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Utah Valley blasts 'Bows


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POSTED: Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chris Benson hit the third cycle in Utah Valley history as the Wolverines snapped a five-game losing steak with a 12-1 win over Hawaii last night before a Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 2,979.

Justin Smith (8-4) overpowered the Rainbows for 126 pitches over 8 1/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out 10.

Benson, who entered the game with a .319 average, hit the second cycle by the Wolverines this year and second against a Division I team.

The last player to hit for the cycle for Hawaii was Neal Honma on April 6, 1996.

On this night, the Rainbows couldn't hit for the cycle as a team with the way Smith was dealing. At one point, he retired 14 batters in a row and put an end to Kolten Wong's day after six innings as Wong popped out to the shortstop with two runners on base in one of Hawaii's few scoring chances.

Wong was replaced in the top of the seventh by Jeff Van Doornum, who played right field while Matt Roquemore switched over to center.

Before the Rainbows came to the plate last night, they were already in comeback mode, as the Wolverines put up two runs in the first.

Benson got the hard hits out of the way first, tripling home two runs in the first. Utah Valley doubled its lead in the fourth as Benson ripped a double to put runners on second and third with nobody out.

Goose Kallunki followed with a two-run single before UH starter Nate Klein settled down and finished the inning without allowing another run.

He didn't come out for the fifth, as Jesse Moore came on in relief. Klein (4-5) allowed five hits and four runs with one walk and three strikeouts.

Despite the new look on the mound, Benson continued to slug away, mashing a solo homer in the sixth to put UVU up 5-0.

He finished the cycle with a single in the eighth as the Wolverines put the game out of reach with two more runs in the eighth. An error by Kevin Macdonald allowed Billy Burgess and Benson to score.

Sean Montplaisir scored Hawaii's lone run on a balk after tripling to lead off the seventh.

Benson added another RBI to his total by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the ninth off Josh Slaats. His final stat line for the night was 4-for-4 with four runs and four RBIs.

Hawaii (31-23) finishes up its regular season today with the final game of the series at 1:05 p.m. Seniors Jared Alexander, Ryan Morford, Shane Hoey, Landon Hernandez and Jayson Kramer will be honored after the game.

Notes

The Rainbows will be either the fifth or sixth seed in this week's Western Athletic Conference tournament depending on the outcome of today's game between San Jose State and Nevada.

The Spartans clinched the regular-season WAC title and No. 1 seed with a sweep of the Wolf Pack yesterday. Sacramento State will be the odd team out after losing two games to Fresno State, which has secured the third seed thanks to a tiebreaker over New Mexico State. Louisiana Tech will be the second seed.

Before last night's game, legendary Mid-Pacific coach Dunn Muramaru was awarded with the 2009 Chuck Leahey Award.

WAC Standings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 ConferenceOverall
 WLPct. GBW-L
San Jose State147.667 38-18
Louisiana Tech1311.542 21/28-20
New Mexico State1212.500 3 1/241-15
Fresno State1212.500 3 1/228-27
Hawaii1112.478 431-23
Nevada1012.455 4 1/225-28
Sacramento State814.364 6 1/227-27

Yesterday
Utah Valley 12, Hawaii 1
Fresno State 11, Sacramento State 8
Fresno State 7, Sacramento State 6
San Jose State 4, Nevada 2
San Jose State 5, Nevada 1
Mew Mexico State 8, Louisiana Tech 3

Today
Utah Valley at Hawaii, 1:05 p.m.
Nevada at San Jose State, 10:05 a.m.