USC tramples UH, 9-0
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
A baseball series that started with such promise for Hawai'i ended in futility last night when Southern California bashed the Rainbows, 9-0, to clinch the series 3-1.
Before 1,135 at Les Murakami Stadium, the Trojans (9-8) made the most of 14 hits, six walks, two UH errors and Chad Smith's pitching. Smith (1-2), down and almost out when he was hit in the right shin by a liner in the second, went six innings and struck out eight. He gave up two hits and retired the last 11 Rainbows he faced.
It was so bad for Hawai'i (7-9), which managed just three hits, that the lone bright spot was catcher David Freitas. He caught three Trojans stealing and picked off another at first base.
"Minus maybe two innings in one ballgame I think our pitching was pretty spectacular in the series," said USC coach Chad Kreuter, who wanted his team to "clean up its pitching" coming into the series. "To come in here and win three games is a huge accomplishment. You look at the series record between the Trojans and Warriors over the years and it's very close (USC leads 28-25). There is a reason. You come in here and it's not a vacation."
As soon as it stopped raining, the Trojans' offense got untracked, after being silenced by Zach Gallagher for three innings.
Joe De Pinto walked to start the fourth and Ricky Oropesa launched his fourth homer of the season to make it 2-0. Matt Foat reached on an error, Alex Sherrod singled and Matt Hart walked to load the bases with one out.
Gallagher (0-1) was pulled and Blair Walters came in to get the last two batters on a blooper to right, which scored Foat, and a strikeout.
The Trojans scored four in the fifth to go up 7-0, and added single runs in the seventh and ninth.
Gallagher was charged with three runs — two earned — in 3 1/3. Walters allowed four runs — three earned — in one inning.
"Zach gave us what we needed, then Blair came in and just didn't have it," Trapasso said. "That's a guy that's really been good for us out of the bullpen."
Hawai'i, which lost 12-2 on Sunday, extended its scoreless slide to 15 innings. The Rainbows struck out 11 times last night.
It was the pitching that was a problem coming in, with starters Nate Klein (shoulder) and Josh Slaats (elbow) injured. After the last three days, that might be the least of the 'Bows' worries.
"The problem is we didn't generate anything offensively except for the eighth inning the first night," Trapasso said. "We had one good inning offensively and that's a concern. We're really struggling swinging the bats."
The only drama came in the eighth when Lenny Linsky, the Rainbows' fourth pitcher, threw behind DePinto with two outs. That prompted the players in the USC dugout to start onto the field, which set off UH second baseman Kolten Wong.
Linsky, who was visited by an obviously unhappy Trapasso, had "spoken" with Trojan Taylor Wrenn earlier in the inning.
"That was on our pitcher and we'll deal with that internally," Trapasso said. "That was a mistake on his part. Emotions got carried away."