There was anger and disappointment in the UH dugout following today’s 6-5 loss to Washington State. Instead of winning the four-game series, the ‘Bows settled for a split as the Cougars rallied for three runs in the eight and three in the ninth against UH’s bullpen. Three takeaways:
1. It was just one of those days for the relievers, who entered with a 1.43 ERA. They gave up seven hits and six runs in two innings. Vince Reilly, who had been terrific in his first two relief appearances, stayed in a little longer than usual after struggling. But in their eighth game in 10 days, head coach Mike Trapasso had fewer optins. “We kind of emptied the cabinet,” Trapasso said. “(Reilly’s) been our guy. He just didn’t make good pitches. That’s on us.”
2. Brandon Ross might be the guy after throwing seven scoreless innings. He allowed only two hits and struck out five. Ross was lifted after exceeding his targeted pitch count. But he showed command of the zone, grittiness, and the openness to adjust. After last week’s three-inning outing, he studied videos with catcher Tyler Murray. Ross adjusted to a more linear delivery, which he said was useful in controlling his pitches.
3. Tyler Best, who will receive UH’s nomination for field player of the week, has shown maturity and leadership as a sophomore. A year ago, Best joined as a second baseman. He learned to play right field in a weekend. Now he is an accomplished fielder — and hitter.
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Impressions No. 2:
> With Brandon Ross throwing scoreless ball for seven innings, it opens the likelihood he will be one of the starters for next week’s three-game series against Vanderbilt. That means Cade Smith is likely to go to the bullpen, where he excelled there in the opening week against UH Hilo.
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Impressions No. 1:
> Tyler Best is thriving in his two-game-old role at leadoff. He scored the ‘Bows first run and drove in the second.
> Ryder Kuhns, making his UH debut at DH, is showing multi-sided power. He had a sacrifice fly to right and powered a double to the warning track in left.
> Kole Kaler is a dynamic fielder. He opened the game by going to deep short to throw out speedy Preston Clifford. He also gloved a grounder up the middle, spun, and fired to first for the out.
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It’s the finale of the four-game series. Of note:
> Ryder Kuhns makes his first UH start as the DH today. Kuhns is best known as the standout quarterback at Saint Louis School … just before some guy named Tua Tagovailoa took over. Kuhns was at CSUN before transferring to UH last year.
> And Bubba Akana, the former Saint Francis multi-sport star, debuts at second base.
> For those who like velo numbers, Carter Loewen‘s cutter was at 91 mph last night. He was touching 96 mph the other night.