'Bows hold on for 14-13 victory
Hawai'i displayed its "tenacity and will" to turn back Louisiana Tech, 14-13, in a wild Western Athletic Conference baseball game yesterday at J.C. Love Field in Pat Patterson Park at Ruston, La.
The Rainbows (21-19 overall, 4-7 WAC) trailed 13-12 before scoring twice in the eighth inning against the Bulldogs (20-18, 5-6) to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
"I called them out yesterday and they answered the bell," UH coach Mike Trapasso said of his players. "That was as crazy a game you'll ever be involved with. Our guys kept battling, showing a toughness we're going to have to have the rest of the way. There's no question we're going to look back at this game, regardless of what happens tomorrow, as a big moment in our season, I hope, because this was one game that was won by nothing but tenacity and will by our kids."
Collin Bennett and Greg Garcia each drove in four runs, each hitting three-run homers that helped UH build an 12-9 lead after the top of the sixth inning.
But the Bulldogs scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth. It began with a one-out solo home run by Devon Dageford. They tied it 12-12 with a two-run homer by Will Alvis, who earlier hit a three-run shot. Tech then took the lead when it executed a double steal with runners at the corners with Clinton Stubbs stealing home.
The 'Bows got to Alvis, who started at DH but came in to pitch with two outs in the sixth, in the eighth.
Kolten Wong led off with a single to left and David Freitas walked, the fifth of six allowed by Tech pitchers. Jeffrey Van Doornum's ground single to center tied the score at 13, as Freitas stopped at second. After Bennett popped out to second, Alvis' first pitch to Garcia was a ball. Alvis was pulled for Mike Jefferson, who ended up walking Garcia to load the bases. Kevin Macdonald's sacrifice fly to left scored Freitas with the go-ahead run.
UH closer Lenny Linsky pitched a perfect eighth, and retired the first two batters in the ninth before Kyle Roliard reached on shortstop Garcia's fielding error. But Linsky struck out Mark Threlkeld to end the game and record his ninth save.
"He was really sharp," Trapasso said of Linsky, who threw only 19 pitches and will be available today.
Connor Little (2-0) allowed four runs in three innings, striking out four, but was the beneficiary of UH's two-run eighth.
Tech pulled to 10-9 after Alvis' three-run homer off Alex Capaul, who then gave up a triple to Clinton Stubbs. Little came in and struck out the next two batters on six pitches before getting the third out on a fly to center.
"That was huge," Trapasso said.
Alvis (0-1) was charged with two runs in 1 2/3 innings for the Bulldogs.
Neither starter — Tech's Josh Barrett (seven runs in 2 1/3 innings) and UH's Matt Sisto (six runs, four earned in 3 2/3 innings) — figured in the decision.
The 'Bows can salvage a rough road trip that began when they lost 3 of 4 at Sacramento State with a victory today that would bring them even, as far was conference games. It also would be their second winning road trip because of a 5-2 win at Centenary on Tuesday.
Nate Klein, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in Friday's 9-5 loss, will start today's series finale. The senior right-hander hasn't started since March 12 against Southern California, when he left after 1 2/3 innings because of shoulder tenderness. Friday was his third relief appearance since the USC game.
"We've got to get him extended," Trapasso said of Klein. "We've got time to get him in our rotation. He's one of our best guys, so we've got to have him."
Today's game starts at 8 a.m., HST, and will be broadcast on 1420AM.