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Rainbows do not receive NCAA baseball tournament bid

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                UH head coach Rich Hill said he thought the Rainbows put themselves in a good position with a strong finish, but “it wasn’t to be.” Hill engaged with an umpire during a game on March 24.
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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

UH head coach Rich Hill said he thought the Rainbows put themselves in a good position with a strong finish, but “it wasn’t to be.” Hill engaged with an umpire during a game on March 24.

Despite a strong finish to the regular season, the University of Hawaii baseball team did not receive a bid to the NCAA Regional tournament.

“The first thing that comes to my mind is I wanted these seniors to experience the NCAA Tournament, which is a truly awesome event, a lifetime experience,” UH coach Rich Hill said. “The second thing is understand it’s a very tough road. The (selection) committee has a very tough job. There are a lot of good teams. I thought we put ourselves in position with our great finish. But it wasn’t to be.”

The Rainbow Warriors’ 18-2 record down the stretch was tied for best nationally in the last 20 games. The ’Bows also won their final 11 games at Les Murakami Stadium. And they were second nationally with a 3.78 earned-run average.

But that was not enough for a third Big West Conference team to qualify for the 64-team postseason.

Regular-season champion UC Santa Barbara, seeded 14th and host of a regional, and UC Irvine, which will play in the Corvallis, Ore., regional, will represent the Big West.

The ’Bows finished in a tie for third with Cal Poly in the Big West. But they held the tie-breaker because of a series victory.

The ’Bows were facing long odds of receiving a regional berth. In four of the previous five years, the Big West received only a single bid.

And because the Big West is the only Division I league without a conference tournament (and accompanying automatic berth to the winner), a team that struggled early has a steeper path to the regionals. The ’Bows lost five of their first seven Big West games. They then won 18 of their 23 Big West games.

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