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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 7, 2007

Hawai'i Pacific sweeps inter-island twin bill

 Photo gallery HPU vs. UH-Hilo photo gallery

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i-Hilo's A.J. Satele, left, is congratulated by David Chu after hitting a two-homer off Kaimi Mead in the first inning of the second game of last night's doubleheader against Hawai'i Pacific at Central O'ahu Regional Park. HPU swept the twinbill, 3-1 and 7-6.

ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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WAIPI'O It was literally a wild one for Hawai'i Pacific University's baseball team last night.

Tripper Chung scored the winning run on a wild pitch with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Sea Warriors' 7-6 come-from-behind victory against Hawai'i-Hilo to complete a doubleheader sweep at Central O'ahu Regional Park.

The Sea Warriors (19-16) won the opener, 3-1, behind the strong pitching of starter Jason Shimizu and reliever Cruz Hatanaka.

Both games were scheduled for seven innings.

The Vulcans (9-27) had a 6-2 lead after five innings, only to watch HPU score twice in the sixth and three times in the seventh.

Down 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Danny Lee led off with a single to center off Dustin Gilmore. Spencer Omalza followed with a single to left to put runners at first and second. Gilmore was lifted for Karl Maas, who was greeted with an RBI single by Chung to pull HPU to 6-5. Paul Nishimura then reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Maas then hit Andrew Sramek with a pitch to force across the tying run.

Former Vulcan Mark Veneri was sent to pinch-hit for Dillon Guzman. Veneri chased and missed two low and away pitches to fall behind 0-2. But he didn't bite on Maas' next pitch, which was in the dirt and scooted away from catcher Ryan Taiariol. Chung beat Taiariol's toss back to Maas covering to end the game.

"Tonight we talked about learning to compete," HPU coach Garett Yukumoto said. "Our guys played hard, never gave up. Good things happen when you focus."

David Chow (3-2) pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing only a walk with two strikeouts for starter Kaimi Mead, who was tagged for six runs, six hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings for HPU.

Maas (0-4) had entered the game with two saves for the Vulcans, but couldn't close the door on their inter-island rival. Gilmore, who minimized damage with a double play grounder in the sixth, allowed two runs in one-plus innings. Their outings negated a nice effort from starter Clayton Uyechi, who was charged with four runs (two earned), six hits and three walks with six strikeouts in five-plus innings.

The Vulcans took a 2-0 lead in the first with A.J. Satele's two-run home run off Mead, but HPU tied it in the bottom of the frame with two unearned runs scoring on Chung's two-run double.

Dayne Ogawa's three-run triple in the third put the Vulcans ahead, 5-2. A sacrifice fly to left by David Chu increased UHH's lead to 6-2.

But the Sea Warriors scored twice in the sixth when Sramek singled and scored on Guzman's triple to left-center. That's when Uyechi was pulled for Gilmore, who was greeted by Michael Kealoha's RBI-single to center to pull HPU to 6-4.

"The momentum changed from the sixth inning on," UHH coach Joey Estrella said "We just got out-played. Give credit to HPU."

In the opener, Shimizu (5-2) pitched five innings, allowing a run, three hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Hatanaka followed with two perfect innings of relief for his first save.

"We got a good performance from both guys," Yukumoto said. "There were times they had runners in scoring position with less than two outs. They made quality pitches, getting out of innings with damage control."

The Sea Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the second on an RBI-single by Paul Nishimura and on a bases-loaded walk by Kealoha against UHH starter Lars Knepper (2-6). Knepper, who entered the game with 60 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings, went the distance, allowing three runs (two earned), five hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

The Vulcans cut their deficit to 2-1 in the top of the fifth on Michael Higa's sacrifice fly. But HPU got insurance in the bottom of the sixth when Omalza scored from third on a wild throw to second when pinch runner Michael Kelley stole second to make it 3-1.

"Today, I felt good locating the ball," Shimizu said. "My slider was working pretty good, too, so I think that kind of threw them off balance."

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.