Despite winning the WAC's regular season and finishing second in the tournament, UH likely won't make the NCAAs
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 30, 2011
MESA, Ariz. » A year ago, the Hawaii baseball team gathered downstairs at its hotel and watched the NCAA selection show together, knowing "Hawaii" would eventually turn up on the screen.
They won't need those seats this year.
The Rainbows left Arizona hours before the field of 64 for the NCAA tournament was to be announced at 6:30 a.m. today. Any at-large hopes were just about put to rest with an RPI of 69 following Saturday night's loss to Fresno State in the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
"It's a crying shame," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "The only reason we're not going to make it is because our RPI isn't at a level that the selection committee says it should be.
"We're the league champions, the No. 1 seed, we get to the championship game and we won 34 games. Our schedule is as good of a schedule you'll find in the country. It didn't end up showing that in the RPI because a couple of the teams we scheduled didn't have the year they thought they might, but the reality is, look at the intent of our schedule."
Hawaii (34-25) played home series against Texas and Cal State Fullerton, ranked No. 2 and No. 9 in this week's Baseball America poll.
Its other nonconference opponents struggled to live up to expectations. Oregon, a top-10 team to start the season, is 32-26. Loyola Marymount is 30-25, Long Beach State is 29-27 and Portland, last year's second-place team in the West Coast Conference, finished 23-31.
Wichita State, which was also ranked to start the year, finished 39-26.
UH's chances also were dealt a blow when New Mexico, with a 20-39 record, won the Mountain West Conference tournament and an automatic berth, turning the MWC into a two-bid league, TCU getting the other.
Six teams earned at-large spots with 34 wins or fewer in 2010, but five came from the Pac-10, including California, which won 29.
Oregon State made the tournament despite finishing tied for seventh in the conference with a 12-15 league record.
Those five Pac-10 teams combined to go 5-11 in regional play, with three of those wins by Washington State, which lost in a regional final.
Hawaii went 2-2 as the No. 3 seed in the Tempe regional, beating second-seeded San Diego twice and losing two times to Arizona State, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. San Diego finished 19-2 in the WCC last year.
The lack of RPI strength in the WAC also hurt Hawaii's chances.
The Rainbows won three of four games against Louisiana Tech this season, yet had their RPI drop six spots.
New Mexico State (34-24) finished with a record nearly identical to Hawaii's, but its RPI is 90 spots lower than the Rainbows' because of its weak nonconference schedule.
"I'd like to see a lot of the teams on the West Coast schedule like we do," Trapasso said.
"I think it's a crime (being left out), but I plan on a crime being committed (today) because I just don't see us getting in."