Maui Sports

UH baseball trip ends on losing note

March 8, 2011, 8:32 AM HST
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By Fred Guzman

For the University of Hawaii baseball team, it was a trip of missed opportunities.

The Rainbows squandered repeated chances to deliver a timely hit and paid the price by suffering a 4-3 loss at Long Beach State in the finale of a five-game tour that opened with a split of a four-game set against Loyola Marymount.

But the early sense you get from following the Bows so far this season is that this team doesn’t make the most of its opportunities.

Yesterday was only the latest example, although Pi’ikea Kitamura did his part in the UH cause yesterday, going 3-for-3 with an RBI triple, reaching base in all four plate appearances.

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Hawaii, as you may recall, wasted a bases-loaded situation in the ninth in a 4-3 loss to Texas. Eight days later, they again failed to deliver with the sacks full in the ninth against Long Beach State.

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As a result, UH’s season record dropped to 5-7 and, painfully, those seven setbacks have come by a combined 14 runs.

Hawaii opened its first trip of the season at Loyola with a 7-5 loss last Thursday, and followed that up with wins of 3-2 and 9-7 before dropping the series finale 4-1.

The Rainbows return to Hawaii to begin a seven-week, 27-game homestand starting on Thursday against Portland.

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WAHINE HOOPS: With an unimpressive record of 11-18 overall and 5-11 in league play, the Rainbow Wahine were somewhat fortunate to sneak into the WAC tournament as the No. 7 seed.

But there’s some hope for the future, as Hawaii seeks to extend its season when it faces sixth-seeded New Mexico State in tomorrow’s first-round at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

That’s because two of the team’s top players will be returning next season. In fact, forward Kamilah Jackson and wing Shawna Kuehu were named to the WAC all-freshman team, becoming only the second and third UH players to earn that distinction.

The 5-foot-11 Jackson has been a revelation, playing in instrumental role in helping the Wahine bounce back from an 0-8 start to a 5-11 mark in the conference.

Jackson averaged team highs with 11.9 points and 12 rebounds, ranking as the nation’s fourth-leading rebounder.

The 5-10 Kuehu is UH’s most versatile player, ranking among the team leaders with 9.3 points, 5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1 block and 1.6 steals per game.

Kuehu missed the last three games with concussion-like symptoms, but is expected to play against New Mexico State.

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