Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, May 9, 2004

Bases-loaded walk in 9th lifts UH over Rice

 •  Game statistics & WAC standings

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff

WAC baseball

WHO: Rice vs. Hawai'i • WHERE: Les Murakami Stadium

WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: Live on K5/1420-AM


With the largest crowd of the season cheering wildly, Josh Green drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk to score Andrew Castillo in the bottom of the ninth and lift Hawai'i to a stunning 6-5 win over third-ranked Rice in Western Athletic Conference action last night.

"It was amazing," Green said. "I couldn't hear myself think. I was numb up there. The fan support was awesome."

In the bottom of the ninth, Isaac Omura and Greg Kish walked to start the inning. Schafer Magana reached on a sacrifice and throwing error by catcher Adam Rodgers to load the bases. But Nate Thurber popped out to shallow left on the first pitch. Green then ran a full count before drawing ball four.

"It feels great," Omura said of winning the series. "This shows that we can play with them."

The game was declared a sellout at 4,518, which included 206 standing room tickets sold. The Les Murakami Stadium turnstile count was a season-high 3,469. Nearly all of them stood when Green reached a 3-2 count against Rice reliever Adam Hale (1-2), who started the game as the designated hitter. He started the ninth for starter Wade Townsend, who was tagged for five runs on nine hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.

"I knew he was having control issues," Green said. "I knew I was taking until he threw a strike. I knew if I worked the count, I would have a good opportunity to bring A.C. (Castillo) from third."

Guy McDowell (3-1), who got a save in Friday's opener, pitched 12/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Rainbows (12-8 WAC, 29-16 overall), who snapped Rice's WAC series win streak of 27 dating to 2001. That season also was the last time the Rainbows clinched a series against Rice (16-3, 34-9 overall). It also is the first time UH has won three in a row against Rice (It beat the Owls in the series finale at Houston in March). The win pulled UH to within 4 1/2 games of the defending WAC and national champion Owls and a game ahead of third-place Nevada.

It was a see-saw affair from the start. But all UH could remember was how the crowd got into the game, cheering every call that went UH's way, booing those that did not.

"Incredible games with incredible crowds the last two nights," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "I don't think you can say enough about our fans and what they meant to our kids because we were all fairly discouraged, finding out after the game that Creighton's (catcher Creighton Kahoali'i) out for the year. They think he's torn the ligament in his knee."

"Anytime you have a big crowd like this, it really helps," UH catcher Matt Inouye said. "We feed off the energy."

The Rainbows certainly did.

After escaping a near-disastrous first inning when left field Nate Thurber collided into shortstop Brian Finegan, jarring the ball loose to allow Austin Davis to reach second on the error, the Rainbows went after Townsend in the bottom of the first. Finegan led off by driving a 1-0 pitch for a home run and a 1-0 lead.

Townsend retired the next nine in a row, striking out seven in that span, to give his batters time to score three in the top of the third against UH starter Stephen Bryant. With Clay Reichenbach and Chris Kolkhorst at first and second following successive singles, a wild pitch on a swinging third strike to Lance Pendleton moved runners into scoring position. Davis' RBI ground out tied the game at 1; had the runners been at first and second, the grounder might have been an inning-ending double play with no run scored. But before Paul Janish walked, Chris Kolkhorst scored on a wild pitch. After Janish stole second, he scored on Adam Rodgers' single to make it 3-1.

But the Rainbows got to Townsend in a three-run fourth. Andrew Sansaver led off with a single and Inouye drilled a 2-0 offering to left-center for his third home run of the season to tie the game at 3. Jaziel Mendoza doubled to right and one out later took third on Greg Kish's single to left. Mendoza scored when Schafer Magana grounded out to first to put UH ahead 4-3.

But the Owls tied it in the fifth after stringing an infield single, walk and RBI single by Rodgers with two outs.

The Rainbows regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth on consecutive two-out singles by Sansaver, who took second on a wild pitch, and Inouye, whose third RBI of the game put UH ahead 5-4. But the Owls tied it at 5 in the eighth.

The Rainbows will try for their first WAC series sweep at 1:05 p.m. today. Clary Carlsen (6-5), who beat Rice in Houston, will start for UH against Josh Baker (6-2).

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser. com or 525-8042.

• • •