Next up: Oklahoma.
The baseball team returns home for the first time in 19 days to start a four-game series with the Sooners. The big difference between today and nearly three weeks ago is that junior L.J. Brewster has taken over as the team’s No. 1 starter. Here’s today’s feature story on him.
Hawaii needs to start getting some wins in a hurry. Only nine games left before the start of conference play. To have any shot at at-large consideration for a regional, it pretty much must win at least three games against the Sooners, who are 12-7.
Updates throughout the afternoon/evening will follow.
Craig Aikin, CF (.377, 5 2bs, 22 runs)
Taylor Alspaugh, RF (.296, HR, 11 RBIs)
Sheldon Neuse, SS (.343, 5 HRs, 22 RBIs)
Anthony Hermelyn, 1B (.315, 5 2bs, 16 RBIs)
Hunter Haley, LF (.147, 2 HR, 7 RBIs)
Kolbey Carpenter, 2B (.312, 4 HR, 13 RBIs)
Robert Tasin, DH (.286, 2b, 2 runs)
Chris Shaw, C (.220, 3 HR, 8 RBIs)
Joshua Ake, 3B (.303, 5 2bs, 8 runs)
RHP Jake Elliot (2-1, 3.28 ERA, 24 2/3 IP, 27 K)
Kaeo Aliviado, CF (.267, 3 HR, 10 RBIs)
J.J. Kitaoka, 2B (.265, 2b, 3b, 7 RBIs)
Eric Ramirez, 1B (.309, 2b, 11 RBIs)
Alex Sawelson, 3B (.245, 2b, 7 runs)
Alan Baldwin, LF (.271, 2 2b, HR, 8 RBIs)
Jordan Richartz, DH (.224, 3 2bs, 2 HRs, 11 RBIs)
Matt Miller, RF (.444, 2b, 3 runs)
Chayce Ka’aua, C (.225, 2 2bs, 8 RBIs)
Jacob Sheldon-Collins, SS (.213, 2 2bs, 6 runs)
RHP L.J. Brewster (3-1, 1.75 ERA, 25 2/3 IP, 21 K)
No Stephen Ventimilia in the lineup for UH. He will likely sit out the entire series. UH is 4-4 with him and 2-6 without him in the lineup.
TOP 1:11-pitch first inning for Brewster, who goes 1-2-3. Fastball sat at 87-88 on the Oceanic gun.
BOTTOM 1: Ramirez caught looking at a 93-MPH heater as UH is retired in order. Two strikeouts for Jake Elliott, who is sitting 90-91.
BOTTOM 2: Sawelson singles on the first pitch for the first hit of the game. Baldwin bunts the first pitch foul and swings away 0-1. He eventually strikes out, as does Richartz. Miller gets to 3-2 and bounces out to pitcher.
TOP 3: Brewster leaves a 2-2 pitch up and Shaw drills it past Sawelson at third for a leadoff double. Ake drops a bunt but Brewster fields quickly and fires to third to get the lead runner. Those third-base skills paying off there. Aikin, Oklahoma’s leading hitter, hits a 3-2 pitch back up the middle for a base hit. Aliviado tries to get the guy going to third but it allows Aikin to reach second, taking UH out of the double play. UH brings its infield in. Alspaugh hits a ball just past Ramirez at first. Two runners in and Alspaugh takes second on the throw again. Oklahoma aggressive and UH letting it happen. Heremelyn is first-pitch swinging with two outs and hits an RBI double to left. Man this Oklahoma team looks good. Four hits in the inning off Brewster, who gets out of the inning.
BOTTOM 3: Man, Oklahoma is impressive. UH has Sheldon-Collins on second (HBP) and Aliviado at first (walk) with one out. Kitaoka hits a shallow looper into right field but Taylor Alspaugh makes a great diving catch. Then Heremelyn snags a sharply hit grounder by Ramirez behind the bag at first and flips to the pitcher. Sooners are doing it all so far. So impressed.
Hats off to Brewster tonight. This is as bad as he’s struggled all year and yet he’s been able to put up three straight zero’s after that third inning. UH still within shouting distance, trailing 3-0, bottom 6.
Brewster exits with two outs in the seventh and a runner on third. Alex Hatch in to face the leadoff hitter, Aikin. Hatch falls behind 3-0 but gets him to fly out to center to end it. Final line for Brewster: 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K. Clearly didn’t have his best stuff but kept UH in it.
TOP 8: Hatch takes a ball right off his left forearm it looks like. The ball goes into center as Hatch loses his glove and is hurt. He manages to shake it off. Oklahoma gets two hits and a Haley sacrifice fly makes it 4-0.
BOTTOM 8: Aliviado homers with one out in the eighth. It’s the fourth straight home game Aliviado has hit a home run in after going deep just once in his first three seasons. Amazing. Elliott is temporarily rattled as he walks Kitaoka, but Ramirez hits into an inning-ending double play.
Tasin hit a leadoff single off Hatch and Shaw followed with an RBI double off Josh Pigg to add a run for the Sooners in the ninth. Lawrence Chew got both guys out he faced to end the inning.
Neuse, the shortstop, moves to the mound to pitch the ninth. Elliott’s final line is 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
BOTTOM 9: Sawelson goes with an 0-2 pitch and hits it into the hole between first and second for a leadoff single. Baldwin draws a walk and here we go. UH wakes up in the ninth inning of yet another game. Richartz with a deep drive into left-center but Aikin makes a diving catch in center. That would have made this interesting. LoCoco with a sinking fly ball to center and Aikin makes another diving catch. Unbelievable. Ka’aua squares up a ball and hits a line drive that holds up and is caught in left. Ball game.