It’s show-me time for the Hawaii baseball team.
Unlike the last two years at this time when Hawaii was hindered by injuries heading into Big West Conference play, UH is good to go for tonight’s opener at UC Irvine. LHP Jarrett Arakawa, 2B Stephen Ventimilia and OF Marcus Doi are back, and while they may not be at 100 percent just yet, it’s still a much better situation for UH than at any other time since they joined the Big West.
The conference looks wide open this year as I wrote about in today’s Big West season preview. UH has hope with a starting three-man rotation that is a combined 7-4 with a 1.92 ERA and a bullpen that has gotten a couple of good outings in a row from key relievers Quintin Torres-Costa and Josh Pigg. Roles haven’t been completely defined yet, but if I had a guess, should UH hold a ninth-inning lead tonight against UC Irvine, Torres-Costa would be the guy they go with.
The Anteaters have dominated the Rainbow Warriors in BWC play, going a perfect 6-0. People forget that UH was 14-13 and 2-1 in conference with an RPI in the high 40s last year before UCI came in to Les Murakami Stadium and destroyed UH, outscoring the Rainbow Warriors 25-11. Hawaii never recovered from that series the rest of the year and was 4-17 in its last 21 league games.
Today’s game (and tomorrow) will be shown on ESPN3. Lineups and updates will follow below.
Stephen Ventimilia, 2B (.306, 4 2b, 8 runs)
Alan Baldwin, LF (.252, 1 HR, 11 RBIs)
Kaeo Aliviado, CF (.292, 4 HR, 16 RBIs)
Eric Ramirez, 1B (.284, 3 2b, 16 RBIs)
Jordan Richartz, RF (.221, 2 HR, 12 RBIs)
Marcus Doi, DH (.192, 4 runs)
J.J. Kitaoka, 3B (.224, 3 2b, 1 3b, 13 RBIs)
Chayce Ka’aua, C (.213, 4 2b, 10 RBIs)
Jacob Sheldon-Collins, SS (.237, 2 2b, 11 runs)
RHP L.J. Brewster (3-2, 1.83 ERA, 39 1/3 IP, 26 K)
UC Irvine (11-10)
Mikey Duarte, SS (.364, 10 2b, 14 runs)
Grant Palmer, LF (.316, 11 RBIs)
Keston Hiura, CF (.346, 6 2b, 4 HR, 15 RBIs)
Cameron Bishop, RF (.212, 3 HR, 9 RBIs)
Andrew Martinez, DH (.324, 6 HR, 12 RBIs)
Mitchell Holland, 1B (.328, 4 2b, 8 runs)
Jerry McClanahan, C (.250, 1 HR, 14 runs)
Parker Coss, 3B (.255, 1 2b, 8 runs)
Cole Kreuter, 2B (.200, 1 2b, 4 runs)
LHP Elliot Surrey (2-2, 3.00 ERA, 42 IP, 38 K)
TOP 1: Surrey needs only five pitches to get through the top of the first.
BOTTOM 1: Not the same start on the mound for UH as Brewster throws four straight balls to Duarte and then the next offering is a wild pitch to move Duarte to second. Ka’aua with a quick mound visit and Brewster gets a pop up by Palmer after a couple of failed bunt attempts. Hiura grounded out to short but Bishop, the freshman, with a two-out double over the head of Aliviado to score the first run. Martinez flies out to right.
TOP 2: Hawaii gets singles from Richartz and Kitaoka in the inning but strand two as Ka’aua first-pitch pops out to shallow right.
BOTTOM 2: Much better inning for Brewster, who does give up an infield hit, but also gets a strikeout. None of those balls were hit hard.
BOTTOM 3: Duarte with a leadoff single on the first pitch but is erased on the 6-3 double play. Brewster pains a beautiful fastball low and inside for strike three. Another solid inning for L.J.
TOP 4: Aliviado is hit with a pitch for the eighth time this season and UH has the leadoff guy on for the first time. Ramirez, a .284 hitter, up against the fellow lefty but UH elects not to try and bunt. Really haven’t seen this team interested in bunting runners over like they did the first two weeks of the season. It pays off as Ramirez draws a six-pitch walk. Now UH will bunt but Aliviado is picked off 2-6 as they throw behind the runner. Another just terrible mistake that this team has been making all year. They take the bunt off and Richartz strikes out. Doi with a nice line drive over the shortstop for a base hit moving Ramirez to third. A run would have scored. Instead it’s runners at the corners for Kitaoka, who bounces out to second.
TOP 5: Great AB for Ka’aua to lead off, fouling off two tough two-strike pitches before taking two balls and then ripping a single to left. Sheldon-Collins bunts him over to second. Ventimilia hits one right back at Surrey for the second out. Baldwin grounds out to third.
BOTTOM 6: A little bit of trouble for Brewster here in the sixth as Hiura singles with one out and then Bishop reaches on an infield single. Great stop up the middle by Ventimilia but Ramirez can’t pick it at first. Ryan Cooper in to run for Bishop. Martinez rips a grounder to first. Ramirez gets the out at second but the throw back to Brewster at first isn’t out three as Brewster can’t touch the bag. Should have been a double play. Instead UCI has a chance with runners at the corners. Holland with a grounder deep in the hole at short and they get the runner as Ramirez makes a great stretch at first for the third out.
We had some site issues crop up in the seventh inning. UC Irvine wins 2-0. Surrey (3-2) throws a six-hit shutout with seven strikeouts. He struck out the side in the ninth. Marcus Doi went 3-for-4 for UH. Brewster (3-3) allowed two runs on seven hits in eight inning with three walks and three strikeouts in going the distance. UH is now 9-17, 0-1. UCI is 12-10, 1-0.