FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH's Eli Christensen went airborne to avoid San Jose State's Brian Chase and turn a double play to end the fourth inning.
’Bows break through
Jorge Franco hit the second pitch he saw for a sacrifice fly that scored Justin Frash with the winning run as the Hawaii Rainbows ended a frustrating start to the Western Athletic Conference baseball season with a 6-5, 13-inning victory over the San Jose State Spartans last night.
The win before 2,008 fans at Les Murakami Stadium was the first for the Rainbows in league play and evened the three-game series at one win apiece.
The deciding game will start at 1:05 p.m. today.
Hawaii (23-9, 1-3 WAC) had seen two-run leads disappear twice and had to rally after San Jose State (20-11, 3-2) had taken a 5-4 lead in the top of the 12th inning.
Justin Frash opened the 13th with a walk. On Luis Avila's sacrifice bunt, SJSU first baseman Nick Epidendio muffed the ball and both runners were safe.
Matt Inouye then sacrificed the runners up a base, and Franco hit Steven Vidal's second pitch deep enough to left-center field to allow Frash to score easily.
The Spartans went up 5-4 in the 12th when Brody Massman grounded a single into left field that scored Aaron Loewenthal from second base. Loewenthal had drawn a one-out walk from UH's third pitcher, Tyler Davis, and moved to second on a soft line single to left by Epidendio.
The Rainbows rallied in the bottom of the 12th to tie the score on a double to right-center by Esteban Lopez, Jon Hee's sacrifice bunt and Landon Hernandez's pinch-hit, bloop single to right.
The Rainbows had dissolved a 2-2 tie with two runs in the eighth inning.
Inouye, with just two walks and a sacrifice fly in his previous 13 plate appearances, singled to left with one out. Lopez lined the first pitch from SJSU starter Loren Moneypenny to the gap in right-center field for a double that scored Inouye.
Lopez took third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Greg Shannon.
The lead did not last long.
The Spartans answered in the top of the ninth when Massman singled to center on a 3-2 pitch with one out. With two outs, pinch hitter Chris Williammee walked on a 3-1 pitch. That brought UH coach Mike Trapasso to the mound for a talk with left-hander Mark Rodrigues, Hawaii's second pitcher.
Rodrigues stayed in the game to face the left-hand hitting Sam Hall. He lined a two-run triple to right to tie the score at 4-4.
Davis came out of the bullpen to end the inning by fanning Brian Chase.
Davis only had to retire two batters in the 10th inning after the Spartans lost an out for batting out of order. In the 11th, Hee made a backhand stop of Massman's smash down the third-base line. However, Hee's throw to first was high and Massman ended up at second with no one out.
Davis struck out Ryan Angel and Williammee, walked Hall intentionally, then fanned Chase to end the threat.
The 'Bows put two runs on the board in the fifth with some help from the Spartans.
Hee singled to left to start the inning and moved to third on Joe Spiers' one-out single to right center.
With Spiers running on the first pitch to Robbie Wilder, the ball glanced off the glove of catcher Justin Santich-Hughes. The passed ball allowed Hee to score and Spiers to continue to third. The next pitch also was a passed ball and Spiers scored.
The Spartans tied the score quickly in top of the sixth. Chase drove a 1-2 pitch over the left-field wall with Hall aboard on a one-out single to right. It was Chase's first home run of the season.
|San Jose State
|New Mexico State
Hawaii 6, San Jose State 5, 13 inn.
Nevada 7, Sacramento St. 3
Sacramento St. 7, Nevada 5
Louisiana Tech 11, UAB 8
Fresno St. 10, New Mexico St. 7
UAB at Louisiana Tech
Fresno State at New Mexico State
Nevada at Sacramento State
San Jose State at Hawaii, 1:05 p.m., Les Murakami Stadium.