for runs. Burnett (3-5) gave up four runs (three earned) and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"I was real proud of our hitters today," Trapasso said. "That Burnett kid is going to be a star in college baseball. He's very imposing on the mound, but the thing about him is he's very deceptive and our guys had a hard time seeing the ball off of him. Yet, we battled, and had some good hits by (Eli) Christensen."
The Rainbows took a 2-0 lead in the third, the first scoring on one of two wild pitches by Burnett and the other because of a two-out error.
Hawai'i then sent nine batters to the plate in a five-run sixth. Burnett walked two and struck out one to start the inning before giving way to Andrew Alsup, who allowed a two-run single to Christensen and RBI single to Jon Hee.
Alsup was pulled for Alan Knotts, who gave up three singles, two of them RBI hits by Derek DuPree and Luis Avila.
Hawai'i got single runs in the seventh and eighth innings on a sacrifice fly by Christensen and run-scoring double by Avila, respectively.
Robbie Wilder led UH's 10-hit attack by batting 3 for 5.
Christensen, who was 2 for 3, lost an RBI in the second inning, when he singled home Matt Inouye from second. But the Bulldogs won an appeal claiming Inouye did not touch third base.