'Bows try to finish strong


POSTED: Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thanks to a gritty doubleheader sweep, the five Hawaii seniors enter their final home series facing a lot less stress.

Instead of scoreboard watching, the Rainbows are free to focus fully on Utah Valley after clinching a berth in the Western Athletic Conference tournament last weekend with two wins over Fresno State.

“;It's a huge relief, to tell you the truth,”; said Ryan Morford, one of five seniors who will be honored after Sunday's game. “;The first couple weeks of WAC we kind of thought a berth in the WAC was a guarantee with how well we were playing, but then we hit that rough stretch, and playing all those games knowing in the back of your mind you have to win to get into your own tournament is a lot of stress.”;

The Rainbows are the only team in the WAC to finish league play. With the rest of the WAC playing each other this weekend, Hawaii's seed in next week's tournament could range anywhere from third to sixth.

While its seed is out of its hands, Hawaii (29-22) must first focus on finishing the regular season with a four-game series against the Wolverines (16-33) beginning today.

Utah Valley is in the sixth and final year of its transition from junior college athletics to an NCAA Division I program and will be eligible for postseason play beginning next season.

The Rainbows only need to look to a year ago, when the Wolverines won two of three against UH, as a reminder not to look ahead to the WAC tournament.

“;This isn't a tune-up. We're not preparing for the WAC tournament right now — we're focused on Utah Valley,”; Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “;We've got a really good offensive club coming in here. We focused more on the WAC tournament last year with Utah Valley coming in during finals week and they spanked us.”;

This weekend marks the final regular-season home games for Morford, Shane Hoey, Jayson Kramer, Jared Alexander and Landon Hernandez.

Hernandez, who has played in 176 games in his UH career, is out this weekend with a wrist injury that flared up in Fresno. Kevin Fujii will start in his place, with Kolten Wong serving as the backup catcher.

Hernandez and Kramer are two of three remaining players from the 2006 team that advanced to the regionals and both want to end their careers with another trip.

“;Once we knew we were in the tournament our next goal is to either win the tournament or do good enough to get an at-large bid and get back to regionals,”; Hernandez said.

UH's RPI is still in the mid-30s and a sweep of the Wolverines and two wins in the tournament would give the Rainbows 35 for the season, which could be enough for an at-large selection.

Kramer will start today's series opener, as the rotation will once again be the same, with Matt Sisto throwing tomorrow, followed by Nate Klein and Alexander.

Saturday's game has a special start time of 7:35 p.m. due to graduation ceremonies.


Utah Valley (16-33) at Hawaii (29-22), today and tomorrow at 6:35 p.m., Saturday at 7:35 p.m., Sunday at 1:05 p.m.; TV: KFVE: Radio: 1420-AM

» Inside Utah Valley: Wolverines were swept at Dallas Baptist last weekend after winning five of previous seven games

» Bullpen Woes: Utah Valley had a lead in the sixth inning or later in all three games last weekend and lost

» Jacked-up Jace: Junior Jace Brinkerhoff is fifth in the nation with a .443 average and has had at least two hits in 27 of 47 games played

Jace Brinkerhoff.443538
Billy Burgess.388842
Jake Rickenbach.330743
Chris Benson.321230

» Inside Hawaii: Rainbows split a four-game series at Fresno State to clinch a berth in the WAC tourney last weekend

» Nate The Great: Junior Nate Klein tossed eight innings in a win over Fresno State to help UH snap a seven-game conference losing streak

» Manoa Mashers: The Rainbows set a school record with 60 home runs, breaking the previous best of 58 set in 1983 in 16 fewer games

Kolten Wong.3501048
Vinnie Catricala.3541039
Kevin Macdonald.2821459
Ryan Morford.324422




Jared Alexander

» Position: RHP

» Height/weight: 6-3, 210

» Hometown: Rancho Murieta, Calif.

» Favorite MLB player: Greg Maddux

» Favorite UH moment: complete-game victory against Fresno State on March 20, 2008

Career Numbers
20087-33.2782 2/3831563
Totals10-44.62126 2/31512588


Landon Hernandez

» Position: Catcher

» Height/weight: 6-1, 215

» Hometown: Cathedral City, Calif.

» Favorite MLB player: Cal Ripken Jr.

» Favorite UH moment: Walk-off single to beat Washington 3-2 on Feb. 27

Career Numbers


Shane Hoey

» Position: 2B

» Height/weight: 5-10, 180

» Hometown: Kirkland, Wash.

» Favorite MLB player: Derek Jeter

» Favorite UH moment: Just being around the guys

Career numbers


Jayson Kramer

» Position: RHP

» Height/weight: 6-0, 190

» Hometown: Kaneohe

» Favorite MLB player: Jonathan Papelbon

» Favorite UH moment: Stranding a runner on third with no outs to pick up the win at Stanford on April 1, 2008

Career numbers
20060-03.5512 2/315511
Totals8-94.41183 2/321242121


Ryan Morford

» Position: 2B

» Height/weight: 5-11, 180

» Hometown: Upland, Calif.

» Favorite MLB player: Derek Jeter

» Favorite UH moment: Starting opening day against UC Irvine on Feb. 20

Career numbers