Rainbows earn split with Sacramento State, might lose Christian Johnson to injury
Jeff Van Doornum hit a two-run homer and a run-scoring single, catcher Kevin Fujii enjoyed a 3-for-4 game with an RBI, and Jesse Moore pitched four shutout innings in relief as Hawai'i rallied past Sacramento State for a 7-4 victory and a split of a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader today at Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento State won the first game, 3-2.
Hawai'i is 18-17 and 2-5 in the WAC. Sacramento State (13-18-1 and 2-1) holds a 2-1 edge in the four-game series, which ends tomorrow.
The Rainbows overcame an early three-run deficit in the second game while delighting a sizeable chunk of the several hundred who watched.
"We always want to do well in front of our teammates and their families, anyone who's out here rooting for us," said Fujii, who made his first start of the four-game set. "Baseball is a game of inches and will give you ups and downs. It's how you come back that matters."
The afternoon featured a loss in addition to the one in the standings. Rightfielder Christian Johnson suffered a dislocated shoulder while diving for a flyball in foul territory during the first game.
UH coach Mike Trapasso hinted at the seriousness of the injury.
"They tried putting the shoulder back in place in the trainer's room, but they couldn't do it," said Trapasso, whose team plated five runs in the third after trailing 4-2. "He had to go to the hospital. He's going to be sore for a while. It could be a season-ender."
Moore (1-1) replaced starter Matt Sisto in the third, allowing four hits, while walking none and striking out none. Lenny Linsky pitched the seventh, allowing a one-out single to Kirby Young, who was erased on a game-ending double play.
With Sacramento State leading 4-2, the Rainbow scored five runs with five hits and two Hornet errors in the third inning. Kolten Wong hit a bunt single to the pitcher with one out and went to second on David Freitas' single to left. Wong scored on Van Doornum's single to right field and Freitas went to third and Van Doornum to second when the ball was mishandled by the right fielder for an error. Freitas scored the tying run and Van Doornum moved to third on a sacrifice fly to center field by Greg Garcia. Mike Guglielmo replaced Hornet pitcher Logan Todd and gave up a double to Collin Bennett that scored Van Doornum to give UH a 5-4 lead. Kevin Macdonald walked, then Kevin Fujii singled to center. A fielding error by the center fielder on the play allowed Bennett and Macdonald to score. Tommy Elrod replaced Guglielmo and got Sean Montplaisir to line out to short to end the inning.
Sacramento State took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by Andrew Ayers and a two-run double by A.J. Nunes.
UH came back in the second to close to 3-2 on Van Doornum's two-run homer to right-center field, also scoring Freitas, who had singled to open the inning.
Ayers made it 4-2 in the bottom of the second with a two-out RBI single to left-center field that scored Josh Powers, who opened the inning with a walk.
Freitas and Fujii each had three hits for the Rainbows.
SACRAMENTO STATE 3, HAWAI‘I 2
Sacramento State rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to turn back Hawai'I, 3-2, in the first game of a Western Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader at Hornet Field in Sacramento, Calif.
The Rainbows (17-17 overall, 1-5 WAC) led 1-0 on Jeffrey Van Doornum's fifth-inning home run. But the Hornets (13-17-1, 2-0) got a bases-loaded walk against UH starter Sam Spangler to tie the game at 1 and relief pitcher Jesse Moore hit a batter with the bases full to push across the go-ahead run.
The Hornets got an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI single from A.J. Nunez to negate a ninth-inning RBI single by Van Doornum. But Kevin Macdonald flied out to left to end the game.
Jesse Darrah (3-2) went 7 2/3 innings, allowing a run, five hits and two walks with two strikeouts for the Hornets. Andrew Galvan allowed a run on a walk and single in the ninth to record his fifth save.
Spangler (2-5) allowed two runs, five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings for UH.
Two of those didn't leave the infield, but they figured prominently in the winning rally.
The lefty battled Blake Miller in a nine-pitch at-bat before the Sacramento State second baseman reached on an infield hit to third to load the bases.
Pi'ikea Kitamura made a fine backhanded stop behind the bag, but Miller just beat his throw from the outfield grass in foul territory. Spangler then threw three straight balls before walking Justin Lamb on a 3-1 offering.
Earlier in the inning with one out and a runner on first, Hawaii shortstop Greg Garcia lost Kirby Young's pop-up to short left in the sun. It was scored a hit.
NOTES: Hawaii fan Joni Fletcher had her eyes on the game and her smartphone Saturday afternoon.
Her daughter Taylor Fletcher – a swimmer for the University of Hawaii who hails from Sacramento – maintains a long-distance relationship with boyfriend Vinnie Catricala, the former Rainbow third baseman and current Single-A property of the Seattle Mariners. She followed Catricala's Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings on her iPhone as the Rainbows salvaged a doubleheader split against Sacramento State.
"And I think a few fans flew in (from the islands) for the game here, too," she said.