The Big West Conference announced its baseball preseason order of finish with the University of Hawai‘i picked to finish in sixth place. The poll was voted on by the 10 conference coaches.
Cal State Fullerton was picked to repeat as champions, garnering all but one first-place vote. UC Irvine received one first-place vote in finishing second. The Rainbows, who begin their inaugural season in the league after 33 seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, received 57 votes just one behind UC Santa Barbara for fifth place.
Head coach Mike Trapasso enters his 12th season at the helm of the Rainbows and returns 15 players. Senior shortstop Pi‘ikea Kitamura returns for his final season, and his bat and glove will be heavily relied upon by the Rainbows. His infield partner Stephen Ventimilia had a stellar freshman campaign at second base and is also expected to have another impact season for UH.
On the mound, senior Connor Little makes his return to the lineup after an offseason injury sidelined him for the entire 2012 season. Two-year starter Jarrett Arakawa also returns to bolster the UH pitching staff.
In total, UH returns 15 players and welcomes in 16 newcomers to the fold.
The ‘Bows will again feature one of the toughest schedules in the nation. UH will play its annual alumni game on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 1:00 p.m. and open the season hosting No. 15 Oregon in a four-game set beginning Friday, Feb. 15 at 6:35 p.m.