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‘Bows hope to take care of business

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    Hawaii seniors, from left, Piikea Kitamura, Connor Little, Corey MacDonald, Jon Flinn, Max Duval, Patrick O'Rourke, Jim MacWilliam, Kris Butler pose with their plaques during Senior festivities after a college baseball game between the Hawaii Rainbows and the UC Davis Aggies on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at Les Murakami Stadium in Manoa. Hawaii won 6-0 in the final game of the three-game series in Honolulu.

For the first time in eight years, the Hawaii baseball team enters the final week of the season with no hope for a postseason berth.

The Big West is one of the few leagues without a conference tournament, making Saturday’s finale against UC Riverside the last game of a painful season marred by injuries and an offensive inconsistency that has resulted in just 3.3 runs per game, ranking 290th out of 296 teams.

A tournament would give UH a puncher’s chance at making a regional, like it did in 2010 when it won the Western Athletic Conference tourney with four wins in five days as the fifth seed out of six teams.

The Rainbows were on the other side of it a year later, when they won the WAC regular-season championship but lost in the tournament final and didn’t get an at-large berth.

The Big West regular-season champion is assured a berth in an NCAA regional.

"(Not having a tournament) wasn’t a big deal to me because when we have a year like we normally have, we’re going to be in the top 50 of the RPI after the nonconference schedule," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "And then when you play in a league like this as opposed to the WAC, you figure if you finish in the top half of the conference, you’re going to have an RPI that puts you in the conversation (for an at-large bid)."

Obviously that isn’t the case this season for a team that started with 10 straight losses and was 5-16 heading into Big West play.

But even that strategy might have to change, based on recent results.

Cal State Fullerton has the league’s automatic berth wrapped up with a four-game lead over Cal Poly with three to play.

At 37-16 with an RPI of 23, the second-place Mustangs figure to have an at-large berth in hand. However, they were passed over last season despite finishing with 36 wins and just a game behind the Titans in sole possession of second place.

The Big West was a one-bid league in 2012 for the first time in 26 years.

This season, UC Irvine is one of three Big West teams with 31 wins heading into the final week and has been ranked for nearly the entire year, but is currently on the outside looking in, according to most projections.

The Anteaters have an RPI of 78, despite playing nonconference series against Baylor, BYU, Cal and Nebraska in addition to the conference slate.

"This should be a lock three-team league this year and frankly, if not, it just shows you what’s wrong with the whole RPI formula with West Coast teams," Trapasso said. "But unless something like television revenue emerges, then I don’t see a tournament happening. Not enough teams want it."

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