The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors baseball team (19-25, 8-10 Big West) will host UC Riverside (20-24, 7-8 Big West) this weekend at Les Murakami Stadium in the final home Big West series of the 2016 campaign. The series opens Friday at 6:35 p.m. and will feature a full doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 12:05 p.m. No Saturday game is scheduled due to UH Commencement exercises.
The Rainbow Warriors are coming off their longest series of the year, going 10 hours and 36 minutes against Long Beach State, with two games tied in the ninth inning. The 'Bows are 2-8 across the last 10 outings and looking to strike some W's with the Highlanders coming to Murakami Stadium. UCR is 5-5 across their last 10 games and are coming off a sweep at the hands of Big West leader, Cal State Fullerton. UCR bats .265 as a team and averages 4.5 runs per outing, while the pitching staff has a 4.51 team ERA and allows 5.1 runs per game.
Junior outfielder Vince Fernandez has firm lead on hitting leadership for the Highlanders, batting .333 with 58 hits, including eight doubles and three home runs. Sporting a .423 on-base percentage, Fernandez also tops UCR in RBI (31), runs (29) and walks (25). Fellow outfielder, sophomore Austin Colvin is hitting .305 with 10 runs and seven RBI. Sophomore shortstop Colby Schultz adds a .297 average, putting up five doubles, three triples and two home runs to rank third with 24 runs, also 14 RBI.
On the mound, the projected rotation is junior left-hander Austin Sodders (4-4, 2.92 ERA, 61.2 IP, 32 BB, 59 K), senior right-hander Keaton Leach (1-1, 2.87 ERA, 37.2 IP, 14 BB, 27 K) and junior righty Angel Landazuri (4-4, 5.69 ERA, 49.0 IP, 11 BB, 28 K).
Shortstop Jacob Sheldon-Collins had a tough go at the plate last week against Long Beach State, dropping him out of the Big West hitting leader role, but he remains at second with a .390 average, tying for the most hits in the league (64), while scoring 23 runs and batting in 24. After joining the Johnny Bench Award watch list last week, catcher Kekai Rios remains strong at .318, coming into this weekend with seven doubles, 18 runs and 17 RBI. Upstart Ethan Lopez pushed his average to .298 after his fifth consecutive start, logging 7-of-17 hits for extra bases with nine RBI and 10 runs in 19 games.
Working with a new rotation last week, all three starters were steady for the 'Bows against Long Beach State. Look for UH to keep with the look of senior righty Kyle Von Ruden (6-1, 3.11 ERA, 89.2 IP, 13 BB, 44 K), senior southpaw Alex Hatch (3-5, 4.77 ERA, 66.0 IP, 21 BB, 51 K) and junior right-hander Brendan Hornung (3-7, 3.24 ERA, 83.1 IP, 18 BB, 63 K).
These teams meet for the 12th time this weekend, with the 'Bows riding a four-game series streak after sweeping the Highlanders last season in California. With UH leading 6-5, the programs only met twice before UH joined the Big West. The series started in 1973 in a tournament at Riverside.
Hawaii Athletics Release
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