'Bows lose in 12 innings, 8-7
• Photo gallery: Hawaii vs. Nevada baseball May 2
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Nevada blew four leads, but held the one that mattered most in a 12-inning, 8-7 win against Hawai'i yesterday to salvage a split of the four-game Western Athletic Conferences series.
Shaun Kort's two-out RBI single in the top of the 12th marked the fifth lead the Wolf Pack (24-17-1 overall, 5-6-1 WAC) had in the 4-hour, 33-minute marathon played in front of 1,102 who showed up to Les Murakami Stadium despite the threat of heavy rain. It was the first extra-inning game this season for both teams.
The Rainbows (23-22, 6-10), who put up a minor threat in the bottom of the 12th, squandered a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the ninth when Garrett Yrigoyen hit an RBI single off UH closer Lenny Linsky. It was his first blown save in 10 opportunities.
"They could've rolled over and they didn't," Nevada coach Gary Power said of his players. "They fought hard for 12 innings and found a way to win the game. There were some doubts at times because we stubbed our own feet, but in all, I think I'm happy with their performance today because of what they did go through (Saturday)."
Hawai'i swept a doubleheader Saturday, both in late-inning dramatic fashion. The momentum should have carried over to give the Rainbows a chance to win their first WAC series of the season. Instead, they drop into a tie for sixth place with Louisiana Tech (6-10), 7 1/2 games back of first-place New Mexico State (13-2-1). The top six teams qualify for the WAC tournament later this month.
"We had our chances," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "We didn't get it done."
Hawai'i trailed four times early, tying the game on three occasions. Trailing 6-5, UH took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the seventh when Jeffrey Van Doornum drew a one-out walk from Mat Keplinger and scored on David Freitas' double.
Freitas scored on Greg Garcia's single to make it 7-6 and chase Keplinger, but Jesse Rasner retired the next eight batters in his 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
Zach Gallagher (3-4) pitched the final three innings for UH, allowing the winning run and six hits with one strikeout.
Armed with the lead entering the top of the ninth, UH went to Linsky. Barnett beat a chop single to second. An out later, Barnett stole second uncontested before Nick Leid walked. Yrigoyen's single tied it 7-7.
"That's on Lenny," Trapasso said of the uncontested steal. "But it was the walk (to Leid). He had two strikes (2-2 count) and couldn't throw a strike (on the next two pitches). You can't walk guys or you'll lose."
The Rainbows had two runners on in each the 10th and 11th innings, but failed to score. In the 12th, Bennett led off with a single before being erased on an unconventional double play. Sean Montplaisir's bunt was fielded by the catcher, who threw out Montplaisir at first. First baseman Kort then fired to shortstop Kevin Rodland, who tagged out Bennett sliding into second.
Kevin Macdonald walked, but Tyler Graham (3-4), tagged for five earned runs in UH's 10-9 come-from-behind win in Saturday's first game, retired Matt Roquemore on a grounder to Kort to end the game. Graham pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
"He had a really tough day (Saturday)," Powers said of Graham. "He has been steady for us. He came in today and pitched very well. Takes a lot of character to be able to do that. We put him in when the game was on the line. We gave him the lead and he finally closed them out. We made a couple nice plays to get that done, but that says a lot about him, too."
Nevada had a chance to add to its 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh. Leid singled with one out, stole second and went to third when catcher Freitas' throw sailed to center because neither shortstop Garcia nor second baseman Kolten Wong covered the bag. With one out and the runner at third, UH brought its infield in. Yrigoyen tried to squeeze the runner home, but fouled off a pitch that looked like it hit him. He bunted on the next pitch and was thrown out by the pitcher, but the runner held third.
"There was a missed sign there," Powers said. "We had the squeeze on earlier when the ball hit the kid. There was no sign on the last thing. The batter kind of did that on his own."
The next batter, Carlos Escobar Jr., grounded out to deep short in the hole. Garcia's one-hop throw to first was dug out by Macdonald to strand the runner at third.
The Wolf Pack amassed 21 hits to UH's 10. Leadoff batter Rodland led the way by batting 5 for 7. Barnett was 4 for 6, while Kort was 3 for 7 and Nick Melino was 3 for 6.
Garcia was 4 for 6 for UH.
"It's always sore, to lose one like this when we had the game," Wong said. "But that's part of baseball. It's up and down ... It's just one of those games. It's not going to take us down."
The Rainbows draw a bye this weekend and will resume WAC play May 13 with a four-game series against visiting New Mexico State. After that, UH travels to California for a single game at Stanford before concluding its WAC schedule at San Jose State.