Offense Sparks Grand Canyon to Doubleheader Diamond Sweep
After splitting the first two games of their PacWest series with Hawaii-Hilo, the Grand Canyon Antelopes swung the bats early and often to dominate the final doubleheader of the series, defeating the Vulcans 10-5 in game one, and 16-4 in game two.
The Antelopes didn’t take very long to get started offensively, scoring two runs in the first inning off of Vulcan hurler Seamus Yoneshige. Left fielder Derek Mendoza smacked a single to center field, driving in Tagg Duce and Michael Pomeroy. But, the Vulcans fired back in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs off of opposing starter Justin Lindsey. Steven Riddle drove in Keenan Kaluau on a ground ball out. Three batters later, outfielder Greg Cleary drove in two on a single.
Grand Canyon evened the game in the third when third baseman Jackie Samora hit a single past his counterpart at third to score Duce. Once again, UHH countered with a run of their own to take the lead. Brad Fairweather’s base hit scored Johnathan James to give the Vulcans 4-3 lead.
In the fifth, the Antelopes leveled the game again when Lucas Leifeld hit a sacrifice fly, once again scoring Duce. Then in the seventh, the Antelopes struck paydirt with a four run inning, breaking open the game. Mendoza’s RBI single with no one out gave them a 5-4 lead. Jordan Kumasaka came into the game to relieve Garret Kinoshita, and promptly allowed a base hit, followed by a Samora fielder’s choice driving in a run. Then, designated hitter Charles Wagner, who pinch hit into the game in the sixth inning, delivered a two run triple to bring home two more runs, giving Grand Canyon an 8-4 lead.
The Antelopes added on in the eighth when Samora drove in his third run of the game on a single past scoring Mendoza, Then, Leifeld scored on a throwing error by Kumasaka on a pickoff attempt gone wrong, making the score 10-4.
The Vulcans tried to claw back in the eighth inning, scoring a run on Austin Cusack’s base hit that brought in Fairweather. Grand Canyon shut them down the rest of the way, and the Antelopes took game one.
Game two started much like the first game, as Grand Canyon scored two runs in the top of the first again. Mendoza’s bat continued to stay hot, driving in Joey Bristyan on an RBI double, followed by a Wagner sacrifice fly. The Antelopes got another run off of second game starter Tyler Simao when Bristyan doubled down the right field line to score Aaron Mees, making it 3-0.
Simao continued to face trouble in the fourth inning. With two outs in the inning, Bristyan bunted his way on. After a fielding error advanced him to second, Pomeroy doubled him and Duce in, making it 5-0.
After the Vulcans got a run in the bottom of the inning, Grand Canyon kept up the attack. Garcia brought Wagner in on a sacrifice fly. Samora scored on a wild pitch from Tyler Simao, which would help to usher him out of the game after four and a third innings, Grand Canyon led 7-1 t the time, and after the bottom of the inning, when Joshua Wong hit a sacrifice fly, 7-2 through five innings.
It all fell apart after that. Grand Canyon scored seven runs in the top half of the sixth inning, aided by 3 UHH errors to open up a 14-2 lead. They would add 2 more in the seventh after a bases-loaded walk to Aaron Mees and a Duce sacrifice fly RBI. The Vulcans got two more in the bottom half of the seventh, but that’s all they could come up with in the loss.
The Vulcans will host St. Cloud State in a five game series beginning on Monday at Wong Stadium. Monday and Tuesday are doubleheader days beginning at 4 p.m., with a single nine-inning game on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Grand Canyon 10 17 2
Hawaii-Hilo 5 8 2
WP – Justin Lindsey (4-1), LP – Gaven Kinoshita (1-1), S – Austin Buelow (1)
Grand Canyon 16 13 1
Hawaii-Hilo 4 7 4
WP – Coltin White (1-0), LP – Tyler Simao (0-3).