Hawaii can clinch a share of the WAC regular-season title with a victory today
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 20, 2011
Hawaii won the second game of yesterday's baseball doubleheader against New Mexico State by 10 runs.
In the very same game, the Aggies outhit the Rainbows 16-14.
Such is life at Presley Askew Field in Las Cruces, N.M.
Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso admitted he was "very concerned" after the Aggies took the opener 14-5 in seven innings.
The Rainbows responded with a 14-4 win in the nightcap to improve to 12-9 in games following a loss this season.
"It's weird when you get smoked the first game, smoke them the second game, but still feel like you didn't play well," Trapasso said. "I was very concerned after the first game because it looked like the travel and finals and all that stuff caught up to them, but again, they bounced back like they have all season."
Hawaii (31-22, 16-6 Western Athletic Conference) is percentage points ahead of Fresno State (37-11, 17-7), which finished league play with a 7-1 win over Nevada yesterday.
A UH victory in either of its next two games would clinch at least a share of the regular-season WAC title. Two wins would assure the Rainbows the No. 1 seed in the WAC tournament.
WAC BASEBALLConference Overall
New Mexico State 14, Hawaii 5, 7 innings
Hawaii 14, New Mexico State 4
Fresno State 7, Nevada 1
The Rainbows own every tiebreaker against Fresno State except if Nevada wins at least three of four against San Jose State and Louisiana Tech loses at least twice to Sacramento State.
UH's bigger concern is getting No. 1 starter Matt Sisto ready for the tournament.
The junior right-hander allowed seven runs on six hits in 1 2⁄3 innings. It marked the fourth time in his last five starts that he threw three innings or less.
Sisto hadn't gone less than 5 2⁄3 innings in his previous 11 outings.
"I feel for Matt, but the bottom line is he struggled again and we can't keep having our No.1 pitcher going out of games in the second and third inning in the first game of a series," Trapasso said. "He didn't have command of any of his offspeed pitches and couldn't throw strikes."
Collin Bennett continued to feast on WAC pitching, finishing 5-for-7 with two doubles and three RBIs for the day.
In 16 league games, Bennett is hitting .434 (23-for-53).
Kolten Wong finished 3-for-6 with three walks and three runs scored and Jeff Van Doornum doubled twice and belted his second home run of the season.
Freshman Jarrett Arakawa started Game 2 and lasted four innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks.
With Arakawa's pitch count at 115, Trapasso had to go to the bullpen early again. It would be the last time, however, as Blair Walters threw five scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts to pick up his team-leading seventh win.
"He just attacked the zone," Trapasso said. "He still didn't throw a lot of (first-pitch strikes), still a lot more than anybody else, but he was aggressive and challenged them and had a great changeup working."
The day took its toll on the Hawaii pitching staff. Walters and Brent Harrison are done for the weekend and Randy Yard might not pitch after complaining of tenderness during his warmups yesterday.
Hawaii likely will have to start Pi'ikea Kitamura at shortstop again to allow Jesse Moore to pitch out of the bullpen.
Closer Lenny Linsky has yet to pitch in the series and Trapasso still expects Connor Little to get in some work.
"I don't know where we are pitchingwise and I'm concerned," Trapasso said. "I want to get Little some time, depending on how things go. But we'll need a good effort out of Zach (Gallagher)."
Gallagher (5-2, 3.36 ERA) will start today's single game, which begins at 2 p.m.