HPU, UHH Earn PacWest Baseball Split
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by Josh Pacheco
Hawai`i Pacific University hammered the University of Hawai`i at Hilo baseball team in game one of Friday’s PacWest doubleheader. It’s the Sea Warriors’ loss in the second game, however, that carried the biggest impact.
Hawai`i Pacific picked up a 10-1 victory in a nine-inning conference contest Friday at Wong Stadium. In the seven-inning nightcap, UH-Hilo held on to knock off the Sea Warriors by the score of 7-4.
Hawai`i Pacific, ranked seventh in the latest NCAA West Region rankings, could not afford to slip up in its hopes to play postseason baseball. The top six teams in each region earn berths to the NCAA West Regional tournanemt.
In game one, UH-Hilo struck first against Joshua Garcia, the Sea Warriors’ starting pitcher. Kyle Watase singled to center field with two out in the third inning, scoring Edison Sakata from third base. Jordan Murai tried to follow him home, but Jordan Oshiro threw him out from center field to end the inning with just one run coming across.
From the fourth inning on, Hawai`i Pacific’s bats took center stage, pounding out 10 consecutive runs against the Vulcans. Chad Bolibol’s fielder’s choice groundout with the bases loaded brought home Kevin Lenik, and a throwing error by second baseman Ryan Fukunaga to first base brought home Keanu Kapana, giving the Sea Warriors a 2-1 lead.
Hawai`i Pacific added to the lead in the fifth, chasing UH-Hilo starter Seamus Yoneshige from the game. Lenik singled Oshiro home to extend the lead by a run, and Derek Nakasato followed with a double to center field that scored Tyler Tokunaga to push the lead to 4-1.
The UH-Hilo bullpen struggled to keep the game close. Bryce Shandro replaced Sheldon Shishido in the sixth inning and could only record one out. Oshiro hit a bouncer through the left side of the diamond to score Ryan Torres-Torioka, and Lenik followed with a three-run home run to left center field to extend the Sea Warriors’ lead to 8-1.
The power display wasn’t over. Torres-Torioka, a freshman out of Konawaena High School, hit his first collegiate home run with a two-run blast over the left field fence to put his team up 10-1.
Garcia (4-1), meanwhile, kept UH-Hilo’s bats quiet the rest of the way. He threw over 130 pitches in the complete game victory, allowing five hits with eight strikeouts and five walks.
Yoneshige took the loss for UH-Hilo, falling to 0-6 on the season. He lasted just four innings, allowing four runs on six hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts.
Hawai`i Pacific 000 224 200 – 10 14 1
Hawai`i-Hilo 001 000 000 – 1 5 1
Game 2: Hawai`i-Hilo 7, Hawai`i Pacific 4
In Friday’s nightcap, it appeared early on that Hawai`i Pacific would pick up right where they left off after game one.
University of Hawai`i at Hilo starter Jordan Kurokawa struggled in the first inning. After allowing a single to Tyler Tokunaga, Kurokawa’s errant pickoff throw to first base allowed Tokunaga to get to third base. A wild pitch later brought him home to put the Sea Warriors up first.
UH-Hilo answered quickly, scoring two in the bottom of the first inning off of opposing starter Bryson Gauthe. Jordan Murai and Byron Freitas each reached to start the inning, and two batters later, Jonathan James hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring Murai home. Later, Keenan Nishioka, doubled through the legs of Keanu Kapana at first base, bringing Freitas in to give the Vulcans a 2-1 lead.
Freitas dropped a bunt down in the next inning, scoring Zachary Hamasaki to extend the lead to 3-1. HPU, however, had an answer, scoring three runs in the third against Kurokawa. Kapana singled in Tokunaga, who reached on a fielding error by Freitas at second base. Two batters later, Codey Ellenwood drove in Kevin Lenik with a single to right center field. Later in the inning, Chad Bolibol walked with the bases loaded, scoring Kapana to put Hawai`i Pacific ahead 4-3.
Sheldon Shishido (3-3) came on in relief and closed out the third inning by getting a pair of outs with the bases loaded. He also gave interim head coach Kallen Miyataki valuable innings, pitching through the sixth inning. He allowed three hits with a strikeout in three and two-thirds innings.
While Shishido shut down the Sea Warriors’ offense, UH-Hilo picked things up against the opposition’s bullpen. The Vulcans scored three more times in the fourth inning and once more in the sixth to take a 7-4 lead.
Michael Slifer came on in the seventh inning and allowed just a hit to get out of the game, securing his sixth same of the season.
Hawai`i Pacific 103 000 0 – 4 8 1
Hawai`i-Hilo 210 301 x – 7 9 4