Valparaiso sends UH to Fresno on a bad note, taking the series with a 7-2 victory
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 24, 2011
The Hawaii Rainbows have shown the ability to have a short memory all season.
They'll need to do it again with the 2011 season riding on what happens over the next five weeks.
UH's series against Valparaiso came to a much-needed end with the Crusaders winning 7-2 last night to snap a string of three straight series won by the 'Bows.
A Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 3,294 watched Hawaii's 27-game homestand end with three tough outings against a team that has won 14 of 17.
"I'm sure of two things," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "I'm certain we'll play better at Fresno because we can't play any worse than we did this weekend, and the other thing is we'll never wear these pink jerseys again."
Whether it's bouncing back from a bad loss against Portland with a victory, or taking three of four against a ranked Wichita State team after being swept by Fullerton, the Rainbows (22-17 overall) haven't let things spiral out of control.
Hawaii will need to be at its best following adversity once again as it takes a half-game lead to No. 14 Fresno State for the biggest series of the Western Athletic Conference season, beginning Friday.
"We came out here dead, and give (Valparaiso) props, they came all the way from Indiana and took two of three against us," said junior Kolten Wong, who was 7-for-12 in the series. "We've got to get our head back in the game realizing we have Fresno coming up."
The Bulldogs split a doubleheader against Sacramento State yesterday to move to 8-3 in the conference. The Rainbows remain in front at 7-1, but know they'll have to do a lot better than they did against the Crusaders (17-22).
"We didn't know much about (Valparaiso), didn't know who they were and we might have (taken) them lightly," Wong said. "The fact that this was our last Saturday night game here, it sucks we had to go out this way, but we have to put it behind us and be on our 'A' game for Fresno, because they are tough."
Defense wasn't the issue as much as the performance of junior Connor Little, who walked the first two batters of the game for the second straight outing.
Unlike last week's 3-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in which he bounced back to retire 18 of 21 at one point, Little (3-3) left after facing five hitters, giving up three hits and two walks. All five eventually scored.
Facing a five-run deficit for the second time in three games, the Rainbows again chipped away at the lead.
Hawaii got a run in the first on an RBI single from Wong, but couldn't cash in more with runners on first and second and nobody out.
UH again had two on and nobody out in the second and came up empty, but cut the lead to 5-2 in the third as Zack Swasey grounded out to score Wong, who led off with a triple.
Senior Zach Gallagher, who has recently come on as the team's fourth starter, did his best to keep UH in the game. He retired seven of the first eight batters he faced and outside of a two-out RBI single by Steven Scoby in the fourth, kept the Crusaders from increasing their lead.
Gallagher's final line was an impressive seven innings of one-run ball, striking out four and walking one to drop his ERA to 2.00.
Damon McCormick (3-5) picked up the win for Valpo, striking out 10 in eight innings and giving up two runs on four hits.
|Gaedele rf||3||2||2||0||Almadova cf||3||1||0||0|
|Scoby lf||4||1||1||1||Montplaisir lf||4||0||1||0|
|Manning cf||5||1||3||1||Wong 2b||3||1||2||1|
|Hagel 1b||5||1||2||1||Van Doornum rf||4||0||0||0|
|Robinson dh||4||1||1||2||Swasey dh||4||0||0||1|
|Martin 3b||2||1||1||0||Blake 1b||3||0||0||0|
|Thibault c||3||0||0||1||Bennett 3b||4||0||1||0|
|Morman 2b||4||0||0||0||Kitamura ss||2||0||0||0|
|Bain ss||4||0||1||0||Champion c||3||0||0||0|
|UH (22-17)||101||000||000 — 2||4||1|
E--Almadova. DP--Hawaii 1. LOB--Valpo 6; Hawaii 5. 3B--Gaedele; Robinson; Wong. HBP--Martin; Kitamura. SH--Thibault. SB--Manning. CS--Gaedele; Blake.
|McCormick (W, 3-5)||8||4||2||2||3||10|
|Little (L, 3-3)||0||3||5||5||2||0|
HBP--by McCormick (Kitamura); by Gallagher (Martin). BK--Gallagher.
Umpires--(Plate): Joe Maiden. (First): Pat Riley. (Third): Kent Tsutsumi. T--2:25. A--3,294 .