By WES NAKAMA
Stephens Media Hawaii
HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii baseball team will kick off its 2014 season Friday night with the first of four home games vs. No. 6-ranked Oregon as Les Murakami Stadium.
Friday’s and Saturday’s games each have scheduled start times of 6:35 p.m., with Sunday’s and Monday’s games slated for first pitch at 1:05 p.m.
The non-conference meetings are being billed as the Outrigger Opening Series; Friday’s and Saturday’s games will be televised live statewide on OC16.
The Rainbow Warriors return seven of eight position starters from last year’s team which finished 16-35 overall, 11-16 in the Big West Conference.
Among the returning starters is shortstop Austin Wobrock, who committed only one error in 51 games, and first baseman Marc Flores, who batted .280 with 15 doubles, two home runs and 17 RBIs.
Matt Cooper and Scott Squier return to the starting rotation — Cooper led the team in earned run average (3.14) and strikeouts (69), and Squier posted a 3.44 ERA with 44 strikeouts. Also returning after redshirt seasons are two-year starter Jarrett Arakawa and highly regarded freshman Andrew Jones.
Oregon is coming off a 48-win season which ended in the NCAA Regional final. The Ducks are picked to finish second in the Pac-12.
WAHINE HOOPS BACK HOME: The UH women’s basketball team returns home for a two-game homestand against UC Riverside on Thursday and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
Thursday’s game is set for 7 p.m., and Saturday’s game is scheduled to tip off at 5 p.m.
The Rainbow Wahine (11-10, 5-4 Big West) are coming off a 1-3 road swing, with the three losses coming by a combined seven points. Kamilah Jackson continues to lead the team with averages of 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, with Ashleigh Karaitiana second in scoring at 10.8 ppg and adds 4.9 rpg.
UH defeated UC Riverside (4-18, 0-9) on the road, 74-61, on Jan. 18.
MEN’S HOOPS ON ROAD: The UH men’s basketball team hits the road for a two-game trip to UC Riverside on Thursday and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
Both games will be broadcast live on radio (at 5 p.m. HST Thursday and 4 p.m. Saturday) via ESPN Radio (790 AM in West Hawaii; 850 AM in East Hawaii).
The Rainbow Warriors (16-7, 5-4) are coming off a four-game homestand in which they went 2-2, including last Saturday’s 69-60 victory over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
UH defeated UC Riverside (8-15, 3-6) in Honolulu, 100-69, on Jan. 18.
MEN’S VOLLEYBALL TOPS CAL BAPTIST: The UH men’s volleyball team opened a two-game home series vs. Cal Baptist with a 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-10 victory Wednesday.
Brook Sedore smacked 24 kills and Sinisa Zarkovic added 22 for the Rainbow Warriors (8-4, 6-3 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation). UH outhit the Lancers (3-8, 2-7) .386-.127.
UH, ranked No. 11 in the latest AVCA poll, swept No. 13 Cal State Northridge in a pair of matches last weekend — the first back-to-back sweeps over a ranked opponent since 2006.
WAHINE SOFTBALL HEADS TO VEGAS: The UH women’s softball team will be in Las Vegas this weekend for the UNLV Easton Desert Classic from Thursday through Sunday.
The Rainbow Wahine are 3-2 after playing host to the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic. Hawaii defeated Hampton twice and Delaware once but fell to UCLA twice, including an eight-inning loss last Friday.
Second baseman Jazmine Zamora went 4 for 10 in the first three games before being sidelined by injury. First baseman Leisha Liiliii went 4 for 13, including two home runs and 5 RBIs vs. Hampton.
Freshman pitcher Heather Morales went 3-1 in her first weekend of college softball, not allowing a run in her first 20 and 2/3 innings. Sophomoe Loie Kesterson pitched 6 and 2/3 shutout innings vs. UCLA.
In the UNLV Easton Desert Classic, the Rainbow Wahine will face UTEP, Florida, Seattle, Portland State, Nevada and Utah.