'Bows rout Vulcans, sweep 2-game series
Hawai'i pumped out season highs in hits and runs in rolling past Hawai'i-Hilo, 13-5, yesterday to complete a two-game sweep at Wong Stadium on the Big Island.
Justin Frash led the 19-hit assault by batting 5 for 6 with four RBIs for the Rainbows (20-8), who sent 12 batters to the plate in a seven-run sixth to pull away from the Vulcans (9-18).
Luis Avila hammered his team-leading fourth home run, a two-run shot to center, to highlight a three-run fifth. Kris Sanchez had a pinch-hit three-run double in the seven-run inning.
Unlike the past couple of weeks, the Rainbows were able to sustain their offense, although they began the game by hitting into double plays the first three innings.
"We had a little edge and were able to sustain it once we got the 5-1 lead," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "The way we've been playing the last couple weeks, we've been going into cruise control. But we were able to keep it going, putting up the seven runs."
Mark Rodrigues (3-1) found his groove, pitching six innings, allowing an unearned run, two hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
"I thought it was his best outing all year," Trapasso said. "He has his slider back and he hadn't had it for weeks. That made all the difference in the world for him."
Keahi Rawlins added 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) and Jayson Kramer chipped in 1 1/3 scoreless innings for Manoa.
Vulcans' starter Ryan Olszewski (2-4) was tagged for five runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings. Clayton Uyechi, the first of five UHH relievers, also gave up five runs (four earned) in one inning of work.
The scoring trickled in early, as the Rainbows hit into three double plays in the first three innings. Two ended innings and one involved a runner thrown out at home on an attempted sacrifice fly.
"We were hitting balls right on the nose early on," Trapasso said of the double plays. "It was those instances where you hit 'em right at guys. When you keep hitting balls as hard as we were, it's just a matter of time before they start falling (for hits)."
The Rainbows held a 2-1 lead before pulling away with a three-run fifth. Frash singled off the first base bag for an RBI and Avila followed with his homer.
Manoa then drilled Hilo for seven in the sixth, which included a Frash RBI single, a bases-loaded hit batsman by Matt Inouye and Sanchez's bases-clearing double.
The Vulcans got four in the eighth against Rawlins. Christian Stephenson had a two-run single, Tyler Curtis had an RBI single and Kyle Correia walked with the bases loaded. But Kramer replaced Rawlins and got the third out, leaving the bases full.
The Vulcans open a four-game series against Santa Clara starting Saturday.
The Rainbows resume non-conference play against UC Santa Barbara in a three-game series that starts Sunday at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Rainbows are at exactly the halfway point of the regular season. This is their fastest start to 20 wins in Trapasso's five seasons as coach. They resume Western Athletic Conference play March 31 to April 2 against San Jose State before heading to the Mainland for WAC series at Fresno State and at Nevada.