The University of Hawaii at Hilo got clutch hits and solid pitching on Tuesday and split a baseball doubleheader with Azusa Pacific University.
In the opening game in Azusa, Calif., freshman Will Cleary drove in two runs and freshman Jordan Kurokawa pitched 7 2/3 strong innings as the Vulcans triumphed 4-1. The host Cougars rallied to win the second game 1-0 in nine innings.
“What a difference a day makes,” said UHH coach Joey Estrella, alluding to a lopsided sweep by APU on Monday. The scores were 14-2 and 8-1.
“We came out with more energy today and our pitching was good. We also had some opportunities, especially in the first game, and we took advantage of them. I feel good about the effort, but losing Game 2 in extra innings was tough.”
In Game 1, the Vulcans (7-23-1 overall, 6-17-1 PacWest) scored two runs in the third inning to break up a pitchers’ duel, then added solo runs in the seventh and eighth innings to pull away. Cleary, a second baseman from Pocatello, Idaho, had two hits and drove in a run in the third and seventh innings.
UHH also got two hits from Tyler Nitahara, Austin Cusack and Brad Fairweather. Left fielder Zachery Hamasaki drove in a run. Brendan Casey and Tyler Putjenter each had two hits for the Cougars.
The Vulcans rode Kurokawa’s strong arm and then 1 1/3 innings of steady relief from Sheldon Shishido to contain the Cougars (8-18, 6-10). Kurokawa, a right-hander from Maryknoll High School on Oahu, allowed seven hits and one run to earn the win. Kurokawa (2-2) struck out five and walked one.
Shishido took over with two outs in the eighth and finished. He didn’t allow a hit or run.
“Jordan pitched well, but everybody pitched well today,” Estrella said.
APU starter Jason Plowman (2-4) hurled 7 2/3 innings and took the loss. He gave up 10 hits and four runs.
In Game 2, Joel Belk (6 innings) and Hunter Brown (3 innings) combined on a shutout to lift the Cougars to a 1-0 win. APU’s Richie Brown hit a solo walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the hosts.
Belk gave up four hits and didn’t allow a run in his six innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
Brown (1-2) gave up three hits and no runs. He struck out two and walked one while picking up the win.
UHH’s Jeremy Dela Cruz, a sophomore from Honolulu, started and pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits to go along with four strikeouts and three walks.
Shishido (2-2) came in the bottom of the eighth to get an out, then faced Brown in the ninth before giving up the walk-off homer.
Nitahara and Fairweather each had two hits to lead UHH’s seven-hit attack. No one paired hits for the Cougars, who had five hits in the contest.
“We’re confident going forward,” Estrella said. “We’ve got a lot of games left to play. We’ve also got a few injuries to overcome but we want to finish strong.”
The Vulcans play Dixie State College at 11 a.m. today in Riverside, Calif. The teams will complete a rain-delayed game from Hilo earlier this month, then play a seven-inning contest to finish the day.
UHH wraps up its California road trip with noon doubleheaders at Cal Baptist on Friday and Saturday in Riverside, Calif.
At Azusa, Calif.
UHH 002 000 110 — 4 11 1
APU 000 000 010 — 1 7 2
UHH 000 000 000 — 0 7 1
APU 000 000 001 — 1 5 0
The good news is that UH-Hilo improved its play by 12 shots from Day 1, but the bad news is the Lady Vulcans are playing in a strong Division I-laden field at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic on Maui.
The Vulcans carded a 309 on Tuesday and were at 630 overall, in last place at the women’s collegiate tournament at The Bay Course at Kapalua.
Heading into the final round today, Washington leads the team scoring with a 3-under-par 573, followed by UCLA (578), Pepperdine (581) and Arizona State (582), and Denver (591).
Jade Salvador led the Vulcans on Tuesday, shooting a team-best 73 and was at 151 (tie 42nd).
UH-Hilo’s Kristen Sawada (80-78) was tied for 79th at 158. Teammates Kacie Harada (75-88) and Erika Morihiro (88-75) were tied for 89th at 163, while Nyssa Aoki (88-83) was in 95th place at 171.
Vulcan Shannon Abarra (82-82) is playing as an unattached individual and was tied for 91st at 164.
The University of Hawaii finished two shots ahead of the Vulcans.
UH-Hilo finished sixth at the The Tukwet Canyon Men’s Intercollegiate on Tuesday in Beaumount, Calif.
The tournament was hosted by Cal Baptist and played on the Tukwet Canyon Champions Course.
The Vulcans fired a 318 in the final round to drop to sixth in the team scoring.
Western Washington captured the team championship with an 862 total. Chico State finished second at 866 and Cal State Monterey Bay (883), Northwest Nazarene (898) and Point Loma Nazarene (901) rounded out the top five.
Dalen Yamauchi (79-72-75) was the top Vulcans finisher with a 226 total (T-22nd). Jamie Hall (72-74-81) shot 227 and finished 24th; Corey Kozuma (76-69-85) carded a 230 for 27th.
Kyeton Littel (78-70-85) fired a 233 and tied for 31st while Chris Shimomura (80-77-77) had a 234 and tied for 33rd.