Can Hawaii build off its 2-1 win over Oklahoma last night?
A lot will hinge on the pitching of junior right-hander Kyle Von Ruden. Von Ruden is back in the starting rotation after coming out of the bullpen last week in Hawaii’s third game of the Houston College Classic. Von Ruden has posted a 2.20 ERA in three starts in which he’s pitched at least five innings all three times, but never gotten out of the sixth. Against Houston last week, he was perfect through three innings before giving up four runs in his fourth inning of work.
No changes tonight to UH’s lineup.
Craig Aikin, CF
Taylor Alspaugh, RF
Sheldon Neuse, SS
Anthony Hermelyn, 1B
Robert Tasin, DH
Kolbey Carpenter, 2B
Hunter Haley, LF
Chris Shaw, C
Quin Walbergh, 3B
LHP Jeffrey Curran (0-0, 2.41 ERA, 18 2/3 IP, 17 K)
Kaeo Aliviado, CF
J.J. Kitaoka, 3B
Eric Ramirez, 1B
Alex Sawelson, DH
Alan Baldwin, LF
Jordan Richartz, RF
Jonathan Weeks, 2B
Chayce Ka’aua, C
Jacob Sheldon-Collins, SS
RHP Kyle Von Ruden (1-1, 3.54 ERA, 20 1/3 IP, 16 K)
TOP 1: Von Ruden comes out and gets two quick strikeouts, pitching ahead in the count. Neuse hits a two-out single to left on a 2-0 pitch and takes second on a wild pitch. Hermelyn with a single to left but Baldwin guns down Neuse at the plate. Nice tag by Ka’aua to end the inning.
TOP 2: Carpenter hits a one-out fly to right. Richartz tries to make a diving catch but can’t and it rolls all the way to the wall. Carpenter scores on a ground out and Oklahoma leads 1-0. Second straight night a fielding miscue in right leads to a Sooners run.
Still 1-0 as we start the top of the fifth. Von Ruden at 64 pitches. This is where he’s started to slow down in his three starts. UH has two hits but left two on the in the bottom of the fourth.
TOP 5: Shaw hits a bullet off Kitaoka at third that ends up in the middle of nowhere and Shaw gets all the way to second. Ruled a double. Walbergh drops a bunt to third and Kitaoka charges but doesn’t get it out of his glove right away and Walbergh reaches on the hit. Danger time. UH gives up a run but gets the leadoff man, Aikin, to hit into a double play. 4-6-3. Von Ruden works out of it. Now at 80 pitches.
BOTTOM 5: Curran hits a rough spot here to start the fifth. Weeks with a nice leadoff single back up the middle and Ka’aua is hit by a pitch trying to bunt. Sheldon-Collins with a great bunt that is fielded by Curran but he has to hurry his throw and it’s wide of first. Weeks scores, Ka’aua to third, Sheldon-Collins to second. Curran then hits Aliviado and he’s done. Reliever coming in with the bases loaded and nobody out. Right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. is in. Garza does a good job throwing strikes and gets Kitaoka to hit into a double play but Ka’aua scores to tie it. Ramirez hits another hard grounder but right at the second baseman. UH only gets one more and we’re tied.
TOP 6: It takes eight pitches for Oklahoma to take a three-run lead. Hermelyn drills a one-out single, Carpenter drills a two-out RBI double over Baldwin’s head in left and then Haley swings away 3-0 and hits a bullet line-drive homer to right to make it 5-2. When Von Ruden loses it, he loses it pretty quick it seems.
Von Ruden’s final line: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
Andrew Jones works a couple of solid innings of relief. Neuse hit an absolute bomb to center in the eighth but Aliviado made the catch as he crashed into the wall. Neuse obviously frustrated. He thought he had two tonight.
BOTTOM 8: Thomas McIlraith on in the eighth for Garza, who was great. Ramirez and Sawelson both walk and McIlraith is out just like that. Jacob Evans in now. Baldwin with a pop out to shallow left. Richartz strikes out swinging on an offspeed pitch. Weeks with a fly ball to right and it gets past the glove of Alspaugh inside the line. Two runs in and Weeks comes sliding into third for a triple. It’s a one-run game. Ka’aua with a sharp single to left. Perfect swing on it and we’re tied 5-5. Three runs with two outs.
Jones gets the first out of the ninth before UH goes to its closer. Cody Culp, who got the save on Friday, gets two outs and we head to the bottom of the ninth.
BOTTOM 9: Aliviado drills a 3-2 pitch to right, but right at Alspaugh, who kind of misplays it. He had to go to the ground to get it. OUCH. TV replay shows the ball clearly was trapped. Should have been on base. Kitaoka is hit by an 0-2 pitch. Ramirez looks at a curve ball that was on the inside part of the plate. Looked a little high and inside but too close to take. Sawelson flies out to right.
First extra-inning game of the season for UH.
Culp gives up a leadoff single in the top of the 10th but gets out of it, getting the Nos. 3 and 4 guys out with Aikin on second.
Culp gives up a leadoff single again in the 11th. Carpenter can’t get a bunt down and flies out to center. Haley flies out to left. Shaw grounds out to short.
Culp walks the leadoff guy in the 12th on four pitches. Oklahoma sacrifices him over and then Culp walks Alspaugh. First and second with one out for Neuse, who singles to right. The throw in is cut off and the relay throw home gets past the catcher allowing a second run to score. Oklahoma adds one more on Heremelyn’s RBI double to go up 8-5. Culp gives up the runs but hard to fault the kid, who gave UH three chances to win shutting down Oklahoma in the ninth, 10th, 11th a day after recording a two-inning save.
UH got the first two on base but Evans locks it down. Hawaii is now 3-8 in games decided by three runs or less.