Nishioka’s Walk-Off Single Caps DH Sweep for Vulcans
The University of Hawai`i at Hilo baseball program’s top offensive threat is a true freshman from Hilo High School, and the youngster continued his stellar freshman start with a game winning hit.
In game two of Monday’s doubleheader against Holy Names University, Keenan Nishioka’s ground ball past first baseman Jayse Bannister scored Brad Fairweather, giving UHH a 3-2 win over the Hawks. The Vulcans took game one 6-0.
With the game tied at two in the seventh and final inning, Fairweather led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double laced down the right field line. The next batter, Greg Cleary, moved him over to third base on a sacrifice bunt.
Relief pitcher Jimmy Doyle struck out John Abreu for the second out of the inning, but allowed the inning to continue after walking second baseman Keenan Kaluau, setting the state for Nishioka, who bounced a high chopper past substitute first baseman Bannister, a Hawai`i Preparatory Academy graduate, into right field to end the game.
On the season, Nishioka is hitting .393 with 10 runs batted in, leading the team in both categories. He hit 2-for-4 in game two with a run scored.
Nishioka’s winner may have only tied the game if not for a run-saving play to end the top of the seventh inning. UHH’s Patrick Fletcher, who pitched in relief of starter Richie Mariano, struggled in his second appearance of the day, allowing two runners to reach base before leaving the game after two-thirds of an inning.
Waiakea High School graduate Sheldon Shishido, who also pitched in game one, entered to face catcher Hunter Dodson. Shishido’s second pitch thrown was sent through the left side into left field. Ben Gamba, who was standing at second base, took the turn around third and was coming home, but Cleary’s throw from left field reached catcher Tyler Nitahara before Gamba reached home. Gamba charged in and used his two arms to create a collision at home plate, but Nitahara kept the ball in his glove to secure the final out of the inning, keeping the game tied.
Shishido took the win, improving to 1-1 on the season.
Holy Names scored first on Mariano when Zach Verlaan’s RBI single in the first inning scored Tyler Truitt. After a rocky first, the Vulcan closer, who started because of a short weekend of rest following the HPU series, loosened up, going six innings of two run, six hit baseball to pick up a no decision. He struck out six and walked one batter.
UHH tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when Austin Cusack reached on a throwing error by HNU third baseman Caleb Parker with two out, allowing Nishioka to score from third base. The Hawks took the lead back in the sixth when Mariano’s wild pitch scored Dusty Zeisler from third base.
In the bottom half of the sixth, the Vulcans got another run off of Max Eggleston, who was coming off of a complete game shutout against Azusa Pacific. Samuel Kim singled with two out in the inning and stole second moments later, setting up Austin Cusack’s RBI single to bring him home, evening the game at 2.
Eggleston was credited for the loss, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
Holy Names 100 001 0 – 2 8 2
Hawai`i Hilo 000 101 1 – 3 6 2
Game One: UHH 6, Holy Names 0
In the opening game, another freshman stepped up for UH Hilo in a key spot start.
Maryknoll High School graduate Jordan Kurokawa struck out struck out six batters and scattered five hits over seven shutout innings to help the Vulcans snap a six game losing streak with a 6-0 win over the Hawks.
Kurokawa retired the first ten batters he faced before allowing an infield single to Daniel Catalan. He didn’t let that faze him, however, as he immediately induced an inning-ending double play from Gamba to keep his team’s 3-0 lead intact after the top of the fourth inning.
He allowed a hit over each of the next three innings before giving way to Fletcher and Shishido, who each pitched an inning of work to finish the game.
UHH chased Holy Names starter Jesse Savage after just three innings of work. Savage allowed three runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts in his short outing.
In the first, the Vulcans got a pair of runners on with no one out thanks to Abreu’s leadoff single and Kaluau’s double to right field. The inning was in jeopardy, however, after Kaluau was picked off of second base and Nishioka struck out. But, after a Steffen Miner walk, Kim’s single to left field scored Abreu. Two batters later, Tyler Nitahara walked with the bases loaded to bring home the second run.
In the second inning, the Vulcans had a pair of runners in scoring position with one out in the inning before Nishioka towered a sacrifice fly out to right field, scoring Cleary to give the Vulcans a 3-0 lead.
UHH scored another run in the sixth off of reliever Mark Scannell, who pitched four-and-two-thirds innings out of the bullpen. Kaluau’s RBI base knock brought home Fairweather to extend the lead to 4-0.
UHH got two more runs in the eighth when John Abreu drove in Fairweather with an single, followed by another sacrifice fly, this time by Miner, scoring Cleary.
UH Hilo improved to 5-13 overall and 4-8 in the PacWest. Holy Names fell to 4-9 and 3-3 in conference. Both squads will complete their four game series with a doubleheader today at Wong Stadium.
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Hawai`i Hilo 210 001 02x – 6 12 1