Wright pitches Rainbows to 5-3 win
Advertiser Staff Writer
Advertiser Staff Writer
Steven Wright pitched seven strong innings and Darrell Fisherbaugh struck out the last two batters of the game with the tying run at second base as Hawai'i held off No. 21 Fresno State, 5-3, in Western Athletic Conference baseball last night at Beiden Field in Fresno, Calif.
"We have to stay on an even keel; we still have two more games," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "But no doubt, this was a big game for us."
The Rainbows (25-9 overall, 3-3 WAC) are tied for fourth in the WAC with San Jose State. The Bulldogs (24-10, 5-2) still hold first, a half-game in front of Louisiana Tech, a 10-8 winner against third-place Nevada.
Wright (5-2) gave up two runs (one earned), four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts. He used a season-high 124 pitches.
"His stuff was really good," Trapasso said. "He felt strong and it was a cool night. He wanted to go back out there. He was huge. He was the story of the game."
Matt Daly entered in the eighth, giving up a solo home run to Beau Mills. But the game got exciting in a nail-biting ninth.
The Bulldogs put the first two runners on with a single by Nick Moresi, who reached second when second baseman Joe Spiers dropped a throw from shortstop Eli Christensen when Erik Wetzel reached on a fielder's choice against Daly. Fisherbaugh was summoned from the bullpen and Steve Susdorf's fly out to center sent Moresi to third. Loren Storey came in to pinch run for Wetzel and stole second, putting runners at second and third. But Fisherbaugh struck out Ozzie Lewis and Kent Sakamoto for his seventh save.
Trapasso had hoped Daly could finish the game because UH is without Rich Olsen for the series because of a tender forearm; Dean Turner took his place on the 25-player WAC roster for this series. Trapasso said Olsen is expected to be ready for the series at Nevada next weekend. It is one reason Daly started the ninth instead of Fisherbaugh, who has proven effective when inheriting runners.
The Rainbows hit FSU starter Doug Fister (4-4) for five runs in 6 1/3 innings. Robbie Wilder was 3 for 3 with a walk and hit batsman, as well as two steals. Christensen was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Hawai'i took a 1-0 lead in the second when Esteban Lopez led off with a single, took second on Jon Hee's sacrifice and scored on Christensen's single to center. But FSU tied it in the fourth on Christian Vitters' RBI double.
The Rainbows added two in the fifth. Christensen led off by beating out a single to shortstop and took third on Spiers' double to left. Wilder beat out a single to short that scored Christensen and sent Spiers to third. After Wilder stole second, Derek DuPree struck out. After the swinging third strike, catcher Frank LoNigro's pick-off attempt to third sailed to left field, allowing Spiers to score to make it 3-1.
Fresno State pulled within one in the bottom of the fifth when Wright hit Mills with the bases loaded. But UH got two in the seventh to chase Fister.
With one out, Wilder singled and scored on DuPree's double to right in which he took third on the throw home. Fister was replaced by Brandon Miller, who gave up a sacrifice fly to left by Justin Frash to make it 5-2.
The Bulldogs got a run in the eighth on Mills' home run off Daly.
Hawai'i is 6-0 on the road this season and have won eight in a row away since last season.
The series continues at 3:35 p.m. today. It will be televised on CSTV, a subscription channel on Oceanic Cable.