Wong blasts 3 HRs
POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009
There may have been Kona winds blowing at Les Murakami Stadium yesterday. But the biggest blasts definitely came from the other side of the Big Island.
Kolten Wong tied two Hawaii records when the freshman center fielder from Hilo drilled three home runs to lift the Rainbows over Loyola Marymount in a 6-5 victory. Wong became the fifth UH player to have three homers in a game—the first since Mark McWherter in 1988 at BYU—and is the second to do it in consecutive at-bats; Mario Monico's feat came in 1985 against Utah in a WAC tournament game, also in Provo, Utah.
While McWherter and Monico did it in a hitter-friendly atmosphere, Wong's accomplishment is the first in the current stadium's 25-year history
"I was seeing the ball good," said Wong, going 3-for-4 with five RBI. "I just wanted to help my team."
"It was nice to see his coming-out party," said Rainbow left-hander Sam Spangler (2-0), picking up the win in relief. "He's really strong. When he connects like that, it flies."
Of Hawaii's seven hits, the first three were homers. First baseman Kevin Macdonald, hero of Saturday's victory over the Lions, led off the second with his second home run in as many games, drilling a full-count offering from LMU starter Ramiro Carreon over the 365-foot sign in left.
Wong began his spree with a leadoff shot to right in the fourth inning for a 2-0 lead. The Lions countered with a home run of their own with two outs and two on in the fifth—catcher Ollie Enos nailed a 1-0 pitch from UH freshman starter Matt Sisto over the center-field wall to put LMU ahead 3-2.
As the Rainbows showed all during this series, the ability to rally is becoming a habit. Wong tied it with his second homer in the sixth—chasing Carreon—then began an entertaining at-bat with two on and one out in the eighth.
Wong had his dugout in stitches as he took a huge swing—and missed—on an outside pitch from Chris Eusebio, LMU's third pitcher.
The collective thought of the 1,546 in attendance was that Wong was again swinging for the fences. Surprisingly—or maybe not—he tagged the next pitch for a steady liner that rose over the center-field wall and into the history book.
"He had such a great day," Sisto said. "He was awesome. It was fun to watch, especially that big swing. ... We knew he was trying to get us those runs."
The three proved just enough. LMU came back with two runs in the ninth and threatened to tie it with two outs and Ryan Hawthorne at third. Spangler got Ryan Wheeler to fly out to right, extending the Hawaii winning streak to seven. It was the first four-game series sweep for the Rainbows since 2007.
"All I was thinking was I couldn't let (Wheeler) beat me, he can't tie it up," said Spangler. "I knew I had to keep it down. Hopefully we can win a few more. It's important to win close games like this. We had some close ones against UC Irvine earlier and couldn't do it."
The Rainbows are at the Rose City Invitational in Portland, Ore., Friday through Sunday.
Hawaii 6, Loyola Marymount 5
|Hawthorne lf||4||0||1||1||Garcia ss||4||1||1||0|
|Spraker 3b||5||0||1||1||Wong cf||4||3||3||5|
|Wheeler 1b||5||0||1||0||Catricala 3b||3||0||0||0|
|Songco rf||3||1||0||0||Macdonald 1b||3||1||2||1|
|Bauer dh||4||1||1||0||Hoey 2b||4||0||0||0|
|Enos c||4||1||3||3||Torigoe dh||2||0||0||0|
|Roe ss||3||0||0||0||Morford pr||0||0||0||0|
|Johnson 2b||2||1||1||0||Roquemore rf||3||0||0||0|
|Simonitsch cf||3||1||2||0||Montplaisir lf||3||1||1||0|
|Carreon p||0||0||0||0||Fujii c||3||0||0||0|
|McClintock p||0||0||0||0||Sisto p||0||0||0||0|
|Eusebio p||0||0||0||0||Myers p||0||0||0||0|
DP—LMU 1, Hawaii 2. LOB—LMU 7, Hawaii 2. 2B—Enos; Macdonald. HR—Enos; Wong 3; Macdonald. HBP—Johnson; Torigoe. SH—Hawthorne; Simonitsch. CS—Catricala.
|Eusebio (L, 1-2)||1 2/3||4||3||3||0||1|
|Spangler (W, 2-0)||2 2/3||3||2||2||0||1|
Umpires—Gus Rodriguez (Plate); Kevin Daugherty (First); Billy Haze (Third).