Rainbows rally past Hawai'i Pacific, 11-10
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By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
On Valentine's Day, Hawai'i showed a lot of heart.
Jon Hee's two-out, ground single just inside the first-base line scored Robbie Wilder from second in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting the Rainbows over Hawai'i Pacific, 11-10, last night before gathering of 607 at Les Murakami Stadium.
Hee fell behind 0-2 against Michael Kealoha when he got the hit.
"I knew I wasn't going down looking," Hee said. "I just wanted to put the ball in play, make something happen."
"We kept battling and battling," Wilder said. "It was just a matter of time before things started going our way."
The Rainbows (6-2) overcame a 10-2 deficit with four runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to tie before winning it in the 10th.
"I'm proud of our guys for the character they showed," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "At no time at any point of that game, even when we were down by eight runs, did I see any quitting."
With two outs in the 10th, Wilder beat out a single to short, stole second and scored when Hee went with an outside pitch and grounded just fair down the right-field line before a stunned HPU defense that thought the ball was foul.
Matt Daly (1-0) pitched two-hit ball in three scoreless innings of relief for the Rainbows. Kealoha (0-1), who came in from second base to pitch in the ninth, was charged with two runs, one earned, four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings for the Division II Sea Warriors (6-7), who were denied a shot of beating UH for the first time since 1986.
"We had an opportunity to shut the door and we didn't execute on our part," HPU first-year coach Garett Yukumoto said.
As to whether he thought Hee's hit was foul, Yukumoto declined comment.
HPU starter Mario Ramirez held UH in check with five strong innings, allowing two runs, six hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
"The story of the night was HPU," Trapasso said. "They took it to us. They were making diving plays all over the place and they were getting the hits when they needed to."
Up 10-8 in the eighth, Kealoha, while at second, made a diving stop to rob Derek DuPree of a possible two-run single that would have tied the game at 10.
In UH's ninth, HPU's Spencer Omalza, who started the game as the designated hitter and replaced pitcher Brandon Muser in the eighth, walked pinch-hitter Kris Sanchez. Kealoha then replaced Omalza and gave up a single to Wilder to put runners at first and second.
Hee reached on an bunt single and Kealoha threw wildly past first, allowing one run to score and putting runners at second and third. Justin Frash walked to load the bases and Luis Avila's sacrifice fly to right tied the game at 10 and moved the runners to second and third.
Pinch hitter Eli Rimes was intentionally walked, and Jorge Franco lined to short for the second out. Esteban Lopez flied to center to end the inning.
UH's Justin Costi lasted 1 1/3 innings, giving up five runs, three hits, a walk and two hit batsmen with two strikeouts in his second start of the season.
The Sea Warriors jumped on Costi for two runs in the first. Brandon Sato reached on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike and took third on Grandon Costa's double to left. After Jherell Miller and Gavin Concepcion each grounded out to third, holding the runners, both scored on a passed ball against Landon Hernandez. Danny Lee singled to left, but Colton Silva struck out to end the inning.
Hawai'i got one back in the bottom of the first against Ramirez. Wilder led off with a single to center, was balked to second, took third when Hee grounded out to second and scored when Frash beat out a single to short.
Hawai'i Pacific tagged Costi for three in the second, chasing him in the process.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.