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Vulcan Offense Silent in Loss to St. Cloud State

March 8, 2012, 8:43 AM HST
* Updated March 8, 11:42 AM
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A pitcher’s duel turned into a blowout late, with the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s offense failing to make a dent in the outcome of the game, as the Vulcans lost to fourth-ranked St. Cloud State 7-0 in front of a minimal crowd at Wong Stadium.

The term “pitcher’s duel” would surprise you if you watched the first inning. UHH starter Tyler Simao, who has struggled throughout his first three starts, spotted the visitors a run in the top half of the inning. After a lead off single from Phil Imholte, Joey Benke knocked him home two batters later. Simao got out of the inning with a timely double-play, but still allowed a run on three hits and a walk in the inning.

In the bottom half of the inning, Garrett Anderson, making his first start of the season, worked into deep counts in his first two at-bats. After inducing a ground out on the seventh pitch to leadoff man Jordan Murai, he walked Larry Valdes on six pitches. Like the top half of the inning, a timely 6-3 double play ended the inning, with the 1-0 score intact.

Simao settled in after the rough first inning. He scattered five more hits over the rest of his day, while striking out two over seven and a third innings of strong work. His day finished as he ran into trouble in the seventh inning. After allowing a pair of singles to start the inning, a throwing error by shortstopn Keenan Kaluau allowed Eric Loxtercamp to score to make it 2-0. Brian Hansen’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Joey Benke immediately after that. Simao left, and Micah Nakasone entered the game to try to finish the inning. After allowing another sacrifice fly RBI from Travis Enger, Nakasone struckout Travis Cariview to end the inning.

On the other side, Anderson settled down and got into a great groove. He settled down seven in a row until a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, then later walked another man in the top of the fifth. He had set down eight in a row with two outs in the seventh inning, and was also carrying a no-hitter, until Jeremy Kaaukai hit a soft liner into center field to get the Vulcans in the hit column. Tyson Goo followed with a single, but a soft fly ball to left field by Brad Fairweather ended the inning with no runs crossing. Those would be the only two hits that the Vulcans would get all day.

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Patrick Fletcher pitched the ninth for the Vulcans, and immediately pitched into a jam. Garrett Fischer led off with a single, and Fletcher followed that by walking pinch-hitter Joe Peters. The next batter, Imholte, knocked a single to drive in Fischer. The very next batter, pinch hitter Joey Althoff, hit a two-run single to right center to drove home pinch-runner Parker Moorman and Imholte to make it 7-0.

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The Huskies (14-1) look to improve on their national ranking when they face Hawaii Pacific University beginning Friday. Meanwhile, UH Hilo’s losing streak builds to eight games after the loss. The Vulcans (4-13) will host Cal Baptist beginning Monday in a PacWest conference series at Wong Stadium.

St. Cloud State – 7 11 0

Hawaii-Hilo – 0 2 2

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WP – Garrett Anderson (1-0), LP – Tyler Simao (0-4)

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