Hawaii Needs Tourney Title to Play On
By Fred Guzman
Forget about that share of theWAC regular-season title, Hawaii’s first since 1992. All that did was assure UH of a first-round bye in the conference baseball tournament that begins today in Mesa, Ariz.
To earn a return trip to the NCAA tourney, UH will most likely have to win it all this week. At 37-14, Fresno State has a much better shot at receiving an at-large berth based on its superior record and being ranked 19th nationally. Hawaii has an overall mark of 32-23.
The Rainbows went 4-1 last year to win its first WAC tourney title in 19 years. Hawaii advanced to the NCAA tournament before losing to No. 1 seed Arizona State in the Tempe regional final.
Hawaii will open its WAC bid on Thursday against the team with the lowest surviving seed following Wednesday’s opening round.
Leading the way for Hawaii is junior second baseman Kolten Wong, who yesterday was named WAC hitter of the week for the second time this season for the third time in a brilliant college career.
Wong hit .538 (going 7-for-13) with nine runs scored, eight RBI, three doubles, six walks and a stolen base in a four-game split at New Mexico State.
He wasn’t the only Rainbow to put up huge numbers as Hawaii scored 51 runs in four games against the Aggies. Breland Almadova, Zack Swasey, Collin Bennett and Jeff Van Doornum all put up huge numbers at Las Cruces.