HPU sweeps Vuls again
By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
It's been repeated so often that good pitching beats good hitting, and that lesson was reinforced with the University of Hawaii at Hilo baseball team's doubleheader loss to Hawaii Pacific on Friday.
The Sea Warriors dropped the Vulcans 7-0 and 4-2 in a pair of non-conference games at Wong Stadium, extending UHH's losing skid to six games and sweeping the four-game series.
The Vuls (3-11, 2-8 PacWest) next host Holy Names (4-7, 3-1) in a four-game series, starting Monday with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. at Wong Stadium.
In Game 2, UHH couldn't come up a clutch hit.
Keenan Nishioka hit a two-run single to cut HPU's lead to 3-2 in the fourth, when UHH later left the bases loaded. An inning later, the Vulcans stranded the bases loaded again.
Jeremy Fujimoto pitched one scoreless inning to pick up the win for the Sea Warriors (11-3). Matthew Minnich struck out three in 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the save. Jordan Oshiro sparked the offense with a 2 for 3 performance at the plate.
Gavin Kinoshita took the loss. He allowed three runs in four innings. Patrick Fletcher, who pitched three scoreless innings in a 2-0 loss on Friday, showed a rubber arm, firing three scoreless innings, again, with two strikeouts.
Nishioka batted 1 for 3 with two RBIs for the Vulcans, who drew five walks and had five hits.
In Game 1, Tre' Haliburton-Goeas and Matthew Minnich combined on a two-hitter in the 7-0 win, which stretched UHH's scoreless streak to 21 innings. That ended at 24 innings when the Vulcans scored two runs in the fourth in the Game 2 loss.
Haliburton-Goeas pitched eight shutout innings, allowed two hits and one walk and struck out nine. Minnich struck out the side in the ninth.
Jeremy Dela Cruz labored in the first, throwing 29 pitches and giving up two runs. Then he threw five scoreless innings, before allowing a run in the seventh. He gave up three runs, one unearned on five hits and three walks, and struck out two.
Oshiro continued to feast on UHH pitching and batted 2 for 4 with two RBIs to lead HPU, which added four insurance runs in the ninth.
"Goeas pitched really well," UHH coach Joey Estrella said. "He kept us off-balanced and had good command of his fastball and changeup. He shut down our guys."
Estrella said the key to turning the good pitching beats good hitting theory upside down is pitch selection, swinging at good pitches.
"It's hard. Think of it this way for hitting, if you go to bat 10 times and fail seven times, you're considered good," Estrella said.
The two Sea Warriors weren't exactly helpful either. They didn't make mistakes and had dominant stuff. They combined for 12 strikeouts and gave up one walk.
"You have to give credit where credit is due," Estrella said. "They threw good pitches against us, but we still battled as much as we could."
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