All along, I’ve felt Hawaii needed to be at .500 or better heading into Big West Conference play to have a realistic shot at the postseason. To do that, the Rainbow Warriors will need a win today against the Sooners, followed by four wins next week against a 2-15 New Mexico State team.
First chance to see LHP Jarrett Arakawa today. Arakawa worked two innings in his first outing last week in Houston.
Craig Aikin, CF
Taylor Alspaugh, RF
Sheldon Neuse, SS
Anthony Hermelyn, 1B
Kolbey Carpenter, LF
Robert Tasin, DH
Chris Shaw, C
Joshua Ake, 3B
Kyle Mendenhall, 2B
RHP Corey Copping (2-0, 2.40 ERA, 15 IP, 17 K)
Kaeo Aliviado, CF
J.J. Kitaoka, 3B
Eric Ramirez, 1B
Alex Sawelson, DH
Alan Baldwin, C
Jordan Richartz, RF
Jonathan Weeks, LF
Jacob Sheldon-Collins, SS
Conner Linebarger, 2B
LHP Jarrett Arakawa (0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2 IP, 0 K)
More lineup changes for UH. Baldwin moves to catcher to give Ka’aua a day off. Weeks moves from second base to left field and Linebarger gets his third start of the season at second.
TOP 1: A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 inning for Arakawa, who gets a strikeout of Alspaugh. Just like old times in that first inning. The plan is to get him to 50 pitches.
Very impressive three innings for Arakawa, who is at 35 pitches and given up only one hit with two strikeouts. Seven-pitch inning in the the third with two groundouts and a foul pop.
BOTTOM 3: Linebarger gets hit by a pitch to start and takes third on Aliviado’s single to right. Kitaoka gets behind 0-2 but fouls off a couple of tough pitches and then gets the sacrifice fly to right to score Linebarger. Nice at-bat by Kitaoka to give UH the early lead.
TOP 4: Five-pitch inning for Arakawa, who has Oklahoma confused at the plate. Sooners thinking they can rip every first pitch but just keep dribbling out to infielders. That’s what Arakawa does. He might even get a chance to start the fifth.
No matter what happens the rest of the game, THE story is Arakawa. 51 pitches in five complete innings, allowing two hits, no runs, no walks with two strikeouts. All of a sudden, you put THAT Arakawa with two junior draft prospects in Brashears and Brewster and you have yourself quite the starting rotation in the Big West with Culp as the closer. Got to develop a couple of middle relievers and hope Ventimilia and Doi can boost the offense when they get back for the UC Irvine series.
Josh Pigg in for Arakawa to start the sixth and gives up an infield hit, but no damage.
TOP 7: I don’t ever remember seeing a team walk two straight to start an inning late in games with a lead like Hawaii has. Pigg does exactly that in the seventh and is replaced by Valencia. Tasin puts down a perfect bunt and beats the throw to load the bases with nobody out. Valencia gets a double play out of Shaw but the Sooners score the tying run. Routine grounder to third to end it but Kitaoka’s throw is high. Austin O’Brien is called safe. It allows the go-ahead run to score. Brutal.
BOTTOM 7: Linebarger is hit by a pitch and Aliviado walks to put the tying run on second with one out. Kitaoka with a chance to make up for the error but instead hits into a double play. Rough game for him.
TOP 8: Valencia walks the No. 9 hitter to start and is replaced by Hatch. Bunt to the first base side but Linebarger forgets to cover first and everyone is safe. Two more walks bring in a run and a double play scored another. OKlahoma adds a two-out hit to lead 5-1.
Chew in for the ninth and gives up a run on a shallow fly that Weeks can’t snag.
Hawaii starts the ninth with singles by LoCoco and Weeks. Sheldon-Collins hits a grounder to second but Neuse drops the throw and everyone is safe as LoCoco runs in to score to make it 6-2. Aliviado rips a one-out single to right to bring in Weeks and suddenly UH has the tying run at the plate with one out.
Neuse finishes off the save. Sooners win 6-3 and take the series.