(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – The University of Hawai'i baseball team (21-17, 8-7 BWC) continue their homestand at Les Murakami Stadium this weekend, hosting Cal Poly (19-24, 6-6 BWC) in a three-game Big West home series, Friday-Sunday (May 4-6).
Although Hawai'i remains tied with UC Irvine for second in the Big West standings, the Rainbow Warriors look to regain their footing after consecutive series losses.
Playing a big role in making that momentum swing will be junior catcher Kekai Rios, who has been nothing short of red hot since Hawai'i opened Big West play. He's leading the team with a .333 average and a team-high .446 on-base percentage, racking up 15 RBI and 17 runs. He's logged hits in 19 of the last 21 back to the Seton Hall series in March, batting .397 in that span, including a league-leading .426 batting average and .522 OBP against Big West opposition.
Also highly on the rise beginning with the Seton Hall series, scoring 20 of his team-high 26 runs in that stretch with a .329 average, junior shortstop Maaki Yamazaki has tallied multi-hit performances in four of his last seven games. Bouncing back from a hitting slump, sophomore right fielder Adam Fogel remains the team's leader in hits (44), doubles (14), home runs (4) and RBI (25) on the season.
Although some uncertainty remains after Saturday and Sunday starters were changed at the last moment over the weekend, one certainty is that junior right hander Jackson Rees will take the mound on Friday for the 'Bows. Rees leads the UH starters and ranks seventh in the Big West with a 2.84 ERA, putting together a team-leading 47 strikeouts in a team-high 57 innings. The 'Bows also have the back-end support from sophomore Dylan Thomas, who has proven to be one of the top closers in the country with a Big West-high, NCAA eighth-best 11 saves in 14 opportunities, striking out 33 in 28 innings with a 1.29 ERA. As a staff, the Rainbow Warriors rank third in the Big West with a 4.01 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.
The Mustangs are on a four-game slide, but against top competition, including a three-game set versus No. 9 UCLA. However, Cal Poly swept their last Big West foe, Long Beach State. The Mustangs are batting a league-leading .289 and with the Big West's second-most runs. On average, CP puts up 10 hits and 5.5 runs per outing.
Pacing the Mustangs and ranking third in the Big West with a .352 average, left fielder Colby Barrick has 18 runs and 13 RBI, reaching base at a .482 clip – helped along by 13 walks and a BWC second-most 10 HBP. Four bat over .300 for CP, with first baseman Tate Samuelson batting .304 with a team-leading 32 RBI. Center fielder Alex McKenna hits .313 with a team-best 34 runs and 57 hits. Catcher Nick Meyer rounds out the quartet with a .314 average.
On the mound, CP ranks seventh in the Big West with a 5.05 ERA, allowing an average of 9.8 hits and 6.0 runs per contest. Due up Saturday, right-hander Darren Nelson has been the Mustangs' most consistent starter, going every weekend. He's got a 5.13 ERA and 4-4 record, striking out 36 in 54 innings. Coming up first for CP, left-hander Trent Shelton is 3-2 with a 3.90 ERA, striking out a team-high 54 in 55 innings. Rounding out the weekend, left-hander Michael Clark is 3-4 with a 6.94 ERA, fanning 46 in 48 innings.
The 'Bows trail the Mustangs 19-9 in the series dating back to 1995. UH is 4-11 against CP since joining the Big West and are 6-7 at home in the series.
After wrapping up the homestand, the Rainbow Warriors will hit the road for the San Joaquin Valley, taking on their final non-conference series with a three-game set at Fresno State, May 11-13.
University of Hawai'i Games 40-42
What: Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (22-17, 8-7 BWC) vs. Cal Poly Mustangs (19-24, 6-6 BWC)
When:  Friday, May 4, 6:35 p.m. HT
              Saturday, May 5, 6:35 p.m. HT
              Sunday, May 6, 1:05 p.m. HT
Where: Honolulu, O'ahu (Les Murakami Stadium)
Television: The first game of the series will be televised on Spectrum Sports.
Live Streaming: Televised opener will appear on BigWest.tv.
Radio: All games will be broadcast live on the radio on ESPN Honolulu 1420 AM with Jim Leahey, as well as Scott Robbs and Josh Pacheco. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona and KTOH on Kaua'i.
Audio Webcast: www.ESPN1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats will be provided by Hawai'i Athletics throughout the series at the links listed below.

Promotions: Hawaii Pacific Health is the series sponsor and will be giving away great prizes each day.  Friday's contest is a "Pink Night" and the first 300 fans through the gate wearing pink apparel will receive a pink healthier trucker hat.  Friday (May 4) contest will be followed by an autograph session on the field. Saturday (May 5) Little League teams or groups that have purchased a group rate ticket package are invited onto the field to stand alongside the UH baseball players for the National Anthem & Hawaii Pono'i prior to Saturday's game (Check-in 30 min. prior to first pitch on Saturday near the Big West Conference logo on the ground level).  Sunday Funday (May 6): Ticket Package 1 - $25 for family of four (two adults and two youth); Ticket Package 2 - $40 (four adults). Each ticket package includes four (4) upper level tickets, four (4) hot dogs, and four (4) bottle soda/water (while supplies last). Tickets can be purchased online, calling 944-2697 (option 2), walking up to the Les Murakami Stadium on game day or in advance at the Stan Sheriff Center Box Office.