Improved play UH's focus in series
BY Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
While Hawai'i's pitchers try to get healthy, the rest of the baseball team is just trying to play better than it did when it dropped 3 of 4 to Southern California last weekend.
The Rainbows (7-9) will try to snap a three-game losing streak when it plays Air Force (5-12), a former Western Athletic Conference member now of the Mountain West Conference, in a four-game series starting tonight at Les Murakami Stadium.
Hawai'i scored just three runs in its last three games. The Trojans beat the Rainbows, 9-0, Monday night. It was the third time this season the Rainbows, who have the second-toughest schedule in the nation by two ratings services, were blanked. In the past two games, UH's bullpen has allowed 13 earned runs in 14[0xb0] innings.
"This is one of those series where it's really about us focusing on ourselves playing better," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "We need to go out there and swing better. No matter who pitches, let's get back to basics and pitch like we're capable of and when we go to the bullpen, that's when I'm interested in seeing these guys pitching better."
The Rainbows are in need of a table-setter. Starters in the lead-off spot are hitting .148 with an on-base percentage of .238 and have scored just seven runs.
Outfielder Matt Roquemore, who batted 3 for 3 on Sunday, went 1 for 3 leading off on Monday.
"He's gotten his opportunities," Trapasso said. "He's done well."
But the lead-off position is still unsettled.
"This is a series where I want to play as many guys as we can," Trapasso said. "But the games are going to dictate that. If there are nail-biters, close games, we'll just play that by ear."
As for UH's starting rotation for the series, more will be known by game time. Left-hander Sam Spangler will start tonight.
Josh Slaats, who missed a start against USC because of a tender elbow, is scheduled to see his doctor today. If cleared, he is likely to start tomorrow, Trapasso said.
Alex Capaul and Matt Sisto will round out the rotation, but their starts are pending Slaats' prognosis.
The Falcons are coming off a 12-10 win against the Colorado School of Mines. Over the weekend, they went 1-1 against San Jose State at the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament in California.
Air Force was picked to finish last in the seven-team Mountain West. The Falcons' big hitter is fourth-year starter Addison Gentry, a first baseman who is batting .333 with four doubles, two triples, four homers and 20 RBIs.
"They swing the bat well offensively," Trapasso said of the Falcons, who have a team batting average of .314 and average 7.25 runs per game.