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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Well-rested Rainbows return to diamond

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Final exams might be out of the way for the nationally ranked University of Hawai'i baseball team, but there are more tests coming up.

After nine days off, the Rainbows return to action at noon, Hawai'i time, today for a non-conference game at San Francisco. Hawai'i's last game was May 6 at Louisiana Tech. Today's game will be broadcast on KKEA 1420 AM.

"It was good timing because we needed the weekend off because of the long flight to Louisiana and finals," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "You feel like you need the week off, yet we were playing so well. Sometimes when you're playing well you don't ever want to take off, but for the stretch run it was good to have 10 days off for our guys to get their legs back."

The Rainbows (37-12 overall), ranked No. 29 in Collegiate Baseball and No. 25 in the Rosenblatt Report, resume Western Athletic Conference action this weekend at San Jose State before they move on to the WAC tournament the following week at Fresno State. The 'Bows are a nation-best 13-2 away from home, and are riding an eight-game winning streak.

The Dons (36-19) are coming off a West Coast Conference series sweep of Loyola Marymount over the weekend and also have an eight-game win streak. They are WCC regular-season co-champions with No. 28 Pepperdine; they meet in two weekends for the overall title and regional berth that comes with it. The Dons have been highly successful at Benedetti Diamond, going 16-3.

"It will definitely be a challenge," Trapasso said. "They've been playing well, particularly at home."

The Rainbows will start left-hander Mark Rodrigues (3-1, 4.15 earned run average), but will staff the game, Trapasso said. Because of the long break, he said starters Justin Costi and Ian Harrington might throw an inning each.

"We don't want to blow anybody out before the conference weekend," Trapasso said.

The Dons will start right-hander Brian Anderson (6-0, 4.32), who is their usual midweek starter, a team spokesman said.

San Francisco has one player from Hawai'i in pitcher Patrick McGuigan, a 2002 graduate of Mid-Pacific Institute and the 2002 Advertiser Player of the Year. The senior right-hander is enjoying his best season at 11-2 with three saves. He has split time as a closer and Sunday starter.

While UH was idle over the weekend, Fresno State pulled into first place in the WAC with a three-game sweep of San Jose State. Both entered the series tied for second, one game behind UH. The Bulldogs (15-6) are a half-game in front of the Rainbows (14-6) and three ahead of the third-place Spartans (12-9).

Fresno State will play a three-game series at Sacramento State over the weekend. Hawai'i will need to win and get help from the Hornets to retake the WAC lead. The Rainbows need only one win to clinch second. Although the regular-season standings only affect seeding for the WAC tournament, it is UH's hope that a first-place regular-season finish might help its at-large berth hopes if it does not win the tournament. The tournament champion is the only WAC team assured of a regional berth.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluad vertiser.com or 525-8042.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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