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WAC host 'Bows have score to settle


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POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2009

This year's Hawaii baseball season has had it all.

Vinnie Catricala's walk-off homer against Mississippi State, Kolten Wong's three-homer game vs. Loyola Marymount and a school-record 63 long balls are just some of the highlights in a season that has seen Hawaii ranked as high as No. 20 in a major poll.

But ultimately, all of those accomplishments will take a back seat to what happens over the next four days. The Rainbows (31-24), seeded fifth after losing seven of their final nine conference games, open the NAPA Auto Parts Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament tonight against No. 2 seed Louisiana Tech at 7 at Les Murakami Stadium.

The Bulldogs swept the Rainbows in Hawaii three weeks ago in a critical series that ended any hopes of a regular-season WAC title.

“;They did sweep us here, but there's no way they're going to beat us five times in a row,”; Catricala said. “;It's going to be a good weekend, definitely.”;

Hawaii will continue to be short-handed entering the tournament, as catcher Landon Hernandez isn't expected to play. He took some practice swings on Sunday and again on Tuesday with pain, but didn't even attempt to hit in yesterday's practice.

“;I want to play,”; Hernandez said. “;I was able to catch, so we'll see.”;

Head coach Mike Trapasso wasn't as optimistic.

“;He's definitely not going to play (today) and I don't expect any vast improvements over the next couple of days, but we'll still hold out hope,”; Trapasso said. “;It's a big loss, but there's nothing we can do about it so I'm not going to talk about how it's a big loss because Kevin (Fujii) is going to do a good job and we'll overcome it.”;

The Rainbows took two days off before practicing yesterday for an hour. This is the ninth time Hawaii is hosting the tournament and first since 1992. Hawaii is 17-9 all-time in tournament games played in Honolulu and has won the title five times.

“;A lot of these WAC teams are made to play in their parks and we do so well here because we're made to play in this park,”; said senior Jayson Kramer, who will start tonight's game. “;That serves as a huge advantage, and I just feel that we've played well here all year and we're confident going into this tournament that we'll do well.”;

Kramer (2.17 ERA in eight home starts) has benefited from pitching at home as much as anyone. He's gone at least eight innings in five of those starts, including each of the last four. His one complete game came against the Bulldogs, when he took the loss despite giving up only two earned runs and no walks.

“;We're going to be going for the throat here because they did sweep us and we're going to go for some payback,”; Kramer said. “;I'm just going to go out and try to pitch well enough to put us in a position to win.”;

Only 5 1/2 games separated top seed San Jose State from sixth-seeded Nevada, which will open tournament play today at 11 a.m. Defending champion Fresno State is the third seed.

The tourney seems as wide open as it's ever been.

“;Anyone can take it, but I feel like we're the team to beat,”; Catricala said. “;We're talented enough to come through and win the tournament, and I think it's a big advantage playing here because it's a level field. It's going to be more baseball scores than high-scoring games like at other places and I think that's an advantage for us.”;

UH has until 2 p.m. today to decide on whether to allow KFVE to broadcast Hawaii's games on TV. As of now, the games aren't scheduled to be on television, but can be viewed at wac.tv.

 

               

     

 

3 UH PLAYERS MAKE ALL-WAC FIRST TEAM

        Hawaii's Kolten Wong earned the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year award in addition to being one of three Rainbows selected to the All-WAC first team.
       

Joining Wong on the team are senior pitcher Jayson Kramer and junior first baseman Kevin Macdonald. Rainbows sophomore shortstop Greg Garcia was named to the conference's second team.

       

Wong hit .424 in WAC play with five homers, 29 RBIs and 12 doubles. He's UH's first Freshman of the Year since Andrew McNally won it in 1993.

       

Macdonald finished tied for the conference lead with 11 home runs in WAC play and was second with 33 RBIs.

       

Kramer went 3-1 in six WAC starts with a league-best 4.15 ERA in 39 innings.

       

Garcia was named to the second team for the second year in a row after leading the WAC with five triples and hitting .316 with 24 runs scored.

       

Tommy Mendonca, the leading home run hitter in Fresno State history, won Player of the Year honors and San Jose state senior Ryan Shopshire won pitcher of the year, while Spartans coach Sam Piraro was named Coach of the Year.

