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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, February 13, 2005

Rainbows earn split with Crimson Tide

 •  Game statistics

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's relief was as different as day and night in splitting a doubleheader with Alabama, dropping the first game, 9-5, and winning the nightcap, 3-2, yesterday.

Hawai'i's Joe Spiers is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run in the fourth inning of the first game, which Hawai'i lost, 9-5.

Photos by Eugene Tanner • Honolulu Advertiser

A Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 2,121 watched the Rainbows (2-1) clinch at least a tie in the series, which concludes at 1:05 p.m. today. The doubleheader was necessitated because of a rainout Friday night.

Colby Summer (1-0), who transferred from Mount Hood College in Oregon before the 2003 season, pitched six innings in his UH debut after watching the last two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2003. He allowed two runs on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

But it was Rich Olsen who sealed the win with three perfect innings, striking out five, for the save. He came in after the Rainbows got two-out, back-to-back doubles by Isaac Omura and Luis Avila in the bottom of the sixth to snap a 2-all game against Alabama starter Brent Carter (0-1).

The victory came after the Rainbows blew leads of 3-0 and 5-3 in the opener, when the Crimson Tide (1-2) scored six in the top of the ninth, five against closer Darrell Fisherbaugh (0-1), who lasted two-thirds of an inning.

"More than anything, I'm very, very proud of our guys in the way they were able to show some maturity and poise in that second game because that was an awful, gut-wrenching loss to suffer," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "But these kids believed in themselves and Colby picked us up out of the gate. When all the momentum's on the other team's side, you've got to have somebody go out on the mound and take control of the game."

Hawai'i's Greg Kish is in disbelief after being called out on strikes in the first game, with Alabama's Kody Valverde at left.
Summer needed a strong outing because the Rainbows weren't exactly solving Carter, who went seven innings, allowing three runs — one earned — with 10 strikeouts.

"It was a little extra pressure," Summer said of having to come out strong after the loss in the first game. "But it was well worth it for me."

Summer said he had the most success with his changeup among the 80 pitches he threw. He got 13 outs from grounders, which included two double plays.

"My fastball, I didn't have a lot on it, but I wouldn't try to blow it by anybody yet this early in the season," Summer said.

Olsen, meanwhile, simply denied the Crimson Tide of any thought of another comeback. He threw 30 pitches, 26 for strikes, netting three ground outs and five strikeouts.

"Everything was working tonight," Olsen said of his pitches. "I just had to come in and hit my spots. I felt I could do the job."

Alabama took a 1-0 lead in the third on a two-out, RBI double by Allen Rice.

But the Rainbows stole the lead in the fourth. Matt Inouye led off by being hit by a pitch and Rocky Russo reached safely on a grounder to second when the throw pulled first baseman Zac Welch off the bag for an error. After Omura struck out, the Rainbows put on a double steal on an 0-2 pitch to Avila. Freshman catcher Chris Kirkland's throw to third sailed into left, allowing Inouye to score from third. When left fielder Matt Grooms fumbled the ball, Russo scored to make it 2-1. The three errors in the inning was among five committed by Alabama.

New UH third base coach Travis Janssen said two factors led to the double steal: The catcher was a freshman and the weather (it drizzled most of the day).

"We had to put on the pressure," Janssen said. "Carter was pitching really well."

But Alabama tied the game in the sixth on a double by Evan Bush and a one-out triple by Morrow Thomley.

The Rainbows took the lead back on the back-to-back doubles by Omura and Avila in the bottom of the sixth.

But the opener was a collapse for the Rainbows, who took a 3-0 lead after four innings for starter Stephen Bryant with single runs in the first, second and fourth innings. Bryant was strong the first four innings, but was tagged for three runs in the fifth. He left with a 3-2 lead, having gone 4 innings and allowing three hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Steven Wright came in and allowed a wild pitch to tie the game at 3. But Wright settled, allowing a run in 3 innings with five strikeouts.

UH got a run back in the fifth on an RBI single by Avila and another in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Greg Kish.

Wright started the ninth by giving up a pinch-hit double to Grooms, the first of 11 hitters to bat in the inning. Fisherbaugh was summoned and gave up a triple to Welch to pull Alabama to 5-4. After a walk to Michael McCallister, the Crimson Tide tied the game when Thomley grounded into a force at second. Spencer Pennington, Alabama's starting quarterback in football, hit a pinch-hit single to put runners at first and second. He was lifted for pinch runner Rocky Scelfo. Fisherbaugh struck out Emeel Salem, but walked Allen Rice to load the bases. A fielding error by third baseman Schafer Magana scored the go-ahead run and was followed by a two-run single by Bush to make it 8-5. Olsen came in to face Grooms, who singled in a run that made it 9-5.

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

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