Dixie State, UHH Split DH in PacWest Series
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by Josh Pacheco
Senior Bryan Raines picked up his fourth complete game of the season, but this time, his offense gave him plenty of run support in a 5-1 win by the University of Hawaii at Hilo over Dixie State College at Wong Stadium, opening up doubleheader action.
Raines (1-7) allowed one earned run on nine hits, striking out three and walking three while hitting two batters in the win. The right-handed hurler threw a complete game in his last outing, too, but took the loss.
The tone was different here, thanks to his team’s offense, and in small part, to the Red Storm defense. The Vulcans got the scoring started in the fourth inning, when Steven Riddle reached base on an error by first baseman Tyson Littlewood. Two batters later, DH Tyson Goo got his ninth RBI of the year, bringing Riddle home on a base hit to give UHH a 1-0 lead.
UH Hilo (11-30, 8-24) added more to the scoreboard in the very next inning. Jordan Murai reached on a base hit to center field, and John Abreu followed with an infield single off of the glove of pitcher Bryce Anderson. Joshua Wong moved them both over on a sacrifice bunt, and Riddle brought Murai home with an RBI single. The Red Storm had a chance to get out of the inning, when Goo grounded to third base on a ball ripe for a double play. But, freshman Yuto Kata sailed his throw intended for his second baseman into right-center field, allowing Abreu to score.
Dixie State (23-12, 19-10) gave the impression that they were going to make a big dent in the scoreboard in the seventh. Littlewood singled up the left field line, then moved over to second base on a wild pitch. Joe Andrade came up next and brought him home on an RBI single to get Dixie State within two. Two batters later, Jordan Hanley slapped a single deep down the left field line. UHH left-fielder Murai played the ball quickly back into the infield, gunning down Andrade who tried to take third base for the second out in the inning. Two batters later, Kata flied out to Murai to shut down the Red Storm threat.
The Vulcans added runs in the seventh and eighth innings to aid Raines’ pitching performance. Johnathan James scored Abreu in the seventh to extend the Vulcans lead to 4-1. In the next inning, catcher Tyler Nitahara lined a double into right-center field to score Austin Cusack, giving the Vulcans a four run lead, and coach Joey Estrella the luxury of bringing back Raines in the ninth with a sizeable lead. Hanley doubled against Raines with one out in the ninth, but the senior shut the Red Storm offense down from there, securing the Vulcans’ second straight win.
Anderson (2-2) pitched all eight innings for DSC in the loss, allowing five runs, three of them earned, on nine hits, walking three and striking out two. Anderson retired the first three batters he faced, but allowed a man on base in every inning starting in the second.
Abreu and James each had two hits for UHH, while Hanley and Colton Yack paired hits for the visitors.
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Zitting Hits Go-Ahead Single in Extra Innings For Red Storm Win
The second game of the doubleheader was scheduled for seven innings, but thanks to a UHH comeback, nine was needed before Ammon Zitting’s RBI single gave Dixie State a 4-3 win in game two of the four-game PacWest series.
UHH (11-31, 8-25) jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first inning when Johnathan James scored John Abreu on a single. Abreu reached base to start the inning on an error by shortstop Zitting taking his first baseman off of the base with his throw. The Red Storm would counter that run with one of their own in the third, Tyson Littlewood’s sacrifice fly scored Zitting.
The Red Storm broke the game open in the fourth against UHH starter Tyler Simao. With runners at the corners, the Red Storm attempted a double steal. Zitting broke for second, picking up the stolen base, while Jayden Darrington raced home. The throw bounced away from catcher Tyler Nitahara, allowing Darrington to steal home for the Red Storm’s second run. Jordan Hanley then promptly doubled to the wall in left field, scoring Zitting to make the score 3-1.
It didn’t take long for UHH to answer, as they got those two runs back in the bottom of the frame. Brad Fairweather singled James in with an RBI base knock to center field, off of freshman starter Stefan Cantwell. He was bounced after three-and-a-third innings for Jordon Blanchard, who immediately gave up an RBI single to Greg Cleary, tying the game at three.
Dixie State (24-12, 20-10) held off a Vulcan threat in the seventh, inducing a double play with two men on base to end the inning. They had their own chance in the next inning, when Cedric Johnson doubled off of Simao to start the eighth, ending the senior’s day. Casey Bohlmann came in and shut down the visitors from there, stranding the go-ahead run at third base.
In the ninth, coach Mike Littlewood called on Quinn Boyer to pinch hit, and Boyer rewarded his coach for the confidence in him with a leadoff single. Two batters later, Zitting came through with his third hit of the game, driving home Boyer on a single to right to give DSC a 4-3 lead.
The Vulcans had their chances with two out in the bottom of the frame against Daniel Zapata. Jordan Murai reached on an infield single, and was rewarded second base on fielder’s interference. After two consecutive walks to load the bases, Steven Riddle lined a ball into center field, right to Hanley to end the game.
Zapata (2-0), the Red Storm closer, pitched three innings of relief to pick up the win, walking three and striking out two in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. Casey Bohlmann (2-1) pitched an inning of relief for UHH. He was responsible for the go-ahead run scoring in the ninth, which came in when Patrick Fletcher was on the mound.
Zitting was the highlight of the second game, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Hanley paired hits with a run batted in. Murai and James each had two hits in game two for the Vulcans.
The third and fourth games of the series will be played Tuesday at Wong Stadium. Game one is schedule for 1:00 p.m., with the second game, scheduled for seven-innings, to follow 30 minutes later. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, AM 850 Hilo and AM 790 Kona, and ESPNHawaii.com
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