First, here is the recap from last night’s 7-4 win over Hofstra.
Play-by play updates will follow here. Below that are a couple of notes from earlier today on SS Jacob Sheldon-Collins and C Chayce Ka’aua.
Dalton Rouleau, SS
Steven Foster, CF
Brad Witkowski, 2B
Brian MacDonald, 1B
David Leiderman, 3B
Eric Ferguson, RF
Mat Annunziata, DH
Chris Weiss, C
Jake Fallon, LF
RHP Chris Bonk
Stephen Ventimilia, 2B
Matt LoCoco, RF
Kaeo Aliviado, CF
Alex Sawelson, 3B
Eric Ramirez, 1B
Jordan Richartz, DH
Alan Baldwin, LF
Jonathan Weeks, SS
Alex Jondal, C
LHP Quintin Torres-Costa
No Sheldon-Collins at shortstop tonight but the prognosis is good. He could play but will be held out tonight and likely tomorrow for precautionary reasons. He will be back for the Pepperdine series. Jondal gets his first start at catcher for Ka’aua, who gets the day off.
Speaking of the Pepperdine series, I’m hearing whispers that senior LHP Jarrett Arakawa might get some work in on the upcoming road trip. He did a long-toss program today and the outlook is good. If he can get out there in the next two weeks, he might be ready to go full bore by the start of Big West play.
END 2: Not much going on so far as both pitchers are dialed in. Aliviado ripped a double that carried well out to left despite no wind blowing that one. Makes me think the balls are a bigger issue than originally thought because that carried.Torres-Costa gave up a leadoff single but UH turned a double play behind him to end the first.
TOP 3: Hofstra plates a run on a two-out RBI single by Steven Foster that falls just beyond Ventimilia and in front of LoCoco in right. Fallon scores after stealing second off Jondal, who didn’t attempt a throw. Looked like he might have bobbled it on the transfer. Foster takes off for second and Ventimilia goes to cover and Witkowski bloops a hit where Ventimilia would have been. Runners at the corners. Torres-Costa blows a high heater past MacDonald for a strikeout to end the inning.
TOP 4: A mix-up in left-center between Baldwin and Aliviado allows fly ball to drop. E8. Leadoff man on second. Torres-Costa strikes out the next two but a grounder by Weiss up the middle finds a hole and Hofstra leads 2-0. Fallon doubles off the wall in right but Weiss is held at third. Torres-Costa blows a fastball past Rouleau on the 10th pitch of the at-bat to end the inning. Six strikeouts for Q.
TOP 5: Hofstra finding holes with their ground balls as Torres-Costa’s pitch count hits 80. Leiderman with an RBI single up the middle to make it 3-0. Two outs for Annunziata, who sneaks one just inside the bag at first and that will bring home two more runs. Triple for Annunziata and that’s it for Torres-Costa. Juliene Jones in with UH down 5-0. Wild pitch brings in yet another run. Torres-Costa final line is 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Jones gives up two more hits before the inning ends. Hofstra with 11 hits in five innings.
BOTTOM 6: Aliviado leads off the inning by taking a 1-1 offering from Bonk deep over the wall in right. First home run of the year for UH and second career dinger for Aliviado. His other came as a freshman against Wichita State (a 2-1 win). Everything going right for Hofstra as Richartz hits a screamer right at Witkowski at second, who doubles off Ramirez at first. Inning over.
TOP 7: Aliviado with another webgem for the UH defense, robbing Fallon of a hit with a diving catch at full speed in shallow center.
BOTTOM 9: Weeks with a one-out single to right to drive in Richartz to make it 6-2. Miller with a four-pitch walk and the bases are loaded with one out and Ventimilia coming to the plate as the tying run. Ventimilia falls behind 0-2 on two curves but hits a grounder inside the bag at third. Double plates two more. Tying run at second with one out now as UH trails 6-4. Ka’aua pinch hits for LoCoco and grounds out to second, but a run comes home. It’s 6-5, 2 outs, man on third, Aliviado up. Aliviado strikes out. There’s your ballgame.
It got cut out of Friday’s story, but the ‘Bows could be without shortstop Jacob Sheldon-Collins for the rest of the series. Sheldon-Collins made a fantastic diving catch in foul territory in the seventh inning but hurt his left shoulder on the play. He stayed in to finish the top half of the inning defensively but was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning and had his arm in a sling after the game.
Coach Mike Trapasso termed it a shoulder subluxation in which the shoulder pops out and then pops back in.
“I’m betting he’s going to be pretty sore in the morning,” Trapasso said after the game. “I’m betting he will not be available to us maybe for the rest of the series but hopefully that’s all it is.”
The injury was to his left side so it won’t affect his throwing.
Another situation to watch is behind the plate with freshman Chayce Ka’aua, who has caught all six games so far this season, coming out only once in the late stages of last Friday’s 12-0 loss to Oregon. With backup Steven Pollakov injured and Alan Baldwin starting in the outfield with Marcus Doi out and Jordan Richartz still limited defensively, UH doesn’t have many options behind the plate. Ka’aua has to shoulder most of the load with freshman Alex Jondal, who is still extremely raw, the next option unless Baldwin steps in, which would open up a spot in left.
It’s a bit of a tough spot for Trapasso because you want Chayce out there every game. He’s that good. But you also don’t want to burn him out right out of the gate. He won’t catch both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, but if he starts tonight, that means he’ll catch eight games in nine days to open the season. Ka’aua was limited to just a handful of games in the summer with a hamstring injury and sat out all of last year, so this is all coming at him pretty fast.
You saw signs of the grind catching up to him in Wednesday’s game when he made a couple of miscues in the field and then got caught looking at three straight strikes with the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth. But he came back to play a near-flawless game defensively on Thursday and added a big RBI double late.
“I was really happy for him because he really locked up (Wednesday). Locked up defensively and locked up at the plate there at the end,” Trapasso said. “He came out (Thursday) and the thing he’s been doing is catching well, doing a great job with our pitchers, and he has such great positive energy when he’s back there catching. The guys love throwing to him and he’s throwing guys out at a great clip too. We know he’s workhorse but we have to try to be smart.”
Ka’aua has thrown out four of the nine base stealers so far, although one should have been ruled a fielder’s indifference and not a stolen base and another came without a throw on a ball that was in the dirt.