       

Star-Bulletin staff

       

 

               

     

 

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1. SAN JOSE ST.

        » Record: 39-18, 15-7

        » Coach: Sam Piraro (724-538-6), 22 seasons

        » Series vs. UH: Hawaii leads 48-37

        » This year vs. UH: Hawaii won 3 of 4 games

        » Key players: Jacob Bruns (.412 BA, 7 HR, 42 RBIs, 47 runs), Kyle Bellows (.382 BA, 8 HR, 52 RBI, 55 runs), Jason Martin (.377 BA, 5 HR, 64 runs, 42 RBI), Corey Valine (.373 BA, 6 HR, 11 2bs, 40 RBI), David Berner (7-1, 3.00 ERA, 90 IP, 81 K), Max Peterson (7-1, 4.34 ERA, 64 1/3 IP, 62 K).

        » Scouting report: Spartans won the regular-season title on the strength of their pitching, finishing the season with a WAC-leading 4.57 ERA and 429 strikeouts. Won 12 of their last 16 games.
       

 

       

 

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2. LATECH

        » Record: 28-20, 13-11

        » Coach: Wade Simoneaux (174-211-1), eight seasons

        » Series vs. UH: Hawaii leads 23-20

        » This year vs. UH: Bulldogs swept four-game series

        » Key players: Davon Dageford (.378 BA, 21 HR, 63 RBIs, 56 runs), Kevin Winn (.383 BA, 9 HR, 62 RBIs, 51 runs), Chris Kersten (.381 BA, 18 HR, 57 RBIs, 49 runs), Patrick Thomas (.381 BA, 7 HR, 46 RBIs, 56 runs), Jeb Stefan (4-5, 6.75 ERA, 68 IP, 61 K), Dylan Moseley (5-3, 6.03 ERA, 71 2/3 IP), Mike Jefferson (3-2, 5.69 ERA, 1 SV, 49 IP).

        » Scouting report: Bulldogs won 15 of their last 19 games to finish the season a year after not qualifying for the WAC tourney. Handed UH its first ever four-game sweep at home.
       

 

       

 

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3. FRESNO ST.

        » Record: 28-27, 12-12

        » Coach: Mike Batesole (503-350-1), 14 seasons (eight at FSU)

        » Series vs. UH: FSU leads 69-44

        » This year vs. UH: Split a four-game series in Fresno

        » Key players: Tommy Mendonca (.348 BA, 24 HR, 74 RBIs), Danny Muno (.372 BA, 72 runs, 22 2Bs, 13 SB), Dusty Robinson (.341 BA, 12 HR, 12 2Bs, 40 RBIs, 46 runs), Matt Morse (3-2, 4.91 ERA, 66 IP), Holden Sprague (6-3, 4.33 ERA, 4 SV, 89 1/3 IP), Derek Benny (3-3, 5.40 ERA, 71 2/3 IP).

        » Scouting report: Bulldogs are the defending national champions and three-time defending WAC tournament champs. Perfect 2-0 vs. UH in tourney games. Swept Sacramento State in the final series of the season.
       

 

       

 

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4. NMSU

        » Record: 41-15, 12-12

        » Coach: Rocky Ward (295-326-1), 11 seasons

        » Series vs. UH: Hawaii leads 11-8

        » This year vs. UH: Split a four-game series in Las Cruces, N.M.

        » Key players: Bryan Marquez (.421 BA, 22 HR, 81 RBIs, 76 runs), Mike Sodders (.426 BA, 65 RBI, 13 HR, 16 2Bs), Jeffrey Farnham (.388 BA, 75 RBIs, 18 SB, 69 runs, 13 HR), Daniel Simon (9-1, 4.66 ERA, 73 1/3 IP), Jared Jordan (7-3, 5.34 ERA, 62 1/3 IP), Sebastian Vendette (7-2, 6.21 ERA, 82 2/3 IP), Erik Nyquist (7 SV).

        » Scouting report: The Aggies led the WAC in batting (.358), home runs (116), doubles (142) and runs scored (635). Forty-one wins are the most of any WAC team. NMSU lost its only tournament game against UH last year.
       

