Today’s Hawaii baseball doubleheader could go a long way in determining whether the Rainbows will earn a bye in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
The Rainbows (25-20, 10-4 Western Athletic Conference) are 3-3 on their current road trip after dropping a 10-0 game to the Wolf Pack yesterday shortened to seven innings due to the 10-run mercy rule at Peccole Park in Reno, Nev.
Six of Nevada’s 13 hits were for extra bases as the Wolf Pack (17-24, 6-7) made quick work of a Hawaii team that’s suddenly struggling to pitch effectively.
“Like we’ve talked about 100 times, I can handle a loss if we play well, but we just didn’t show up today,” Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “We struggled in all three phases and it really was a day you just forget about and try to come back (today) and play well.”
Hawaii dropped into a first-place tie with No. 18 Fresno State, which beat Louisiana Tech 9-4 yesterday. UH is three up in the loss column on three different WAC teams, which each have seven league losses. Two wins — or two losses — today will make a huge difference in what the Rainbows face over the final eight games of the season. The top two teams in the league receive first-day byes.
Hawaii will likely be without Jeff Van Doornum, who was hit in the hand by a pitch on Thursday. Van Doornum woke up yesterday with a hand that had swelled up roughly “twice its normal size,” but an X-ray revealed there wasn’t a break.
“You saw (yesterday) how bad we were without him,” Trapasso said. “The X-ray came back saying it wasn’t broken, which is a huge relief for us because he’s really started to swing the bat well and is a guy we need down the stretch.”
The Rainbows will have the best of their bullpen available to go deep, as closer Lenny Linsky has thrown one pitch in the series and UH has yet to use left-hander Blair Walters.
Senior Alex Capaul and junior Riley Welch, who had only pitched once this season, closed out yesterday’s game that was dominated by the Wolf Pack.
Freshman Jarrett Arakawa, who has been UH’s most consistent starter over the past two months, had his toughest outing of the season, giving up seven hits and six runs — four earned — in four innings.
“He came out and threw well the first two innings but then really lost it,” Trapasso said. “It was like we were facing the New York Yankees out there.”
First baseman Brock Stassi finished a home run shy of the cycle, driving in three runs and scoring twice. Brian Bennett was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Braden Shipley singled twice and drove in three runs.
Collin Bennett had Hawaii’s only hit in the first six innings off of Nevada starter Troy Marks (2-3), who tossed a three-hitter. Pinch hitters Michael Blake and Kalani Brackenridge singled to load the bases in the seventh with one out, but UH couldn’t score.
AJ Bayus started at first base in place of Van Doornum.
Today’s doubleheader begins at 10. Senior Zach Gallagher (4-2, 2.38) will start the first game for the Rainbows, who could use either Jesse Moore or Randy Yard in the nightcap.
Nevada 10, Hawaii 0 (7 innings)
New Mexico State 8, Sacramento State 7
Fresno State 9, Louisiana Tech 4
Hawaii at Nevada (2), 10 a.m.
Sacramento State at New Mexico State (2)
Fresno State at Louisiana Tech (2)
Sacramento State at New Mexico State (2)
Fresno State at Louisiana Tech
Nevada 10, Hawaii 0
|Almadova cf||4||0||0||0||Rowe cf||2||1||0||0|
|Kitamura 3b||3||0||0||0||Kohan 2b||4||1||1||1|
|Wong 2b||3||0||0||0||Stassi 1b||4||2||3||3|
|Swasey dh||2||0||0||0||Barnett rf||3||1||3||2|
|Bennett rf||3||0||1||0||Melino lf||3||0||0||0|
|Montplaisir lf||1||0||0||0||Hernandez dh||4||0||1||1|
|Blake ph||1||0||1||0||Yrigoyen 3b||3||2||2||0|
|Champion c||2||0||0||0||Escobar c||2||2||1||0|
|Brackenridge ph||1||0||1||0||Shipley ss||3||1||2||3|
|UH (25-20, 10-4)||000||000||0||—||0||3||3|
|UN (17-24, 6-7)||003||223||x||—||10||13||0|
E—Champion; Moore; Arakawa. DP—Hawaii 3; Nevada 1. LOB—Hawaii 7; Nevada 5. 2B—Kohan; Stassi; Barnett; Yrigoyen; Escobar. 3B—Stassi. SH—Moore; Escobar. CI—Rowe.
|Arakawa (L, 5-3)||4||7||6||4||1||3|
|Marks (W, 2-3)||7||3||0||0||4||4|
WP—Welch. HBP—by Welch (Melino); by Marks (Montplaisir). Umpires—(Plate): Dick Flaherty. (First): Phil Benson. (Third): Heath Jones. T—1:49.