Baseball Bows have high hopesApril 3, 2009, 8:33 AM HST · Updated April 3, 9:32 AM 0 Comments
Expectations are running high as the University of Hawaii baseball team begins its conference campaign tonight against San Jose State in the opener of a four-game series at Les Murakami Stadium.
UH has played impressively during the recent non-conference portion of its schedule â€“ including taking 3 of 4 against then-18th-ranked Coastal Carolina last week — for an overall mark of 16-9 record.
But San Jose Stateâ€™s resume is even more impressive. The Spartans are 19-5 and feature arguably the best pitching staff in the seven-team WAC, which includes defending national champion Fresno State.
The two teams tangle at 6:35 p.m. today, play two tomorrow starting at 3 oâ€™clock and close out the series at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
UH will send Jayson Kramer to the mound tonight, while struggling Jared Alexander and emerging Matt Sisto will on Saturday. Head coach Mike Trapasso has not designated a starter for Sundayâ€™s finale.
MENâ€™S HOOPS: Bob Nash received a one-year contract extension with an option for a second year if the UH basketball team wins 18 games or qualifies for a post-season tournament over the next two seasons.
More importantly, perhaps, Nash secured commitments from a pair of highly-touted athletes who he hopes will resolve one of his teamâ€™s biggest needs â€“ backcourt players who can shoot and handle the ball.
UH was 13-17 during the past season and is 24-36 during Nashâ€™s two years on the job since he took over for Riley Wallace.
The additions of 6-foot guards Dwain Williams and Jeremy Lay, he hopes, will elevate the level of Hawaiiâ€™s backcourt.
Williams â€“ one of the nationâ€™s top-rated prep guards — was the starting point guard for Providence as a sophomore during the 2007-08 season and scored 23 points â€“ including six 3-pointers â€“ in a stunning upset of Connecticut.
Williams averaged 11 points and led the Friars with a .902 shooting percentage and shot 40.7 percent from behind the arc. He left Providence after the firing of its then-head coach and now has resurfaced at Manoa.
UH also landed Lay, who averaged nearly 17 points and more than six assists last season for a junior college in Oklahoma. He also led the team in steals.
If those two players pan out, they should dramatically elevate Hawaiiâ€™s dismal three-point shooting a horrid ball-handling. UH is scheduled to return its entire starting five â€“ including talented swingman Roderick Flemings.
VOLLEYBALL: The UH men continued to struggle, rallying late but still suffering a five-set road loss to ninth-ranked UCLA despite 28 kills by FR Steven Hunt. The two teams meet again tonight, with Hawaii having dropped to 6-16 overall and 3-14 in the conference.
SOFTBALL: The Rainbow Wahine are on the road this weekend, facing league-leading and nationally 22nd-ranked Fresno State in a three-game series. Hawaii is 15-19 overall and 3-3 in the WAC, compared to Fresno Stateâ€™s marks of 21-13 and 5-1.