It took four starts, but Onan Masaoka finally owns a Pacific Association victory. And with it, the Hawaii Stars have the makings of their first hot stretch of the season.
Dane Sardhina hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning Friday night to lift Masaoka and the Stars to an 8-5 win against Na Koa Ikaika Maui in Wailuku, Maui.
Katsuaki Furuki continued his tear at Iron Maehara Stadium by going 3 for 4 with four runs scored for Hawaii (5-11), which won for the third time in four games in the series.
Masaoka (1-3), a former major league pitcher, survived back-to-back home runs by Jose Sanchez and Ray Serrano in the first inning and Jeremy Williams’ two-run blast in the fifth. The Waiakea High graduate left after six innings, his longest outing of the season, but with Hawaii trailing.
Maui reliever Zach Foster (1-1) opened the seventh by hitting the first batter he faced, Glenn Walker, and Hawaii loaded the bases on singles by Furuki and Marshall McDonald. Walker tied the game 5-5 on Foster’s passed ball and Sardhina greeted Byron Minnich with his fourth extra-base hit in the past two games to the put the Stars ahead by two runs.
Masaoka allowed five runs on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts, and Brian Escanio struck out a batter in a scoreless ninth for his second save. In between, Mike Jackson provided two scoreless innings of relief.
Maui’s three home runs were offset by six costly errors. Starter Justin Smith committed two on a play in the first inning, allowing a pair of Hawaii runners to score with the bags full.
Furuki reached base in all five plate appearances, including in the fifth when he led off with a triple and scored on an error to put Hawaii ahead 4-3. Coming off of a five-RBI night Thursday, he’s 7 for 15 in the series and has scored nine runs.
Dustin Smith was 2 for 5 with two runs scored. In the second, he manufactured a run for Hawaii by stealing two bases after a single and coming home on an error. Tyler Krobetzky brought in an insurance with a double in the ninth.
Sanchez drove in two runs for Maui (11-5), hitting a sacrifice fly in the third to tie the game after Waylen Sing Chow walked and stole two bases. Serrano, Williams and DJ Dixon collected two hits apiece.
Smith struck out eight in six innings, yielding four runs (two earned) and two walks.
Hawaii 210 010 301 — 8 9 1
Maui 201 020 000 —5 10 6