Baseball can be a strange game.
Of the four Big West games the Rainbow Warriors have played, Thursday was the sloppiest. Of course, it turned out to be their first conference victory as Hawaii went on the offensive in an 8-3 victory over UC Davis, handing the Aggies their first loss in conference play.
Hitting the ball and scoring runs can do wonders for a team that didn’t have to play its best because it put eight runs up on the board. L.J. Brewster had his worst start of the season, walking seven in 5 2/3 innings and uncorking four wild pitches. Still, he got the win a week after taking the loss throwing a complete game and allowing only two runs against UC Irvine.
Yes, baseball can be a strange game.
Seniors Stephen Ventimilia (1-2, 2 walks, 3 runs, 2 RBIs) and Kaeo Aliviado (3-5, 2b, 4 RBIs) got the job done offensively and the bullpen was outstanding. Junior Kyle Von Ruden struggled after coming in for Brewster, but was bailed out by Matt Valencia, who struck out two with two runners on to end the seventh and worked a scoreless eighth. Cody Culp pitched a scoreless ninth as Hawaii managed to save Quintin Torres-Costa, who would have come in for Valencia in the eighth had UH not scored an insurance run.
The feeling has been if UH can get a couple of breaks to go its way and get a couple of wins and get some momentum, this team could go on a run and be successful. Last night the ‘Bows got some breaks. Now let’s see if they can build on their first conference win.
UC Davis (18-8-1, 3-1)
Tanner Bily, RF (.217, 3 2b, 15 RBIs)
Tino Lipson, 2B (.352, 6 2b, 3 3b, 1 HR, 15 RBIs)
Nick Lynch, 1B (.398, 18 2b, 1 3b, 2 HR, 21 RBIs)
Austin March, LF(.324, 6 2b, 20 runs)
Izaak Silva, C (.352, 9 2b, 2 3b, 18 RBIs)
Guillermo Salazar, DH (.417, 1 2b, 5 RBIs)
Alex Aguiar, 3B (.250, 1 2b, 8 RBIs)
John Williams, CF (.312, 5 2b, 11 RBIs)
Brad Pluschkell, SS (.355, 3 2b, 1 3b, 5 RBIs)
LHP Orlando Razo (4-1, 2.50 ERA, 39 2/3 IP, 29 K)
Hawaii (10-19, 1-3)
Stephen Ventimilia, 2B (.255, 4 2b, 1 3b, 12 runs)
Alan Baldwin RF (.274, 2 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR, 11 RBIs)
Kaeo Aliviado, CF (.283, 4 2b, 1 3b, 4 HR, 20 RBIs)
Alex Sawelson, DH (.273, 3 2b, 10 RBIs)
Marcus Doi, LF (.211, 6 runs)
Eric Ramirez, 1B (.273, 3 2b, 19 RBIs)
J.J. Kitaoka, 3B (.237, 3 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR, 15 RBIs)
Chayce Ka’aua, C (.208, 5 2b, 10 RBIs)
Jacob Sheldon-Collins, SS (.230, 2 2b, 13 runs)
RHP Tyler Brashears (3-3, 2.74 ERA, 42 2/3 IP, 28 K)
TOP 1: Brashears sitting 90-91 on his fastball but gives up a leadoff single. Bily swipes second off a high throw by Ka’aua. That might be the worst throw to second I’ve seen out of Ka’aua all year. One out, runner on third and Brashears gets a huge strikeout of Lynch on three pitches and then gets March to fly out to right 0-2. Boy, Brashears looks like he has his good stuff tonight.
BOTTOM 1: Hawaii gets a one-out double by Baldwin but leaves him at third as Aliviado and Sawelson ground out to the right side. Razo definitely takes his time in between pitches but is effective.
BOTTOM 2: The second inning was good to UH last night and it is again tonight. After Doi reaches on an infield single, two walks load the bases for Ka’aua, who drills a grounder inside the bag at third. All three runners will score as Ka’aua is into second for his team-leading sixth double. UH tries to bunt first and second with nobody out and Kitaoka failed twice, but then drew a walk. Sheldon-Collins tries to bunt and fouls out to the catcher so after executing on Thursday, UH has screwed up bunts twice already. Nonetheless the ‘Bows are still in business. Ventimilia draws a 3-2 walk and Ka’aua steals third on the pitch. Ventimilia then steals second on a 1-0 pitch to Baldwin. UH making things happen out there. Real nice to see. Baldwin draws the fourth walk of the inning issued by Razo to load the bases for Aliviado, who hits a sacrifice fly to left for his team-leading 21st RBI. Razo throws a strike to Sawelson and then motions to the dugout. Looks like he’s hurting. Left elbow it seems. He’s out and UCD has to go to its bullpen in the second inning. Matt Blais in. UH pulls off a double steal but Sawelson fouls out to the catcher. Four runs, four walks, four stolen bases in the inning.
Brashears has retired seven in a row and already tied a career high with six strikeouts through four innings. He has as good of pure “stuff” as any UH starter I’ve seen in awhile. He’s really dialed in.
BOTTOM 4: Sheldon-Collins leads off with a single and Ventimilia lays down a bunt to move him into scoring position. Aliviado gets the job done with a laser that nearly takes out the pitcher for a two-out RBI single. Six RBIs in the series already for Aliviado.
BOTTOM 5: UH pours it on with two outs as Ka’aua singles to put runners on first and second and then Sheldon-Collins drives in two with a triple down the right-field line. It’s now 7-0…make that 8-0 as Ventimilia drives in Sheldon-Collins with a single up the middle.
TOP 6: Brashears opens up the sixth allowing three consecutive singles to load the bases with nobody out. Trapasso makes a quick mound visit and Brashears gets a grounder to second. Ventimilia does a great job starting a not-so-easy double play. UCD gets one run but then Brashears strikes out Silva looking for his eighth K.
Ka’aua and Sheldon-Collins, the 8 and 9 hitters in UH’s lineup, are now 8-for-13 with seven runs and five RBIs in this series. Brashears back out for the eighth at 96 pitches.
TOP 8: Ka’aua throws out Pluschkell trying to steal second to end the eighth. Brashears current line: 8 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.
BOTTOM 8: Reliever Cameron Law enters for UC Davis and walks 1…2….3…4….5 in a row. Matt LoCoco and Ramirez credited with RBIs. Kitaoka with a sac fly to make it 11-1.
Josh Pigg in for the ninth and it’s not very successful. A leadoff triple is followed by Baldwin dropping a routine fly ball in left. Pigg then walks the next two, falling down on a wild pitch to allow a run to score, and falls behind 2-0 to the next guy before being replaced by Eric Gleese. Gleese walks the batter, which is charged to Pigg to make it 11-3. Gleese strikes out Williams, the center fielder, for the first out. Gleese with a second strikeout to end the game.