Outlook for UH baseball is pretty good

Hawaii reliever Josh Pigg said he tagged out the runner on this play, but the umpire disagreed. Photo by Krystle Marcellus/Star-Advertiser.
Hawaii reliever Josh Pigg said he tagged out the runner on this play, but the umpire disagreed. Photo by Krystle Marcellus/Star-Advertiser.

To the credit of coach Mike Trapasso and his players, nobody used a questionable call in the ninth inning of Monday’s 3-2 loss to Oregon as an excuse. Hawaii walked the leadoff guy and gave up three legit hits in the inning to blow a two-run lead and a potential series split against the 16th-ranked Ducks.

Sure, 2-2 would look a lot better than 1-3, but after Friday’s disastrous 12-0 loss in which UH had more errors (six) than hits (four), the Rainbow Warriors played really well.

Third baseman Alex Sawelson and first baseman Eric Ramirez are solid bats in the middle of the lineup. Sawelson started 0-for-7 but then crushed the ball the final two games against the Ducks, going 6-for-8 with a double, four runs and three RBIs. Ramirez hit .385 (5-for-13) with three RBIs in the series.

UH is in its best shape behind the plate since it had David Freitas in 2010 with freshman Chayce Ka’aua, who did it both with the bat (.4-for-9, 2b, three RBIs) and the glove. Oregon stole six bases compared to 13 last year, but even that number is skewed as one should have been fielder’s indifference in the ninth inning of the 10-1 win on Sunday and another came without a throw.

Hawaii didn’t commit an error in the last three games of the series and pulled off some amazing defensive plays, while showing some top arms from the outfield. Matt LoCoco hosed a runner trying to stretch a single into a double in the first inning on Sunday and came up with a huge play again Monday, cutting off a double down the right-field line quick enough to throw to cutoff man Jacob Sheldon-Collins, who in turned first a rocket to the plate to save a run in the eighth inning. Sheldon-Collins, who admitted to nerves getting the best of him on Friday, made another great play Sunday with a catch and throw to third from the ground in foul territory for the unusual 6-1 double play.

Junior Alan Baldwin also got into the mix, throwing out Mitchell Tolman trying to score from second on a base hit on Sunday.

UH gave up only seven runs over the final three games after surrendering 12 in the opener. UH’s starting pitching was impressive with all four getting into the sixth inning and three (Quintin Torres-Costa, LJ Brewster, Kyle Von Ruden) allowing one run or less. Cody Culp had the best showing out of the bullpen, giving up two hits in five scoreless innings with four strikeouts in two appearances.

No time to rest as UH gets right back out there for five more games in four days against Hofstra, which lost three games to UCLA by a combined score of 43-10 to start the year.

UH’s rotation for this week
Wednesday: LHP Andrew Jones (0-1, 10.80 ERA)
Thursday: RHP Tyler Brashears (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
Friday: LHP Quintin Torres-Costa (0-0, 1.50 ERA)
Saturday: RHP L.J. Brewster (1-0, 1.69 ERA) and RHP Kyle Von Ruden (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

UH will hope to get 2B Stephen Ventimilia back after missing two games with the flu.

The one bad bit of news from the weekend can’t be overstated. UH will be hurt without Marcus Doi in the middle of its lineup. The groin injury flared up once again during a swing on Sunday and he’ll be out for awhile. He was on crutches Monday and will see the doctor this week, but before the season, Trapasso was serious in saying they wouldn’t do the same thing they did last year, bringing him back after a couple of weeks. With it flaring up again, I’d expect them to take considerable time before he gets back on the field. If he was out until conference play began, or even longer, I wouldn’t be shocked at all. Even redshirting him is a worst case scenario possibility.