Power, Pitching Push Red Storm to DH Sweep of UHH Baseball
One game featured lots of offense and a rare Wong Stadium home run. Another game featured quality pitching and extra baseball.
The results were still the same. Dixie State College of Utah swept the University of Hawaii at Hilo in the opening games of a four-game series on Sunday. The Red Storm blew by UHH 15-0 in game one and needed an extra inning to beat the Vulcans 2-1 in the nightcap.
The opening contest featured newly-minted number two starter Jordan Kurokawa for the Vulcans, who won the job after a strong start last Monday in a win against Holy Names. After dancing through the first three innings, the redshirt freshman failed to exit the fourth as six innings crossed the plate.
With the bases loaded and one out in the inning, Red Storm designated hitter Kris Kaplan hit a weak ground ball over the middle of the diamond. Jordan Hanley scored easily, but the Vulcans failed to record an out as John Abreu’s flip throw to second baseman Keenan Kaluau was dropped, keeping the bases loaded.
After Colton Yack struck out looking for the second out, five more runs crossed the plate. Waipahu native D.J. Andrade knocked in two with a base hit, Kaplan scored on Garrett Nash’s RBI single, Andrade scored on Yuko Kata’s RBI single, and Hanley singled for the second time in the inning to score Nash. Dixie State took a 6-0 lead to the bottom of the inning.
Kurokawa was chased after three-and-two-thirds innings. None of the six runs he gave up were earned, but he did allow nine hits with four strikeouts and a walk, taking the loss.
That lead held until the eighth inning when reliever Bryce Shandro ran out of gas, allowing the Red Storm to put the game away. He loaded the bases to start the frame before allowing Kline to reach on a single, scoring Kata. Shandro was chased after three-and-a-third innings of relief, allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and two hit batters.
Micah Nakasone entered the game and didn’t fare much better. He immediately gave up a double to Mitch Manning, scoring Cedric Johnson and Hanley to score to make the score 9-0. Two batters later, Yack grounded out to second base, scoring Kline from third base. The next batter, Andrade, reached on a throwing error by Garrett Micheels, scoring Manning to extend the lead to 11-0 after the visitors half of the eighth inning.
Nakasone was still up in the ninth inning when he loaded the bases for Manning, who crushed a towering drive over the right field fence. His grand-slam home run gave the Red Storm the 15-0 advantage they would hold for the final.
Mike Dedrick started and pitched six shutout innings for his third win of the season. He allowed only five hits with six strikeouts and a walk. Josh Mooney, Kimball Nelson, and Matt Hill eached pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Abreu and Samuel Kim each paired hits for UH Hilo. Hanley and Johnson each picked up three hits for Dixie State. Kline, Manning, and Yack each accumulated two hits, with Manning driving in five runs.
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Game two: Dixie State def. UH Hilo 2-1 (8 innings)
Ty Johnson’s base hit in the top half of the eighth inning broke a 1-1 tie in extra innings and gave Dixie State a 2-1 win to cap a doubleheader sweep of the Vulcans in the scheduled seven inning contest.
Johnson’s hit came off of Sheldon Shishido, who took the loss. The Waiakea High School product gave up the ground ball, which Johnson pushed by second baseman Ryan Fukunaga and into right field. Nash scored on the play.
Dixie State took an early lead when Ryan Westcott doubled to deep left center field in the top of the third inning, scoring Yack. Westcott was later out on a play at home at the end of the inning. Dixie State took an early 1-0 lead off of UHH starter Gavin Kinoshita.
The right-hander did settle down, however, taking a no-decision after pitching five innings, picking up five strikeouts, walking four batters, and allowing three hits.
UHH tied the game in the bottom half of the fifth inning against lefty starter Sam Friend, who loaded the bases with no one out. Designated hitter Steffen Miner grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, scoring Greg Cleary.
Each team stranded runners on base in the seventh inning, but couldn’t bring them home, promting extra baseball.
Kody Christoffersen picked up his first win of the season for Dixie State. The relief pitcher worked the game’s final four innings, allowing three hits and striking out four.
Westcott and Kline were the only players in the game to pair hits for Dixie State.
Both teams will continue their four game series at Wong Stadium Tuesday beginning at 4:00 p.m. The doubleheader can be heard on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com.
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