All eyes will be on Oklahoma starting pitcher Alec Hansen tonight. The 6-foot-7 sophomore right-hander can touch 101 miles per hour on the gun according to coach Pete Hughes. Hansen is in his first season as a full-time starter after throwing only 11 1/3 innings during his freshman year. So far, he has struck out 32 in 22 innings and allowed 20 hits and nine earned runs.
Quick note on Kaeo Aliviado, who has homered in four straight home games. As a team, Hawaii has homered in four straight home games only three times over the previous 13 seasons. UH did it twice in 2010 (four games against The Citadel, four games against Air Froce) and did it in six straight games in 2009 (1 vs. San Jose State, 4 vs. Sacramento State, 1 vs. Louisiana Tech). No individual has done it dating back to 2001.
Craig Aikin, CF
Taylor Alspaugh, RF
Sheldon Neuse, SS
Anthony Hermelyn, 1B
Hunter Haley, LF
Kolbey Carpenter, 2B
Robert Tasin, DH
Chris Shaw, C
Joshua Ake, 3B
RHP Alec Hansen (2-1, 3.68 ERA, 22 IP, 32 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 Tyler Brashears (2-2, 3.33 ERA, 24 1/3 IP, 14 K)
Senior Jordan Richartz starts in the outfield for the first time since the Oregon series as Sawelson moves to DH after his two-error performance last night at third. Sawelson has three errors in the last two games after going 13 straight games without one since the opener. Kitaoka moves to third and Weeks gets the start at second.
TOP 1: Brashears sitting 89-90 on the Oceanic gun, which would mean 91-92 if it’s the same gun as last night, which was roughly 2 MPH slow. Neuse goes down and drills a two-out double past a diving Kitaoka at third. Brashears walks Hermelyn for just his third free pass of the season. Haley drills a liner right at Richartz who makes the catch.
BOTTOM 1: Hansen sits 95-97 in the first inning and gets two strikeouts, dropping a 12-6 curve right over the plate to catch Ramirez looking to end it. 19 pitches though. UH made him work.
TOP 2: Brashears walks his second guy already and is in trouble as the first two guys reach. He falls behind 2-0 to Shaw, who had three hits last night, and Trapasso makes a visit. Brashears with three straight strikes to punch out Shaw and gets Ake to pop out to second. Aikin lines out to first and he’s out of it.
BOTTOM 2: Sawelson with a sharp single to left. Richartz with a high pop near the plate and the third baseman miss reads it. Somehow he’s getting a hit for that. Weeks walks and the bases are loaded. Hansen really struggling to find the plate and isn’t getting any calls from the plate umpire either. Ka’aya squares up a ball well hit but right at the centerfielder. It’s deep enough to bring in a run. Sheldon-Collins walks and the bases are loaded for Aliviado, who gets ahead 2-0 before flying out to left.
TOP 4: Carpenter doubles with one out just inside the bag at first. Richartz allows the ball to get by him and Carpenter takes third on the error. It results in a run as Tasin grounds out to first. Shaw strikes out. Should be a 1-0 game but those are the mistakes UH has been making pretty much all season.
BOTTOM 4: It’s another adventure on the mound for Hansen, who walks Ka’aua with one out. Sheldon-Collins goes with a breaking ball and pops it into left for a single. Ka’aua, who was running on the play, takes third. Aliviado strikes out on a slider for the second out. Kitaoka lifts a ball into left field. Haley charges in to make the catch but it’s off his glove and ruled a double. Ka’aua scores to make it 2-1. Ramirez is hit by a pitch and Sawelson gets good contact but flies out to fairly deep center.
Hansen is done. 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. Keaton Hernandez, the brother of UH student assistant and former catcher Landon, comes on in relief and strikes out two in the fifth. UH left eight on base in four innings against Hansen. Will it come back to hurt them?
TOP 7: Brashears at 102 pitches but comes out to start the seventh with Valencia getting warm in the bullpen. He gives up a leadoff single on the first pitch but Kitaoka starts a 5-4-3 double play on the next batter. Kitaoka, who also has two hits, is really playing his way into an every-day starter, at least until Ventimilia returns. Then it will be interesting to see what Trapasso does. Brashears with the strikeout. Seven great innings from Brashears, who is up to 110 pitches.
TOP 8: Valencia in for Brashears and walks two guys in nine pitches. Brutal. Culp now in. Oklahoma has just been given a golden opportunity to take the lead. Culp paints a 1-2 pitch on the outside corner to get a huge strikeout of Neuse. Hermelyn flies out to left for the second out and Haley ground out to first to end it.
Culp works a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his fourth save.