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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 27, 2010

UH baseball silenced by Cal State Fullerton

Advertiser Staff

Sophomore right-hander Noe Ramirez pitched a five-hitter and struck out 14 and Cal State Fullerton beat Hawai'i, 3-0, last night to take the opener of a three-game series at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif.

Ramirez pitched out of a one-out, runners at second and third jam in the seventh to preserve his shutout of the Rainbows (12-10), who had their five-game win streak snapped in getting blanked for the fourth time this season. Ramirez (4-1) allowed a ninth-inning walk, but ended the game with a strikeout for the Titans (11-10).

"We had our chances, but he was just that good," UH coach Mike Trapasso said of Ramirez. "We just couldn't mount anything against him. He was motivated. They were inspired. They really came out with high energy."

Josh Slaats (2-1) allowed three runs, six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 5[0xb0] innings for UH. Alex Capaul gave up two hits in the final 2 2/3 innings in relief.

Slaats started off strong, scattering two singles with four strikeouts in his first three innings. But in the bottom of the fourth, Gary Brown opened with a triple to right and scored on Carlos Lopez's single to right-center. A double play grounder to first baseman Kevin Macdonald tempered a double by Corey Jones. But Slaats struck out Billy Marcoe to keep the Rainbows within one.

But in the sixth, the Titans cushioned their lead with two runs. Brown was hit by a pitch to start the inning, stole second and went to third on Lopez's bloop double to center. But on the play, a throwing error by second baseman Kolten Wong allowed Brown to score. Lopez took third when Tyler Pill grounded out to short. That's when Slaats was pulled for Capaul. With the infield playing in, Jones grounded out to second, freezing Lopez at third. But Marcoe reached on an RBI single to short to make it 3-0 before UH picked Marcoe off first to end the inning.

"The sixth inning was tough because the two they scored was a flare, an error and an 18-hopper in the six hole," Trapasso said.

The Rainbows had a golden opportunity in the seventh against Ramirez when Wong and David Freitas led off with singles and advanced into scoring position on Collin Bennett's sacrifice. But Ramirez struck out Macdonald and Jeffrey Van Doornum to diffuse the threat.

Hawai'i also managed to get two runners on in the ninth with one out when Wong walked and Freitas reached on a single off the third baseman's glove. But Ramirez bounced back by getting Bennett on a pop out to second and striking out Macdonald to end the game.

Slaats, in his second start back since being skipped over two weekends ago against Southern California with a tender elbow, could not match the six innings he threw last week against Air Force.

"He was real good early," Trapasso said of Slaats. "But his last two innings, he really pretty much had to battle. He kind of got empty there the last two innings. He was lights out early, but when he hit 70 pitches, he kind of fatigued. His last two innings were a struggle, but he hung in there."

Capaul pitched well out of the bullpen after giving up five runs in 6[0xb0] innings in his only start of the season against Air Force last week.

"It's too early to make a judgment on that," Trapasso said of Capaul's use solely in relief. "But by looking at it, he's really been good out of the pen. Some guys are just better when they don't have to think about it over night and you just send them out of the pen and in 10 minutes, they're loose and in the game."

The game was good for the Rainbows, as far as playing in a park with a strong fan base. It will be similar when they travel during the Western Athletic Conference season.

"It was what we needed, as far as being on the road and in a hostile environment, facing some adversity," Trapasso said. "If we pitch the same way, scratch some runs across, we'll be OK."

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