Hawaii's road (Rainbow) Warriors hope to keep momentum going at Riverside
HONOLULU -- Coming off a rare series sweep at Long Beach State last weekend, the Hawaii baseball team wasn't given the kind of reward it was looking for.
"The kids have been on lockdown," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said.
The only Division I college baseball team to stay on the road for consecutive weeks during the season, the Rainbow Warriors have used their time to focus on school.
With finals week coming up as soon as they return from Riverside, Calif., on Sunday, the players have been attending daily study halls with academic advisor Garrett Clanin making sure they get their work done.
When the 'Bows finally take the field on Thursday for the first of a three-game series against UC Riverside, they'll be pumped up just to get away from the daily academic grind.
"I hope so. It would be nice," Trapasso said. "It's not ideal to be on the road for 10 days prior to finals when the kids have a lot of work to do. There's been as much work off the field as there has been on it."
UH has done plenty of work on the field too. On Sunday, it became the first team to a sweep a series at Blair Field in conference play against the Dirtbags since 2010.
Hawaii was 1-10 in true road games before beating Long Beach State three times to get to .500 in the Big West Conference.
UH held the Dirtbags to six runs in the series and lowered its ERA to 3.90 overall.
Junior Tyler Brashears won his second consecutive 1-0 victory to capture the Big West's pitcher of the week award again. The bullpen was again stout, allowing two runs over 72/3 innings.
Left-handers Quintin Torres-Costa and Andrew Jones were the only two relievers Trapasso used in the series.
Torres-Costa has saved six of UH's nine Big West wins to lead the league in conference games and Jones has lowered his ERA nearly three runs to 3.86 over his past six outings.
"Obviously, we've been able to lock down some games late," Trapasso said. "Games we had leads we were able to hold and I think our kids saw that we were playing better and just started playing with a little more confidence because they were getting some wins."
Hawaii has won six of nine after starting 3-6 in league play. It sits in fifth place by itself, 3 1/2 games behind tri-leaders UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.
Riverside has struggled this season at 13-32 overall and 2-13 in conference. The Highlanders are last in ERA by more than a full run at 5.40.
While the Rainbows enter this series on a roll, they know they can't take the Highlanders lightly.
All Trapasso needs to do is point to two losses at home earlier in the season to both Hofstra and New Mexico State, which are a combined 26-61 this season.
"We've still got a long way to go," Trapasso said. "Despite what happened (last) weekend, we can't sit there and think we've fixed all of our woes on the road. Our record on the road after a three-game sweep is still not that good. We've got a lot of work to do against a Riverside team that, quite frankly, has a lot of talent."
UH will need to be wary of left fielder Vince Fernandez, who leads the team in batting average (.315), hits (53), doubles (13), homers (six) and RBIs (27).
First baseman Eric Ramirez, one of two 'Bows to start all 44 games, leads Hawaii with a .288 average.
This article was written by Billy Hull from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.