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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, March 6, 2000

R A I N B O W _ B A S E B A L L


Owls spell relief
with an 8-4 win
over ’Bows

By Al Chase


The Rice Owls finally won the ninth inning of a baseball game.

That statement might sound strange, but the Owls' last three losses happened in their opponents final at-bats. And, in losing six of their last seven games, the Owls had been outscored, 22-9, after the eighth inning.

"We expected to have great relief pitching this year and it's been a tremendous disappointment," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham.

The University of Hawaii Rainbows threw a scare into the Owls in the bottom of the ninth inning yesterday before losing, 8-4.

The teams play the rubber game of the three-game Western Athletic Conference series tonight starting at 6:35.

"You wouldn't believe how glad I was to get that run in the ninth inning," said Graham.

"We had to get out of range of the grand slam home run, then we didn't. We got back into range."

Eric Arnold's RBI single in the top of the ninth boosted the Rice lead to 8-3.

But UH leadoff hitter Sean Takamori, who was 4-for-4, sliced a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line that ricocheted off the black chain link fence and past left-fielder Jesse Ramon to the wall. Takamori circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

When Scooter Martines and Danny Kimura reached base on one-out walks, the 1,593 fans, largest Rainbow Stadium crowd of the season, sensed another comeback in the making.

However, Ramon, who had crushed a pinch hit, three-run homer off the scoreboard in the eighth inning, came on in relief. He hit Kenn Wakakuwa with a 3-2 pitch to load the bases before retiring the final two Rainbows. Patrick Scalabrini flied out to short center field and Jamie Aloy struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch.

"I didn't want to get beat on my fastball because the last two times I went out there, I got beat on my fastball," Ramon said. "I threw mostly sliders."

Graham and UH head coach Les Murakami both thought the pitch Aloy fanned on was ball four.

"That was a tough at-bat for Aloy. The pitch was too tough to hit and too close to take," said Graham.

Ramon's homer came off a low fastball from Bryan Lee.

"Bringing Lee in is OK, but it's not his fault. I think I should have walked the guy," said Murakami.

"All in all, we didn't take advantage of our opportunities. We hit the ball hard, especially Danny Kimura and Kenn Wakakuwa, but straight at people. We put pressure on their guy (Rice starter Jon Skaggs), but not enough."

Skaggs walked seven, threw five wild pitches and hit a batter, but kept escaping serious trouble when the Rainbows failed to produce the key hit. UH left 12 men on the bases.

Owls 8, Rainbows 4

Rice abrhbiHawaii abrhb1
Smith 2b5220Takamori rf4241
Ghutzman 1b5021Honma cf3100
Gray cf5000Mitchell ph1000
Arnold 3b-lf3121Martines lf2001
Bryan dh5110Kimura dh4000
Michaelis pr0000Purtell pr 0 0 00
Van Noy rf4110Wakakuwa 2b3100
Ackal lf2220Scalabrini 3b4000
Roman ph-lf-p1113Aloy 1b3020
Fox ss2012Bock c3011
Lukin c 4011Pico ss1000

Baker ph1000Nogawa ss1000
Totals 36 8 13 8 Totals30473

Rice110 101 031 - 8 130
Hawaii010 010 011 - 4 71

E-Aloy (3).

DP-Rice 1 (Fox-Smith-Ghutzman), UH 2 (Pico-Wakakuwa-Aloy 2). LOB-Rice 7, UH12.

2B-Smith 2 (7), Ghutzman (5), Bock (1). 3B-Ackal (1), Fox (1). HR-Roman (1). SB-Takamori (8). S-Van Noy (1), Fox (3), Honma (1).

Skaggs (W, 3-0) 753374
Adler 21120
Roman 00001
Ho L, 2-3)7106635

Skaggs pitched to two batters in the eighth inning.

WP-Skaggs 5 (6), Ho (2). HBP-Wakakuwa (by Skaggs and Roman). Umpires-Montalbo (plate), Eldridge (first), Rodriguez (third). T-2:57. A-1,593.

WAC standings


Fresno State51.833144.778
Texas Christian21.667713.350
San Jose State33.500115.688

Saturday's results

Hawaii, 10, Rice 9
Fresno State 7, Hawaii-Hilo 3
Texas Christian 6, San Jose State 4

Yesterday's results

Rice 8, Hawaii, 4
San Jose State 5, Texas Christian 3

Today's games

Rice at Hawaii, 6:35 p.m.
Temple at Fresno State

Tomorrow's games

Texas Christian at Texas

Creighton at Fresno State


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