A day later, and that one still hurts.
Hawaii couldn’t hold a five-run lead against one of the best pitchers in the entire Big West on Friday, losing 7-5 to open the series at Cal Poly.
A look at the Big West standings shows exactly how big of a win that would have been. UH would have jumped into a tie for third place and had a great opportunity to steal a series win on the road against the Mustangs. Instead, Hawaii is looking up at six teams ahead of it with no room for error the rest of the weekend. The offense needs to keep rolling and Tyler Brashears must have a good outing to at least get to a rubber game on Sunday.
Brashears has been stellar of late, giving up more than one earned run only once in his last five starts and five earned runs total in 33 1/3 innings. He struck out a career-high nine in last weekend’s victory over UC Davis.
First pitch is 3 p.m. Lineups and updates to follow.
Hawaii 12-21, 3-4
Stephen Ventimilia, 2B (.254, 4 2b, 1 3b, 13 runs)
Alan Baldwin, RF (.277, 3 2b, 2 3b, 1 HR, 12 RBIs)
Kaeo Aliviado, CF (.289, 6 2b, 1 3b, 4 HR, 23 RBIs)
Alex Sawelson, DH (.289, 3 2b, 11 RBIs)
Eric Ramirez, 1B (.292, 4 2b, 23 RBIs)
Marcus Doi, LF (.229, 8 runs)
JJ Kitaoka, 3B (.232, 3 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR, 17 RBIs)
Chayce Ka’aua, C (.250, 7 2b, 13 RBIs)
Jacob Sheldon-Collins, SS (.267, 3 2b, 1 3b, 16 runs)
RHP Tyler Brashears (4-3, 2.49 ERA, 50 2/3 IP, 37 K)
Cal Poly 12-18, 2-2
Mark Mathias, 2B (.309, 4 2b, 20 runs)
Peter Van Gansen, SS (.347, 6 2b, 2 3b, 16 RBIs)
Brian Mundell, DH (.355, 5 2b, 5 HR, 20 RBIs)
Zack Zehner, LF (.289, 5 2b, 2 3b, 5 HR, 27 RBIs)
Jordan Ellis, CF (.295, 6 2b, 2 3b, 15 runs)
Brett Barbier, C (.225, 1 2b, 1 3b, 2 HR, 6 RBIs)
Ryan Drobny, 1B (.253, 3 2b, 1 HR, 10 RBIs)
John Schuknecht, RF (.205, 2 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR, 11 RBIs)
Tommy Pluschkell, 3B (.263, 3 2b, 1 3b, 11 runs)
LHP Kyle Smith (2-5, 3.76 ERA, 40 2/3 IP, 36 K)
Both pitches go 1-2-3 in the first inning. Brashears threw only six pitches.
TOP 2: Hawaii gets its first two hits on singles by Sawelson and Ramirez to lead off. Doi lays down a bunt but Smith is able to field it and go to third for the out. Kitaoka then hits a ball into shallow right that Schucknecht catches and then doubles off Ramirez at second. Ramirez was almost at the plate when that happened. He must have thought it was going to drop the entire way.
BOTTOM 2: Barbier with a two-out single and Drobny draws a walk but Brashears comes up with three great pitches to strike out Schucknecht on a check swing.
TOP 4: Baldwin bunts for a base hit to lead off and scores on Ramirez’s two-out blooper into shallow left that falls. Hawaii scores first for the second straight day. Doi absolutely drills a 3-2 pitch over the head of Ellis in center. He is thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple but Ramirez scores on the play to give UH a 2-0 lead.
BOTTOM 4: Ellis with a two-out double but Brashears strikes out the side to give him five so far.
Ka’aua with a single in the fifth but Hawaii can’t do anything with it. Interesting note on Ka’aua, he’s hitting .500 (8-for-16) over his last five games and has upped his season average to .256 with a team-high seven doubles. I’ve been impressed with him from Game 1 all the way through. He’s having a really good year behind the plate, especially for a freshman that sat out last season. He’s going to be a big part of this program for the next 3+ years.
TOP 6: A two-out double by Sawelson and walks by Ramirez (intentional) and Doi load the bases but Kitaoka pops out and UH leaves three.
BOTTOM 7: Ellis lead off with a single. First leadoff guy to get on for Cal Poly. Drobny with a one-out single on a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. Kevin Morgan comes up as the pinch hitter and hits a comebacker to Brashears, who goes to first for the second out. Ellis takes off for home and the throw is wide, hitting Ellis, who slides in safe. First run for Cal Poly. Pluschkell hits a grounder to short but the throw to first is in the dirt and Cal Poly ties it on an error by Sheldon-Collins. Unbelievable. Mathias crushed an RBI triple off the wall in left-center to make it 3-2. That’s it for Brashears as Torres-Costa comes in. Torres-Costa walks Van Gansen and that’s trouble as it brings up the righty Mundell to face the lefty. Mundell draws a five-pitch walks. Back-to-back walks by Torres-Costa, who then strikes out Zehner to end the inning.
Tyler Brashears final line: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K.
Kyle Smith’s final line: 8 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
TOP 9: Danny Zandona in for the second straight night to go for the save. Hawaii struck out in five of six at-bats against him on Friday. Doi strikes out to start and Jordan Richartz comes in to hit for Kitaoka. Richartz strikes out looking at a pitch for our two. Ka’aua gives Zandona a battle, fouling off a couple of tough pitches, and he eventually draws a walk. Good AB for him. Matt Miller pinch-hits for Sheldon-Collins. Miller gets it to 3-2 but swings at some high heat and it’s over. Zandona earns his sixth save and has struck out eight of the 10 he’s faced in the series.
Some ugly numbers this season.
1-8 in true road games.
2-10 away from home.
2-8 in one-run games
8-7 when leading after five innings
There’s your season right there.