Thursday, May 19, 2005


’Bows running
out of chances

The UH baseball team is on
the verge of elimination from
the WAC race

The Western Athletic Conference baseball championship light still flickers for the Hawaii Rainbows, but barely.

The 'Bows end their regular season with a six-game road trip that begins against the first-place Rice Owls tomorrow and ends May 29 against Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La.

Hawaii (25-25, 12-12 WAC) is in third place in the standings, four games behind Rice (36-16, 16-8) -- ranked No. 12 by Baseball America -- and one game behind second-place Fresno State (27-26, 13-11).

Mathematically, the Rainbows have not been eliminated from title contention. Realistically, to have a chance they need to sweep the three-game series against the eight-time defending WAC champions or it will be time to play for second place.

The Owls, who have won 10 of their last 12 games, swept Nevada last week at Reno, holding the Wolf Pack to three runs in each of three games while scoring 37 at Peccole Park.

The 'Bows, who are 7-5 in their last 12 games, did not keep pace with Rice, losing two games to Fresno State.

The mission is more difficult because Hawaii has not fared well in Houston, winning just three of 19 games in the Owls' nest. Overall, Rice, 21-5 at home in 2005, leads the UH series 31-9.

Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso will start four-time WAC Pitcher of the Week Steve Bryant (7-3, 2.84 ERA) tomorrow in hopes the staff ace can set a positive tone for the rest of the series.

Justin Costi (2-5, 3.41) is the Saturday starter, and Sunday's choice will be announced. That decision will depend on who is and isn't used out of the bullpen in the first two games.

"I expect to go with the same lineup we've used the past four weeks. Erik Ammon (twisted ankle in the last Fresno State game) was OK in practice (yesterday)," Trapasso said.

"Nothing has changed. My whole thing is we just want to go out and play better than we did Saturday. We want to play up to our potential, win or lose. That's what we want to do."

The Owls are scheduled to start Josh Greer (9-3, 3.14), Eddie Degerman (7-1, 2.61) and Joe Savery (7-4, 1.87). Degerman and Savery were the winning pitchers in the Rice victories at Les Murakami Stadium.

Although Rice joins Conference USA on July 1, Owls coach Wayne Graham wants to continue bringing his team to Les Murakami Stadium.

"I would like to play the Rainbows every four years. It is great for recruiting to tell a player he will make a trip to Hawaii during his four years with us," Graham said.

All three games will be broadcast on KKEA, 1420-AM.

WAC standings

Conference Overall

W L Pct. GB W L
Rice 16 8 .687 -- 36 16
Fresno State 13 11 .542 3 27 26
Hawaii 12 12 .500 4 25 25
San Jose State* 11 13 .458 5 26 24
Nevada 11 13 .458 5 22 25
Louisiana Tech 9 15 .375 7 17 34

* -- San Jose St. has one nonconference tie

Louisiana-Monroe 11, Louisiana Tech 4
Houston 3, Rice 2
Hawaii at Rice, 2 p.m. HST
Louisiana Tech at Fresno State
Nevada at San Jose State
Hawaii at Rice, 9 a.m. HST
Nevada at San Jose State
Louisiana Tech at Fresno State
Hawaii at Rice, 8 a.m. HST
Nevada at San Jose State
Louisiana Tech at Fresno State

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