Catching up with UH baseball

UH-NMSU baseball
Back from some time off and there’s a lot to catch up on surrounding UH baseball.

First, thanks to Jason Kaneshiro for filling in and catching everyone up on UH losing Tyler Brashears but adding three pitchers last week. There was growing hope that Brashears, because he waited until the final day before the deadline, would return for his senior season, but he elected to sign with the Rays, who never wavered on their $100,000 offer that Brashears ultimately took.

There’s no question it’s a hit to the UH pitching staff as Brashears was Hawaii’s first All-Big West first team honoree and will leave as the career leader in ERA among pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings. It’s an impressive list to be No. 1 on, but ultimately, it was expected, and the coaching staff has prepared accordingly. In addition to the three pitchers UH released last week, the ‘Bows have gotten two more commitments to help upgrade the staff.

RHP Isaac Friesen, who spent the past two seasons at Seminole Junior College in Oklahoma, is one commit. Friesen, listed at 6-foot-3, went 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA and and 19 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings last year in junior college. Pitching for the Alameda Merchants this summer in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League, Friesen has not allowed an earned run in 19 2/3 innings. He’s given up 10 hits and four walks with 17 strikeouts in 17 appearances while picking up seven saves as the team’s closer.

Hawaii also expects to add 6-3 right-hander Brendan Hourning, a redshirt sophomore from Chaffey College. Hourning started 12 games this past season and was 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 64 1/3 innings. He’s a three-pitch command guy with velocity in the upper-80s and should compete for a wide open starting rotation spot beginning in the fall.

That would give Hawaii six new pitchers with fall signee Dylan Thomas from Valencia High School. Thomas was one of eight fall signees for the class of 2016 but it looks like only five will make it to UH. Right-hander Ian Kahaloa signed with the Reds as a fifth-round pick and ‘Iolani’s Pikai Winchester and Saint Louis’ Pono Anderson will both go to junior college. Multiple people I’ve spoken with say all three did not qualify academically, leaving UH with Kamehameha’s Kekai Rios and Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Kobi Candaroma as the only local recruits to get in.

Hawaii will also likely be without promising high school catching prospect Tyler Murray for the fall. Murray was involved in a terrible car accident last month that left his 14-year-old cousin dead and another injured. Murray suffered a collapsed lung and may need surgery on his shoulder. Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said Monday he would likely miss the fall but could arrive in time for spring ball in January.

“The good news is that the physical injuries he has sustained in the accident will heal and he’ll be playing for us eventually, but the bad news is he likely won’t be able to come in the fall,” Trapasso said. “He’s a tremendous kid who is going to heal and more than anything else, we want him to be with his family right now and take care of the family business.

“Heal physically and emotionally from this terrible accident and we’ll be there for him. He’ll be a Rainbow.”

Murray signed earlier this summer along with INF Josh Rojas, who is tearing up the California Collegiate Summer League. He hit this home run in the CCL All-Star game and is now batting .432 (51-for-118) with 16 doubles, three homers and 24 RBIs with 10 stolen bases in 32 games. His arrival, along with high schoolers Ethan Lopez and Adam Bedrossian, should mix with returnees Jacob Sheldon-Collins and Eric Ramirez to form potentially the best UH infield since Kolten Wong left.

Some other tidbits.

>> OF Matt Miller will not return next season. Miller hit .234 (15-for-64) in two years over limited action for the ‘Bows and was having a good summer with Neptune Beach in the CCL, batting .374 with seven doubles, three triples and three homers.

>> OF Marcus Doi got four at-bats in two games with Front Royal in the Valley League in Virginia this summer before yet again tweaking his hip/groin area and returning home. Including both summers and his two seasons at UH, Doi has gotten a total of 165 at-bats in games. UH had five players get more than 165 ABs last season alone.

>> RHP Josh Pigg has put together a few solid outings in a row for the Rochester Honkers in the Northwoods League, considered the second-best summer collegiate league. Pigg has allowed two earned runs over his last three starts (15 innings) and 12 total hits with nine strikeouts. He threw five scoreless innings of five-hit ball in his last outing on July 16 after missing nearly three weeks with a minor abdominal injury. He’s 1-0 with a 2.48 ERA in 25 1/3 innings overall.


UH’s 2016 schedule has undergone one change. Arizona, with former Nevada coach Jay Johnson taking over for Andy Lopez last month, will travel here to end the season instead of UH playing at the Wildcats’ place for the second year in a row. This will allow UH to have roughly 36 or 37 home games this season, which is well above the 30 from last year.

The schedule now looks like this: NEW MEXICO, at USF, WEST VIRGINIA, MICHIGAN, CHICAGO STATE, SANTA CLARA. UH then opens BWC play at home against UC Irvine, meaning five consecutive home series and six of seven overall at the Les to start the year. Last season, UH never played more than two consecutive weekends at home.

>> Hawaii has moved a scheduled road series at LSU in 2017 to 2018. In its place, UH will play in a tournament in Minnesota that will be held in U.S. Bank Stadium, which will open in 2016 as the home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. Other teams scheduled for the tournament are Minnesota, Iowa and Oral Roberts.


  1. turfwar July 20, 2015 10:04 pm

    Thanks Billy. Good stuff. Any word on who Trap may be recruiting locally from the class of 2016.

  2. 808warriorfan July 20, 2015 10:42 pm

    Did I read right ??? Student-Athletes from St Louis and Iolani did not qualify for UH ???

  3. Billy Hull July 21, 2015 10:57 am

    Check out Baldwin’s Kingsley Ballao, turfwar, although word is he already has some big-time offers (P12). They’re also interested to see how Mid-Pacific pitcher Chase Wago develops physically over the summer. Love how he just pounds the strike zone.

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