HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii baseball team plays host to UC Irvine in a crucial three-game Big West Conference series starting Friday at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Friday and Saturday games are each set to start at 6:35 p.m.; Sunday’s finale is set for 1:05 p.m.
UH is 14-13 overall and 2-1 in the Big West coming off an impressive road series victory at UC Santa Barbara last weekend. UCSB had entered the series ranked No. 10 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball and was 16-0 when holding opponents to five or less runs, but the Rainbow Warriors pounded out 44 hits and scored 22 runs in the three games, coming within two runs of a rare road sweep.
Senior right-hander Matt Cooper was named Big West Pitcher of the Week after tossing a six-hitter with nine strikeouts and only two walks in the 3-1 series-opening victory. Junior lefty Jarrett Arakawa won the finale by allowing only one run and five hits with no walks in six innings as Hawaii went on to win, 12-4.
Freshman Marcus Doi returned to the starting lineup for the first time since February as the designated hitter and went 5-for-13 with three RBIs over the weekend. His presence as the No. 5 batter appeared to help cleanup hitter Marc Flores, who went a combined 8-for-14, with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs.
Even utility player Julien Jones, who had been mired in an 0-for-35 slump, went 3-for-5 with two RBIs on Sunday.
UC Irvine (18-10, 2-1) is coming off a 4-3 non-conference loss at Pepperdine on Tuesday, with two errors leading to two unearned runs. The Anteaters had opened Big West play at home last weekend by taking the first two games off of UC Riverside, 8-0 and 4-2, before losing the finale, 3-1.
Friday night starter Andrew Morales (5-0, 0.51 earned run average, 56 strikeouts in 52.6 innings) is considered to be a first-round Major League Baseball Draft prospect. Closer Sam Moore (1.46 ERA) leads the conference in saves with 11.
SOFTBALL HOSTS CAL STATE FULLERTON: The Rainbow Wahine softball team begins its Big West home schedule with a three-game series vs. Cal State Fullerton.
Friday’s series opener is set for 6 p.m., with Saturday’s doubleheader scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
UH (18-14, 3-0) is coming off a series sweep at UC Riverside, as sophomore right-hander Loie Kesterson won two of the three games by allowing three runs on eight hits and only one walk in Friday’s 7-3 victory, and notching another complete game Sunday by allowing no earned runs and only one walk in the 4-1 win.
Freshman Heather Morales won the middle game, 8-7, allowing only one earned run in seven innings pitched.
The Rainbow Wahine also had a combined 23 hits in the three games, including five home runs (two by Kayla Wartner and one each by Jazmine Zamora, Sharla Kliebenstein and Leisha Liilii).
Cal State Fullerton (21-13-1, 2-1) is coming off a home series victory over UC Santa Barbara, winning the last two games, 10-0 and 11-7, after losing the opener, 6-1.
SENIOR NIGHT FOR WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL: The UH men’s volleyball team will play its final home matches of the season this weekend vs. Brigham Young.
First serve is set for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Seniors Joby Ramos, Johann Timmer, Nick West, Aniefre Etim-Thomas and Jace Olsen will be honored after Saturday’s match during the traditional “Senior Night” festivities.
The Rainbow Warriors (13-10, 11-9 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) have not played a home match since March 9. They were idle last week after a pair of road victories at Pacific and two road losses at Stanford.
Brigham Young (18-4, 18-2) has already clinched at least a share of the MPSF regular season title.
STANDHARDINGER TO PLAY IN ALL-STAR GAME: UH men’s basketball senior Christian Standhardinger has been selected to play for the West squad in the Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game at 12:30 p.m. (HST) Friday in Arlington, Texas.
The game is held in conjunction with NCAA Final Four activities and will broadcast on delayed CBS-TV at 6 a.m. (HST) Saturday.
The rosters were announced by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Standhardinger was a two-time All-Big West First Team selection and is the only player in UH history to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a two-year career.
BROOKLYN, NGUYEN WIN TENNIS HONORS: UH tennis players Jonathan Brooklyn and Cindy Nguyen were each named Big West Player of the Week.
Brooklyn, a senior, led the Rainbow Warriors to a 6-1 team victory over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo by winning his singles match 6-2, 6-1, and pairing with Carter Lam for an 8-6 doubles victory. He also beat Oregon’s No. 110-ranked Robin Cambier, 7-5, 6-7, 10-4.
Nguyen, a freshman playing No. 1 singles, extended her personal win streak to eight matches with victories against UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Irvine. She is 14-3 overall.
FOOTBALL TEAM OPENS SPRING PRACTICE: The UH football team opened spring practice Tuesday with the first of 15 sessions scheduled through April 26.
The remaining dates are April 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24 and 26, with weekday practices starting at 7:15 a.m. and Saturday practices scheduled for 10:20 a.m., except for the final “Spring Fling” at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 26.
All practices will be held on UH’s lower campus and are open to the public.