 

       

 

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5. HAWAII

        » Record: 31-24, 11-12

        » Coach: Mike Trapasso (244-214), eight seasons

        » Key players: Kolten Wong (.359 BA, 11 HR, 49 RBIs, 44 runs), Vinnie Catricala (.346 BA, 12 HR, 41 RBIs, 49 runs), Ryan Morford (.312 BA, 35 runs, 12 2Bs), Sean Montplaisir (.299 BA, 5 HR, 26 runs, 30 RBIs), Kevin Macdonald (.281 BA, 14 HR, 60 RBIs, 43 runs), Jayson Kramer (5-4, 3.62 ERA, 87 IP, 22 BB), Matt Sisto (5-4, 4.36 ERA, 2 CG, 76 1/3 IP, 43 K), Sam Spangler (5-2, 3.56 ERA, 4 SV, 43 IP, 43 K).

        » Scouting report: UH has won five of the last eight WAC tournaments held in Hawaii. The Rainbows are 13-4 in home games in which they allow four runs or fewer and 13-1 at home when they score six or more runs.
       

 

       

 

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6. NEVADA

        » Record: 25-29, 10-13

        » Coach: Gary Powers (820-650-4), 27 seasons

        » Series vs. UH: Nevada leads 31-24

        » This year vs. UH: Nevada won two of three at home

        » Key players: Nick Melino (.357 BA, 37 RBIs, 28 runs, 15 2Bs), Shaun Kort (.325, 60 RBIs, 41 runs, 14 2Bs), Matt Bowman (.294 BA, 10 HR, 20 2Bs, 31 RBIs, 58 runs), Derek Achelpohl (4-5, 4.52 ERA, 67 2/3 IP), Brock Stassi (6-4, 6.66 ERA, 71 2/3 IP), Chris Garcia (4-6, 6.08 ERA, 74 IP).

        » Scouting report: After UH eliminated the Wolf Pack in the 2006 tourney, the Wolf Pack have ended UH's tournament each of the last two years. Nevada had the conference lead at the midway point of league play, but lost nine of their last 10.
       

 

       

 

       

 

               

     

 

FIRST TEAM

        Starting pitcher—Jayson Kramer, Sr, Hawaii

        Starting picher—Ryan Shopshire, Sr, San Jose St.

        Starting pitcher—David Berner, Sr, San Jose State

        Relief pitcher—Holden Sprague, Sr, Fresno State

        Catcher—Travis Simas, Sr, Nevada

        First base—Kevin Macdonald, Jr, Hawaii

        Second base—Danny Muno, So, Fresno State

        Shortstop—Kyle Bellows, Jr, San Jose State

        Shortstop—Bryan Marquez, Sr, New Mexico State

        Third base—Tommy Mendonca, Jr, Fresno State

        Outfield—Tim Wheeler, Jr, Sacramento State

        Outfield—Kolten Wong, Fr, Hawaii

        Outfield—Devon Dageford, Jr, Louisiana Tech

        Outfield—Dusty Robinson, Fr, Fresno State

        Designated hitter—Nick Melino, Fr, Nevada

        Utility—Matt Bowman, Sr, Nevada
       

SECOND TEAM

        Starting pitcher—Daniel Simon, Jr, New Mexico St.

        Starting pitcher—Jesse Darrah, Fr, Sacramento St.

        Starting pitcher—Derek Achelpohl, Sr, Nevada

        Relief pitcher—Daniel Tinlin, Jr, Nevada

        Catcher—Jeff Farnham, Sr, New Mexico State

        First base—Shaun Kort, Jr, Nevada

        Second base—Hunter Martinez, Sr, Sacramento St.

        Shortstop—Greg Garcia, So, Hawaii

        Third base—Corey Valine, Jr, San Jose State

        Outfield—Jason Martin, So, San Jose State

        Outfield—Nate Shaver, Jr, New Mexico State

        Outfield— Westley Moss, Jr, Nevada

        Outfield—Patrick Thomas, Sr, Louisiana Tech

        Designated hitter—Mike Sodders, Jr, New Mexico St.

        Utility—Chris Kersten, Sr, Louisiana Tech
       

Pitcher of the Year
        Ryan Shopshire, Sr, San Jose State
        Player of the Year
        Tommy Mendonca, Jr, Fresno St.
        Freshman of the Year
        Kolten Wong, Hawaii
        Coach of the Year
        Sam Piraro, San Jose State