Rainbows outslug Wolf Pack, 10-4
|Photo gallery: Hawaii plays Nevada|
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
A bit amped because of the opponent, Jared Alexander found his usual self after the third inning to help Hawai'i hold off Nevada, 10-4, last night to take the opener of the four-game Western Athletic Conference baseball series.
Landon Hernandez drove in four runs, three on his second home run of the season in the seventh, to provide the offensive support for the Rainbows (17-21 overall, 9-8 WAC) against the best-hitting team in the WAC before 1,563 at Les Murakami Stadium.
Both starting pitchers labored early. Alexander (5-3) gave up four runs in his first three innings, but shut down the Wolf Pack (21-15, 8-5) the next four innings. He allowed nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Matt Daly made the game interesting with three walks in a scoreless eighth and Cameron Wheeler gave up a hit in a scoreless ninth.
Rod Scurry (4-5) gave up seven runs, seven hits, four walks and two hit batsmen in five innings.
Alexander admitted he was pumped for the contest against a team that is just one game ahead of fourth-place UH in the WAC standings.
"I was trying to do too much," Alexander said. "I was trying to throw too hard, leaving balls up and they were crushing 'em. I knew it was a good team and I was trying to put a little extra into it, but I didn't need to."
"You can't leave balls too high against this club," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "They're too good offensively to get by with it.
"It showed the character and maturity to not panic and settle down."
Alexander gave up two runs in the first, both driven in on hits off the right-field wall. Shaun Kort's drive off the wall scored the first run and was limited to a single because the carom off the wall got back to right fielder Jeff Van Doornum quickly. Terry Walsh tripled to right to score Kort. A television replay showed the ball hit a post behind the wall and ricocheted back on to the field in what should have been a home run.
Kort also had a two-run double in the third, driving in three of his team's four runs.
"Kort seemed to have my number tonight," Alexander said.
That Alexander was able to go seven after struggling through the first three innings was crucial because it saved UH's bullpen for today's doubleheader.
"Honestly, I thought it was going to be a quick night for both pitchers," Trapasso said. "You have to give credit to both of them (Alexander and Scurry) for saving their pen."
Alexander left having thrown 104 pitches. Daly, who had been heating up before Hernandez's home gave UH a six-run lead, Daly used 27 pitches. Wheeler used 19 pitches. Both are available today, if necessary, Trapasso said.
The Rainbows had Scurry's number, jumping him for four runs in the bottom of the first to negate the Wolf Pack's two-run top of the first. The Rainbows cashed in two walks for runs. Also, Nevada didn't help its cause either when second baseman David Ciarlo bobbled a grounder on what might have been an inning-ending double play that would have made it a three-run inning instead. He settled for the out at first.
Even after the Wolf Pack tied it at 4 on Kort's third-inning double, the Rainbows responded with single runs the next three innings.
"The character our club showed by answering each time they scored in the first and the third, particularly the first with the swings we were able to put on a good pitcher got the momentum back over our dugout definitely helped us in the long run," Trapasso said.
But the nail was hammered in the seventh, when Hernandez ripped a 1-1 fastball off reliever Sammy Miller for a three-run homer to cushion UH's lead.
"I was actually running out of the box because I thought it was going to hit the wall," said Hernandez, whose last home run was Feb. 22 in UH's 10-4 win against San Francisco. "It's always good to have insurance runs because in college baseball, you never know what's going to happen, especially with aluminum bats."
It was UH's first home run in 16 games; its previous home run was March 21, when Brandon Haislet's two-run home run was all the offense UH had in a 2-0 win against Fresno State here.
Derek DuPree led UH's 11-hit attack by batting 3 for 5. Every UH starter scored at least one run.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.