UH bounces back to beat Gonzaga
• Photo gallery: Hawaii vs. Gonzaga baseball Sunday
BY Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
On Easter, Hawai'i saw a string of goose eggs on the scoreboard from the second through seventh innings.
Then the Rainbows hatched five runs in the bottom of the eighth to rally past Gonzaga, 6-5, and take two of three in the nonconference series before 973 at Les Murakami Stadium.
Kolten Wong drove in four runs, three from his eighth-inning home run that tied the score at 4. Kevin Macdonald doubled in Collin Bennett, who had singled, to put UH ahead 5-4. Macdonald then scored what became the winning run when Sean Montplaisir reached on the first baseman's fielding error.
"We were fortunate to pull that one out," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "We don't show up offensively for seven innings, then we put some things together. ... It says something about the resiliency of this group, but frankly, I didn't think we played that well offensively all series."
For the Rainbows (16-12), this was their final tuneup before the Western Athletic Conference season, which opens Friday here against four-time defending champion Fresno State (16-12).
Hawai'i trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the eighth. Bulldogs starter Jeremy Stumetz (1-2) handcuffed UH through the first seven, allowing a first-inning run and four singles. Josh Chevalier led off the eighth by flying to deep right with right fielder Chris Sturdivant making a nice leaping catch.
But Matt Roquemore walked — the first allowed by Stumetz — and took second on Greg Garcia's single to right-center. Wong then lined a 2-1 changeup over the second fence in right for his third homer of the season.
"Every at-bat, I got two changeups (from Stumetz) at the least, so that's what I was looking for the most," Wong said.
After David Freitas flied out to center, Bennett singled up the middle on a ball that was stopped by diving second baseman Clayton Eslick. He scored when Macdonald lined a fastball to left. Macdonald then scored on the error to make it 6-4. Stumetz was pulled for Liam Baron, who retired pinch hitter Jeffrey Van Doornum on a grounder to short.
"You can kind of sit fastball and if he throws a changeup you can adjust," Macdonald said. "That's what I tried to do."
Zach Gallagher (3-1), who came in for starter Sam Spangler with one out in the fifth, kept the Bulldogs (11-15) off the board until the bottom of the ninth. After retiring the first two batters, Gallagher gave up a single to Sturdivant and an RBI double to Alex Hunter. Trapasso brought in Jesse Moore, who struck out Mark Castellitto to end the game and notch his third save.
"I wasn't going to use Lenny (Linsky)," Trapasso said of the save situation. "He looked tired to me. I wanted to give him the weekend off before we started conference. Jesse can fill that role."
Linsky did not even suit up and was relegated to radar gun duty.
Gallagher ended up going 4[0xb0] innings, allowing a run and six hits. Spangler also went 4[0xb0], giving up four runs. With one out in the fifth, he allowed a single on an 0-2 pitch and another single before walking the next two batters that forced in a run.
"I thought I made good pitches all day until the fifth inning," Spangler said.
It was Spangler's second consecutive outing in which he hasn't completed five innings. He went 2[0xb0] against Cal State Fullerton last week.
Gallagher was hit hard, as evidenced by the three doubles he allowed. But he also was saved by his defense, which ultimately was the difference unlike the night before when two errors led to three unearned runs.
In the sixth, Eslick led off with a double, but only could tag up to take third when center fielder Bennett went parallel to the ground on a diving catch of a liner to right-center by Ernesto Ortiz.
"When I landed I got the wind knocked out of me," Bennett said. "I was just tracking that ball. It was a pretty windy day, so the ball just carried a bit more than I thought."
With the infield playing in, Gallagher struck out Kevin Hawk. Drew Heid tried to bunt his way on, but second baseman Wong charged and gunned Heid out at first.
In the seventh, Gallagher gave up a double and single to put runners at the corners with no out. But he got the next two batters on pops to short before the Rainbows executed a caught stealing of home after the runner at first broke for second.
"Zach did a good job, putting up zeros," Trapasso said. "They were hard zeros. They weren't easy and defensively, we made some nice plays."