Hornets rally past 'Bows, 11-6
BY MARK DEVAUGHN
Special to The Advertiser
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—To hear Christian Johnson describe it, the University of Hawai'i baseball team had it half-right in yesterday's Western Athletic Conference road opener against Sacramento State.
"We had some good hits. Our pitchers did their jobs and got the ball put in play," the Rainbows' rightfielder said. "But you need to do more than that to win."
The Hornets climbed back from a pair of two-run deficits to claim an 11-6 victory over Hawai'i, which aided the Sacramento State cause with four errors.
The miscues came in the opener of a four-game WAC series.
Sandwiched around a sequence where reliever Alex Capaul and third baseman Pi'ikea Kitamura bumped into each other while trying to field a bunt, UH (17-16 overall, 1-4 WAC) committed two throwing errors during Sacramento State's four-run sixth inning.
UH led 5-3 after 5 1/2 innings after the first of Johnson's two solo home runs.
Capaul (5-2) took the loss, allowing eight runs (six earned) and seven hits while working the seventh and eighth innings.
Hawai'i starter Josh Slaats labored through five innings. He walked three and allowed seven hits among his 101 pitches.
A junior who attended high school in neighboring Elk Grove, UH catcher David Freitas enjoyed a solid personal homecoming.
He launched a three-run homer to highlight a four-run rally in the fifth to put UH up, 4-2.
Kitamura committed a throwing error on Justin Lamb's routine grounder to lead off the sixth, helping Sacramento State (12-17-1, 1-0) begin its uprising.
Blake Miller then placed a bunt between third and first, but Kitamura and Capaul couldn't decide who was going to field it.
Then on Josh Powers' grounder right to Kevin Macdonald, the UH first baseman began to attempt a double play, but his throw sailed high over the head of shortstop Greg Garcia. Lamb scored to make it 5-4.
Sacramento State's Andrew Ayers did the most damage to Hawai'i's hopes.
He worked deep into the count before smacking a slicing shot down the line in right for a triple, plating two runs to put Hawai'i in a 6-5 hole.
Ayers added a two-run home run just under the scoreboard in left an inning later, one batter after Capaul surrendered a two-run single to Blake Miller.
The teams will play a doubleheader today, starting at 8:30 a.m. Hawai'i time.
UH opened the WAC campaign at home a week ago by dropping three of four against Fresno State.
"We better turn around and forget about this, because we're going to have to play two more before we know it," said Johnson, who went 3 for 3 with two runs scored.