Online Extra: Falling Stars as Hawaii struggles in relief
It’s always helpful if relief pitchers have short-term memories, because there’s nothing worse than having a shadow of misfortune lurking around after blowing a save and then losing the game.
That’s what happened to Hawaii Stars reliever Brian Escanio in a 7-5 extra-inning loss to Na Koa Ikaika Maui in a Pacific Association game Tuesday night at Wong Stadium.
Escanio entered the ninth inning with a 5-4 lead and ran a 1-1 count on Ray Serrano, who on the following pitch promptly clubbed a solo homer.
With the save blown, the game went to the 10th when Escanio got two quick outs and then ran a 2-2 count on Brandon Gregorich. On the next pitch, he beaned the Maui outfielder.
Guess who was next?
That’s right: Serrano.
The Maui catcher worked a nice 2-1 hitter’s count and deposited the next pitch for a two-run homer and a 7-5 lead.
Escanio was on the hook for the loss, unless the Stars could rally in the bottom of the 10th.
Things started pretty good. Taylor Oldham reached on an error. Reece Alnas singled, chasing former Hawaii stars reliever Josh Larson for Byron Minnich.
He got Glenn Walker to fly out. And in a game where misfortune kept falling on the Stars, Minnich induced Dustin Smith to hit into a game-ending double play.
Minnich earned the one-inning save, Larson recorded a two-inning win and Escanio, who was tagged for three runs in two innings, got stuck with the loss.
Serrano cleaned up at the plate. He went 2 for 6 with two homers and three RBIs. Waylen Sing Chow batted 2 for 5 with a two-run homer and two RBIs, adding to Na Koa Ikaika’s 13-hit parade.
Sing Chow’s two-run homer came in the seventh off starting pitcher Ronnie Loeffler, who went six inning and allowed four runs (one unearned) on seven hits and one walk, and struck out one.
Dane Sardinha went 1 of 5 with two RBIs to lead Hawaii (2-5), which finished with seven hits, all singles.
Hawaii left-hander Dallas Mahan is expected to start against Maui (5-2) today in the second game of a six-game set.
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