HONOLULU – After opening conference play last week with a pair of wins over Fresno State, the University of Hawai’i (19-13, 2-1) Rainbows will now host Saint Mary’s College in four-game series beginning today. at Les Murakami Stadium. The Rainbows and Gaels will play tonight (6:35 p.m.), Saturday (6:35 p.m.) and a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 11:05 a.m.
UH opened the Western Athletic Conference season last weekend winning two of three games against conference rival Fresno State. In what was their final regular season series as WAC teams, the Rainbows went out with a bang with a game three rally that ranked among the best in recent memory. Hawai’i trailed by one run in the 10th inning, facing the bleakest of situations. The ‘Bows were down to their last out and had no runners on base. Stephen Ventimlia drew a walk, then Kaeo Aliviado delivered a base hit, and Pi’ikea Kitamura ripped a two-RBI game-winning double to cap the improbable comeback.
Kitamura has been expectedly solid at shortstop this season, but his offense has now become a major part of his arsenal. He leads the team in batting average (.325), hits (38) and RBI (18). Kaeo Aliviado is on a nine-game hitting streak and his defensive prowess in left field has been a tremendous asset.
The Rainbow pitching staff was an integral part of the Fresno state wins. UH starters accounted for nearly 70 percent of the staff’s innings, and some key innings out of the bullpen from David Longville and Brent Harrison were huge factors in the Rainbows’ two wins. Longville earned a three-inning save in the opener, and Harrison recorded the game three win in 2.2 innings of pressure relief. As a staff, UH leads the WAC with a 2.64 earned run average and Jarrett Arakawa (3-3) boasts a conference-best 1.81 ERA.