Slaats earns WAC honor, start in USC opener
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i's latest Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week will be Friday's starter against Southern California.
Junior righthander Josh Slaats pitched 5 2/3 innings of no-hit ball in his seven-inning complete-game two-hitter to beat The Citadel, 9-0, Saturday to earn the conference honor. Now he gets the honor of opening the series against the Pac-10's Trojans (5-6).
"Obviously, if he pitches like that, he's a Friday-type of guy," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "But also, just the way he pitches, he's a better fit for a lead game of a series because he's going to pitch to more of his strengths rather than to a scouting report, so you can go in blind in a first game of a series."
Despite a 0.52 earned run average, Saturday's win was Slaats' first of the season after two no-decisions. He has 15 strikeouts to five walks in 17 1/3 innings.
Nate Klein (1-0, 5.60), who has started the series opener in the previous three series, will start Saturday.
"I thought Klein has thrown well each time out," Trapasso said.
Sam Spangler (2-1, 4.82), who has pitched in the fourth game the past three series, will start Sunday.
"Sam has been throwing well in the daytime," Trapasso said.
Sunday is the only day game in the USC series.
Matt Sisto (1-2, 7.13), who has pitched the second game of each series, will start Monday.
"I'm bumping Sisto back to Monday because he pulled a hamstring in the game he pitched the other day so I wanted to give him a couple extra days to rest," Trapasso said.
Trapasso said he was able to make changes in the rotation this week because there was a longer break between series.
The Trojans play Pepperdine today and Connecticut tomorrow before taking on UH. The Trojans' starting rotation will be righthanders Andrew Triggs (1-0, 4.12), Ben Mount (1-1, 3.32) and Kevin Couture (0-0, 6.75) the first three games. They have yet to determine Monday's starter.
The latest Ratings Percentage Index has Hawai'i ranked ninth by warrennolan.com and 11th by Boyd's World. The Rainbows' strength of schedule is ranked third by warrennolan.com and ninth by Boyd's World.