Hawai'i rips New Mexico State in WAC baseball, 21-6
Hawai'i turned a game into a rout by combining for 19 runs in the final three innings to rally past New Mexico State, 21-6, yesterday to take the Western Athletic Conference series opener.
The Rainbows (27-16 overall, 9-7 WAC) remain in fourth place, but picked up a game on second-place Louisiana Tech (10-6), which lost 6-2 to San Jose State, and moved to within 2 1/2 games of first-place Fresno State (11-4), which has a non-conference series this weekend. Third-place Nevada (8-5) kept pace with an 8-6 win over Sacramento State.
Hawai'i trailed 4-2 after six innings before sending 10 batters up in a five-run seventh, 16 in a 10-run eighth and nine in a four-run ninth to achieve a season-high in scoring.
Ironically, it was almost costly for the Rainbows. By waiting so long to score and trailing early, UH coach Mike Trapasso was forced to use reliever Matt Daly from the fifth inning for starter Mark Rodrigues, who went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs. Daly (4-1) was the beneficiary of the late comeback with 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Fortunately, he threw only 30 pitches and should be available today, Trapasso said. Jeff Soskin pitched the final two innings.
"We slept-walked through the first five, six innings," Trapasso said. "That was very disappointing. (If) we do that against (Brian) Gausman, their No. 1 pitcher whose going to throw one of those games tomorrow, that's a game we might be in trouble. We have to do a better job out of the gate."
Had the Rainbows scored more of their runs early, Trapasso might have been able to squeeze more innings out of Rodrigues and possibly not have had to use Daly. The relief situation is crucial because the Rainbows will wrap up the series a day early with a doubleheader today starting at 10 a.m., Hawai'i time, because of anticipated inclement weather tomorrow. Joshua Schneider and Ian Harrington will start for UH, but Trapasso will determine the order they will pitch today.
Kevin Macdonald led UH's attack with four RBIs on a 3-for-5 night. Vinnie Catricala was 4 for 5 with two RBIs. Jon Hee and Eli Christensen also had three hits apiece to contribute to UH's 22-hit attack.
The last-place Aggies (19-25, 4-12) took a 1-0 lead in the first in part because of two walks issued by Rodrigues. But UH tied it in the second on Kris Sanchez's team-leading ninth home run and took the lead in the third on an RBI ground out by Macdonald.
The Aggies tied it in the bottom of the third on a run-scoring single by Tyler Hardt and took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on RBI doubles by Marcus Quade and Joseph Scaperotta before UH's three big innings.
Aggies' starter Dillon Smith (3-4) was charged with six runs (four earned), 11 hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Matt Cassell, the third of four relief pitchers, was tagged for nine runs (seven earned) in 1 1/3 innings.