By Fred Guzman
The only way for Hawaii to assure itself of a berth in the NCAA tournament was by winning the WAC tournament title. That didn’t happen, and now the Rainbows must wait and fret over a decidedly long-shot invitation to college baseball’s version of the Big Dance.
The Bows were soundly beaten, 15-4, by Fresno State in Saturday’s championship game of the WAC tourney in Mesa, Ariz.
As a result, UH will have to wait and fret until the NCAA selection show, which will be televised Monday at 6:30 a.m., Hawaii time, on ESPN.
The Bulldogs, which earned the conference’s automatic berth, improved to 40-14, while Hawaii – which shared the WAC regular-season title with Fresno State – fell to 34-25.
Fresno State jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but UH pulled even in the bottom of the second inning on a Pi’ikea Kitamura’s two-run single and Zack Swasey scoring all the way from second on a poor pickoff throw.
It was all Bulldogs after that, with Fresno State responding with three runs in the top of the third and added another six runs in the fifth for a 12-3 lead.
The Bows may have been worn out after surviving an elimination game earlier in the day that lasted three hours, 40 minutes and featured a combined 28 runs in an 18-10 winover Louisiana Tech.
Swasey went 4-for-6 with one run and three RBI to lead UH. Jeffrey Van Doornum went 3-for-4 with two runs and Sean Montplaisir added two hits, three runs, and four RBI. Kolten Wong homered and drove in a pair of runs.
The Rainbows used five pitchers, with Randy Yard earning the win in two scoreless innings.
Wong, Kitamura, and Matt Sisto were named to the All-Tournament Team
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