Nevada on a roll as it takes on Hawai'i
|||Rainbows blank LaTech, 8-0|
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
FRESNO, Calif. —Hawai'i opened with an impressive performance, but now faces a hot Nevada team in the Western Athletic Conference baseball tournament. The second-round game is scheduled for today at 4 p.m., Hawai'i time.
The fourth-seeded Wolf Pack (25-26) demolished third-seeded San Jose State, 15-1, in yesterday's second game at Beiden Field. It was Nevada's eighth consecutive win, all coming after a six-game losing streak that followed the April 27 death of freshman pitcher Steve Masten.
"It's a situation where we've had to deal with a whole lot of stuff," Nevada coach Gary Powers said. "Baseball's been our salvation. Time heals and gives us an opportunity to play for something and keep ourselves focused on some of the more enjoyable things that we do in our lives. Hopefully, we take advantage of the opportunities we have because they run out."
The Rainbows swept two at Nevada in April in a series cut short by a game because of snow. The game was never made up, hence UH and Nevada played one fewer WAC game than the rest of the conference members.
Hawai'i easily won the opener, 13-4, but had to rally from a 5-3 deficit with a five-run ninth to win the second game, 8-5. "We played them tough at home, but we'll see," Powers said.
The Wolf Pack's win streak is the second-longest among the tournament teams behind top-seeded Fresno State, which has won 12 in a row.
Yesterday, Nevada powered four home runs in the rout. Shawn Scobee hit his league-leading 21st home run of the season. He was 2 for 7 with a double against UH in the two games. The double came off today's UH starter Justin Costi (8-1).
San Jose State (33-25) will play No. 21-ranked Fresno State (40-16), which beat sixth-seeded Sacramento State, 10-2, last night. Doug Fister allowed two runs — one earned — five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts for FSU.
The Bulldogs broke open a tight game with a six-run eighth to send the Hornets (20-36) to their 12th consecutive loss and into today's first elimination game against Louisiana Tech.
The first day's attendance for all three games was 1,267.
In yesterday's blowout loss, 2003 Mililani High graduate Chris Balatico pitched a scoreless ninth for San Jose State. He allowed two hits, while striking out one.
Balatico started in the outfield when the Spartans visited UH in April. Yesterday, the junior left-hander made his sixth relief appearance. "I do what I can to help my team," he said. "It doesn't matter where they want me, I'll play (the position)." He said he will be playing in the Hawai'i Collegiate Summer League.
Also, 2002 Moanalua graduate Jim Strombach, who started in right field for the Spartans, went 0 for 2.
Taylor Watanabe ('Aiea '03) is not on the San Jose State tournament roster because of two tears discovered in his right shoulder, a school spokeswoman said. Watanabe had magnetic resonance imaging tests when the Hornets played in Hawai'i last month. He is scheduled to have surgery.
Other Hawai'i players on the Hornets are pitcher Chris Mols (Roosevelt '02) and catcher Brett Tanigawa (Moanalua '03). They did not get into last night's game.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.