PLNU Offense Denies Vulcans of Baseball Sweep
Point Loma Nazarene head coach Joe Schaefer said that his team needed to adjust to its surroundings and try to hit the ball low and on the ground.
It took three games for the Sea Lions to make the adjustment to the “dead ball” air at Wong Stadium. On Wednesday, the bats came alive.
Point Loma scattered 14 hits in an 8-4 victory over the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, salvaging the final game of the four game series. UH-Hilo won the first three games to win the series.
The theme of Wednesday’s game remained the same through the first three innings. Opportunities were limited and the game remained scoreless as UH-Hilo starter Jordyn Ah Chong and Point Loma starter Garrett Levsen settled in early.
Point Loma (12-9 overall, 5-3 PacWest) opened the scoring with a two-run fourth inning, its first multi-run inning in the series. Ryan Garcia and Tyler Nordgren each started the inning with base hits. AJ Derr followed with a ground ball out to drive home Garcia, and two batters later, Matt Jervis drove Nordgren in with a two-out single.
The Sea Lions broke it open in the sixth inning. Nordgren and Mike Marcoux reached base with one out in the inning, prompting UH-Hilo coach Kallen Miyataki to call on Sheldon Shishido to come out of the bullpen.
Shishido was able to get key inning-ending outs in two prior appearances during the series, but he wasn’t able to do it Wednesday. Jervis immediately singled to score Nordgren, putting Point Loma up 3-0. After a wild pitch moved Marcoux and Jervis into scoring position, Punahou graduate Tyler Hanzawa delivered with a two-run single, knocking them both home to open up the lead to 5-0.
Jordan Kumasaka was the next man to face the wrath of Point Loma’s hot bats. Preston Sands singled to start the inning, then followed it up by stealing second and reaching third on a balk. Two batters later, Nordgren brought him home for his seventeenth run batted in of the season, opening the lead to 6-0. Two more singles loaded the bases and ended the morning for Kumasaka, who was replaced by Chris Hubocan.
Hubocan allowed a run to cross when Nordgren scored on a fielder’s choice, a line drive that was dropped by Jordan Murai in the outfield but resulted in a force out at second base, extending the lead to 7-0.
With a large lead, Point Loma turned to its bullpen and called on Noah Huggins in the eighth inning. The right-handed hurler was shaky to start. He hit BJ Freitas with a pitch to open the inning and followed it up by allowing a single to Kyle Watase. Senior Austin Cusack followed with a single to right field, bringing home Freitas to put the Vulcans on the board, down 7-1.
After walking Jordan Murai to load the bases, Korin Medeiors hit a sharp ground ball to Nordgren at third base, who struggled to field it before throwing the hitter out at first base. Watase, however, scored to make the score 7-2. Keenan Nishioka was next up to join the rally, smacking a two-run single to left-center field to cut the Sea Lions’ lead to 7-4.
Anthony Torres stepped in from the bullpen to try to close the door on the Vulcans’ comeback. Torres, who was the catcher in Tuesday’s seven-inning contest, allowed a walk, but got the final two outs to leave his team’s lead at three runs heading into the ninth inning.
After getting an insurance run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly from Kyle Desimone, Point Loma summoned Brett Carlile to the mound for the ninth inning. The senior recorded all three outs in order to send Point Loma off to Honolulu with its first Hawai`i victory.
Levsen pitched a consistent seven innings, allowing eight hits while striking out two to pick up his third win of the season. His record now stands at 3-1.
Nordgren smacked a trio of singles and hit 3-for-5 on the day. Marcoux, Jervis, Hanzawa, and Clinton Harwick each recorded two hits.
Ah Chong fell to 0-2 with the loss. He worked five and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk.
Watase and Harrison Guiol each picked up three hits for UH-Hilo. Cusack added a pair of hits in his third start of the season.
UH-Hilo will host Cal Baptist for a four game series beginning Friday at Wong Stadium. First pitch for Friday’s doubleheader is slated for 4:00 p.m. A second doubleheader will be played at the same time Saturday.
Point Loma, meanwhile, squares off with Hawai`i Pacific for a four game conference series, also beginning Friday.
Point Loma Nazarene – 000 203 201 – 8 14 0
Hawai`i Hilo – 000 000 040 – 4 11 3