‘Outstanding’ Kramer takes hard-luck loss
RENO, Nev. » No one should have to endure a loss like the one Jayson Kramer was charged with yesterday at the Western Athletic Conference baseball tournament.
The Hawaii junior right-hander did his job as a long reliever, keeping Nevada at bay so his teammates could battle their way back into the game.
Kramer allowed just five hits and two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But he hit Nick Sansone with a pitch to start the 11th inning. Sansone later scored the go-ahead run, Nevada won 8-6, and Kramer ended the season with an undeserved 3-4 record.
"It sucks to lose. It just hurts right now," was all a visibly upset Kramer could mutter afterward.
You can't blame him. It was a terrible way for Hawaii to end the 2007 season. The Rainbows battled back from a 6-0 deficit, with Landon Hernandez belting a two-run homer in the ninth to tie it.
But Nevada had a comeback of its own to come, and the bottom of the lineup did most of the damage in the 11th, as Chris Siewert and Jason Rodriguez hit run-scoring singles off Tyler Davis and Nick Rhodes.
"Jayson Kramer did an outstanding job for us. He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win it," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "I can't say enough about our kids and the way they were able to fight back. Everybody had us left for dead."
Trapasso said Kramer, in his longest outing of the season, showed signs of fatigue in the 11th.
"He threw over 90 pitches," Trapasso said. "We went to the bullpen and we weren't able to win, to close things out."
Catcher Hernandez said the best days are ahead for the Mid-Pacific alumnus who will be a junior next season.
"Jayson's always had great stuff. His curveball was working. He was hitting the spots," Hernandez said. "He's going to be a good pitcher. He's going to be a great pitcher."
Hurtin' for certain
UH second baseman Jon Hee
-- the player Trapasso calls the "heart and soul" of the Rainbows -- left yesterday's game after diving for a ball in the fifth inning. Versatile freshman Kevin Macdonald
was moved in from right field to play second, and Matt Roquemore
entered the game in right.
Nevada shortstop Siewert was a late lineup entry. Siewert left Thursday's game after he was hit on his throwing hand by an Ian Harrington pitch, and did not play Friday against San Jose State. Siewert went 1-for-4 with two RBIs, including the go-ahead single in the 11th inning yesterday.
Tale of two seasons
Including the WAC tournament, UH finished 34-25, but 12-15 in league play -- not what most people, especially Trapasso, expected from the preseason conference co-favorites.
"We bid our seniors farewell and go back to work. We'll try to do better," Trapasso said after completing his fifth consecutive overall winning season, but fourth losing WAC record. "I'm disappointed with the way we played down the stretch. I'm disappointed with pitching the way we pitched the last month of the season. I'm disappointed with the way I coached down the stretch."
Siewert and Rodriguez combined for five hits and six more RBIs (Rodriguez had five) as Nevada beat San Jose State 11-9 in last night's last game, ousting the Spartans and advancing to today's final against Fresno State.
The Wolf Pack led 11-7 going into the ninth, but Ryan Angel and Kyle Bellows hit back-to-back solo homers.
Then Brody Massman doubled, and Matt Renfree -- who beat Hawaii earlier in the day, but only after serving up Hernandez's game-tying homer -- was summoned into the game.
Renfree struck out Greg Fyfe and Karson Klauer to finally end it.
Defending champion Fresno State beat San Jose State 6-2 in the first game yesterday to improve to 3-0 in the tournament. As the lone undefeated team, the Bulldogs got the rest of the day off and only have to beat Nevada in one of two games for the championship today.
Brian Lapin doubled and homered and drove in three runs for the Bulldogs.