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Saturday, October 25, 2014         

RAINBOWS BASEBALL


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Rainbows focus on defense, pitching

By Billy Hull

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With seven guys posting an earned-run average under 4.00, the Hawaii pitching staff is both deep and talented.

RAINBOWS BASEBALL

Four-game series

» Who: Centenary (3-6) at Hawaii (7-9)

» Where: Les Murakami Stadium

» When: Tomorrow and Saturday, 6:35 p.m.; Sunday, 1:05 p.m.; Monday, 6:35 p.m.

» TV: KFVE, Ch. 5 (Saturday and Sunday only)

» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

That depth will be tested this week when the Rainbows (7-9) host Centenary (3-6) for a four-game series starting tomorrow at Les Murakami Stadium.

Hawaii will be without junior Connor Little, who will skip a start after feeling tenderness in his throwing arm yesterday.

Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said Little could pitch if it was conference play, but elected to give Little some extra rest with the start of league play three weeks away.

Little (2-0, 3.13 ERA) has had three straight quality starts, allowing five earned runs in 19 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is better than 3:1 and the Rainbows are 3-0 in those games.

Freshman Jarrett Arakawa (0-1, 6.00) and junior Jesse Moore (0-2, 3.80) will have their starts moved up a day.

Although neither pitcher has gotten a win, both were outstanding last weekend against Portland. Arakawa allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings and Moore pitched into the eighth, giving up three runs on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

PROBABLE STARTERS

» UH: Matt Sisto (0-2, 2.92); Jarrett Arakawa (0-2, 6.00); Jesse Moore (0-2, 3.80); TBA

» Centenary: Cole Thompson (0-3, 9.00); Seth Lugo (2-1, 2.84); Derek Dalzell (0-0, 10.80); TBA

Moore had only one strikeout in his first 14 1/3 innings, but matched a career high with his performance against the Pilots.

"All my secondary pitches felt well coming out of my hand," Moore said. "I'm not one of those guys that goes out there and throw mid-90s. I just try to pound the zone and force contact and was fortunate to get some punchouts."

Starting won't be Moore's only task against the Gents, who lost two of three against Grambling last week. Trapasso said Moore will start the first two games of the series at shortstop.

Sophomore Matt Harrison has started 12 of the first 16 games there, but is 3-for-32 at the plate and has committed seven errors.

"It's not about the offense," Trapasso said. "My focus right now is 100 percent on the defense because the offense is going to come around. The defense has to get better than what we've seen and all of our focus is going to be on finding whatever it takes to start playing better defensively."

As of now, Trapasso said he's planning for the series under the assumption that David Peterson won't be able to catch. With Pi'ikea Kitamura taking over behind the plate, the Rainbows have had trouble finding a suitable backup at third.

Freshman Conner George and junior AJ Bayus have taken turns in that spot, but Trapasso said Kalani Brackenridge will see his first action of the season this weekend.

"Our plans have been all along to redshirt Kalani Brackenridge, but we're not going to do that," Trapasso said. "He's going to play some this weekend, maybe a little third, maybe a little second because we've got depth issues when Pi'ikea has to catch."

Peterson is one of five Rainbows hitting over .300 and can still fill the designated hitter role. That leaves Sean Montplaisir, Breland Almadova, Zack Swasey and Collin Bennett battling for the three outfield spots.

Bennett, who is hitting .157, was the odd man out last weekend. Swasey and Montplaisir are two of UH's three best hitters in batting average, and Almadova scored seven runs in the final three games of the series against the Pilots.






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