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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 1, 2006

Spartans outlast Hawai'i in 12 innings

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's Matt Inouye gets ready to high-five his teammates in the second inning.

ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawai'i starting pitcher Steven Wright lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits while striking out six.

ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Nick Epidendio's one-out RBI double in the top of the 12th ignited a two-run inning to lead San Jose State over Hawai'i, 7-5, last night before 652 in Western Athletic Conference baseball.

Steve Jones (2-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, giving up two hits with two strikeouts for the Spartans (22-9 overall, 3-1 WAC).

Darrell Fisherbaugh (2-2) suffered his second loss, both WAC games, giving up two runs in 1 2/3 innings for the Rainbows (22-9, 0-3), who are still searching for their first conference win.

It was the third extra-inning game of the season for UH, which is 1-2 in such contests.

In the top of the 12th, John Shaffer led off with a single against Fisherbaugh. Mililani graduate Chris Balatico's sacrifice advanced Shaffer to second, where he scored on Epidendio's double to right-center to chase Fisherbaugh. Tyler Davis came in but Raul Campos' flare single to right scored Epidendio to make it 7-5.

The Rainbows' comeback attempt was thwarted in the bottom half despite getting the tying runner on base. Esteban Lopez and Derek DuPree each singled off Jones to start the inning. But Eli Christensen, whose two-run single tied the game in the seventh, failed to sacrifice, bunting foul with two strikes for a strikeout. Joe Spiers also struck out and Robbie Wilder flied out to center to end the game.

Hawai'i's Steven Wright had by far his shortest stint as a starter this season, lasting 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs, seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

San Jose State's Branden Dewing also gave up five runs, but went 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five walks with one strikeout.

Rich Olsen and Matt Daly combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings to settle the game for UH.

The Rainbows struck first in the second inning. Matt Inouye led off with a walk, took second on Lopez's sacrifice, advanced to third when Jorge Franco grounded out to second and scored on Christensen's double to right to put UH ahead, 1-0.

The Spartans scored three times in the third. Campos opened with a single to left before Wright struck out the next two batters. But David Pierson flared a single to center and the Spartans took the lead on Sam Hall's two-run triple to right-center. Hall scored on Brian Chase's single to right to make it 3-1.

The Spartans chased Wright in the fifth. Ryan Angel doubled to left and took third when Pierson grounded out to first. After Hall was hit by a pitch, Chase drilled a triple to center to make it 5-1 and end Wright's night. Olsen came in to face Shaffer, who grounded out to short with the infield in, which kept Chase anchored at third. Olsen then got Balatico to ground out to short to end the inning.

Hawai'i got to Dewing in the seventh, when it tied the game by sending nine batters to the plate in the four-run inning. Wilder was hit on a 2-0 pitch and Jon Hee's single to right sent him to second. Justin Frash's RBI single to left moved Hee to second. Luis Avila's flyout to right moved Wilder to third, where he scored on Inouye's sacrifice fly to right that also moved Frash to second. Lopez walked, ending Dewing's night for Matt Winck, who walked Franco to load the bases.

The Spartans threatened in the top of the ninth, when Campos reached on third baseman Hee's fielding error. Olsen was lifted for Daly, who struck out pinch hitter Justin Santich-Hughes. But Angel reached on a single to short. Pierson grounded out to first to advance the runners, but Daly got Hall on a comebacker to end the inning.

In the 10th, Chase doubled to right-center to start the inning against Daly, who then struck out the next two batters before throwing a wild pitch to send the runner to third. He then walked Epidendio and was pulled for Fisherbaugh with runners at the corners. Epidendio stole second to put runners at second and third, but Fisherbaugh struck out Campos to end the threat.

The series continues at 6:35 tonight. Justin Costi will pitch for UH against Loren Moneypenny in a battle of right-handers.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.