"We try to play great teams and great programs and it just tests you and gets you ready," said Hawaii baseball head coach Mike Trapasso.
That's the philosophy in Manoa where Thursday, the UH baseball team was preparing for another test.
The 'Bows open a four-game series with USC Friday. The Trojans are the third Pac-10 team Hawaii will have played this year.
The Rainbows opened the season against 10th-ranked Oregon State.
Then they played 25th-ranked Oregon and last weekend split a four-game set with a good team from the Citadel.
Hawaii's strength of schedule, so far, is second in the nation. And it won't suffer against USC. The Trojans have won more national championships, 12, than any other schools. Coach Trapasso warns us not to get fooled by USC's 5 and 6 record.
"They are so talented," Trapasso said. "They're so physical and strong. You look at a team like them and they've had a couple games where they've struggled, but they've played a great schedule and they've also beaten some really good teams. They've beaten Long Beach and Pepperdine and New Mexico."
UH pitcher Josh Slaats has been terrific so far for the 'Bows. In 17 and a third innings, he's given up just one earned run. His ERA is an amazing 0.52.
"I kind of expected it a little bit, maybe not this successful," Slatts said. "But I've had a lot of help from teammates, but yeah, I've been working hard and I finally put all of my stuff together from the last two years and now it's kind of showing in the stats. I throw a fast ball, slider, and change. The change-up still needs a little work, but my fastball and my slider are definitely pretty good pitches. I hide the ball pretty well and make it hard for the batters to pick up my pitch."
Slaats has been so good Coach Trapasso was thinking about moving him from third to first in the rotation.
But Thursday at practice, Slaats had some tenderness in his throwing arm or shoulder, so Nate Klein will be on the mound in Game 1 against USC.
You can catch it live and in person at 6:30 PM Friday or live on our sister station, K5.
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