'Bows tough it out for 10-7 win
Relentless Hawai'i fought off Cal State Fullerton in a 10-7 win yesterday to avoid a three-game series sweep at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif.
"That was a big win for us," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "That was out of toughness we won that game."
After losing the first two games 3-0 and 13-6, the Rainbows (13-11) evened their road record at 2-2 with another game today (noon Hawai'i time) against San Diego (14-11), which took 2 of 3 from No. 11 Coastal Carolina over the weekend. The Rainbows opened the trip with an 8-2 win at Long Beach State, which then took 2 of 3 at No. 9 Oregon State.
Trapasso said from what he saw from the Titans (12-11), it won't be long before they return to the rankings. CSUF opened the season ranked as high as fourth, but also played one of the toughest schedules to date. (Still No. 1 by Boyd's World; UH moved up to 14.)
That made Hawai'i's win yesterday more impressive, especially with its starters hurting (Nate Klein is still out with shoulder tenderness) and struggling (Sam Spangler lasted just 2 1/3 innings Saturday).
The Rainbows collected 14 hits, doing most of their damage during a five-run second in pounding CSUF starter Tyler Pill (1-4), who went just 1 2/3 innings, and a four-run fifth against the Titans' bullpen.
Kolten Wong, Collin Bennett and Kevin Macdonald each had three hits, and Greg Garcia and David Freitas each drove in two runs for UH.
The offense helped starter Matt Sisto (3-3), who gave up six runs, 12 hits and a walk in 5 1/3] innings.
"Sisto got hit around, but he battled," Trapasso said. "He made pitches when he had to and stayed within himself. (The Titans) were just that good offensively, but we were able to keep scoring."
Alex Capaul was effective in one inning of work, allowing a run. Lenny Linsky was once again extended in 2 2/3 scoreless innings in recording his fifth save. He entered the game in the seventh, when the Titans had the tying run on deck.
"Lenny was outstanding out of the pen today," Trapasso said.
It was Linsky's second consecutive outing in which he went 2 2/3 innings. (He did the same March 21 against Air Force.) Yesterday, he threw 30 pitches, which is generally the threshold for a day's rest under Trapasso.
"I'm sure he's down for tomorrow," Trapasso said. "We'll see how he feels. He may be able to throw one inning."
Trapasso said if it was early in a series, he would not extend his closer.
"But until we get Klein back at full strength, we're working a little short-handed," Trapasso said. "I've made the decision that if we've got a lead, let's get the win today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. That's why when we were winning big against Air Force, I wanted Lenny to get some work just in case we get into a situation just like today."
Hawai'i took a 5-0 lead in the top of the second only to see the Titans chip away to pull within 5-4 after four innings. But the Rainbows' four-run fifth cushioned their lead to help counter the three runs the Titans would add in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Rainbows will start Zach Gallagher (1-1) today against San Diego. He beat Long Beach State to start the road trip.
"That's a game where Gallagher has to give us a quality start," Trapasso said. "We're going to have to get something out of (Connor) Little and (Trent) Allianic. I'm convinced those guys (both pitchers) are going to play a big role in tomorrow's game."