Hawaii blasted by No. 1 ASU
By Don Ketchum
Special to the Honolulu Advertiser
TEMPE, Ariz. — Coach Mike Trapasso and his University of Hawai'i Rainbows got a first-hand look at the reason why Arizona State is the top-seeded team in the NCAA baseball tournament.
ASU, playing as the visiting team on its home field in the second round of the Tempe Regional last night, scored four first-inning runs and had a 7-0 lead after three innings and rolled to a 12-1 victory in front of 4,371 at Packard Stadium.
Hawai'i, the regional's third seed, will have a rematch today of Friday's regional opener against the University of San Diego, won by Hawai'i 4-3. San Diego defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 22-1 earlier yesterday. First pitch is 10 a.m., Hawai'i time. The winner will meet ASU at 3 p.m., Hawai'i time.
Hawai'i (34-27) also defeated San Diego (37-21) 8-6 at San Diego on March 29.
"We'll have to beat a very good San Diego team for the third time,'' said Trapasso, who has tabbed junior left-hander Sam Spangler (5-6, 4.42 earned-run average) to start today's game.
Trapasso called the game against ASU a tale of the two starting pitchers — ASU right-hander Seth Blair against Rainbows right-hander Josh Slaats.
Blair, the Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year, "shut us down from the first pitch,'' Trapasso said. "Our guy was over the middle of the plate (Slaats lasted just 1 1/3 innings) and you can't afford to do that against a team like ASU.
"We played five or six good non-conference teams. We're not in awe of a team like that (ASU). It's a compliment. We got beat by a very good team.''
Blair gave up a run on three hits in seven innings, walked none and struck out eight. The only run came on a home run by Rainbows designated hitter Jeff Van Doornum in the seventh inning. Relievers Jake Barrett and Jimmy Patterson finished up for Blair.
Blair, who raised his record to 12-0, is expected to be an early round pick in next week's Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft.
Van Doornum admitted that Blair "was pretty dominant. He is one of the best pitchers in the country for a reason. We're just going to have to bounce back and beat San Diego.''
As it has been the case for most of the season, the offense for Arizona State (49-8) was sparked by second baseman Zack MacPhee. The Pac-10 Player of the Year drove in three runs and collected four hits, including a two-run home run in the second inning. ASU also had three other homers — by Cole Calhoun, Deven Marrero and Raoul Torrez.
Trapasso knows the task that awaits his team today will not be easy, trying to defeat San Diego and then ASU to force another game against ASU tomorrow night. The temperature also is expected to be near 110.
"Is it taxing? I hope I can answer that after the second game (today),'' Trapasso said. "I mean, where else would you rather be? I'd rather be out here sweating than sitting at home in the air conditioning.''