It took a village of pitchers in the first game and enough offensive juice in a four-inning second game to power a small city for UH-Hilo’s baseball team to get out of town with what it wanted.
After a long, marathon weekend was cut short when the Vulcans bolted for the airport, they headed home with the best of tastes in their mouth.
“Definitely,” coach Kallen Miyataki said. “We couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Vuls swept Hawaii Pacific 6-4 and 11-8 at Les Murakami Stadium in Honolulu, winning five of six games in the series.
During a span of a little more than 48 hours, UHH (9-5, 9-2 PacWest) used 21 pitchers and got by without one of its starters – Cameron Scudder was injured.
Brandyn Lee-Lehano earned both wins Sunday after picking up a victory Saturday in relief, and John Kea made four appearances in the series, nailing down three saves.
“I think everybody deserves credit,” Miyataki said. “The boys played their butts off, and I think this is going to help us build a lot of character.”
Jamieson Hirayama was member of the 21 Club on Sunday, pitching a scoreless inning in relief of spot starter Jacob Liberta in the first game and getting one out in the second game after Seth Kamalu Tuasivi made his debut and gave up four runs.
In the opener, the Vulcans couldn’t solve HPU starter Maxime Beaulieu, who was making his first start on the mound and just his second appearance of the year. The 6-foot-5 freshman stymied the visitors through the first six innings, not allowing a run while giving up only three hits. His team got him three runs against a committee of UHH pitchers, taking a 3-0 lead into the seventh.
Beaulieu finally tired, walking the first two batters of the inning. He left the game with two runners on, and UHH pinch hitter Rustin Ho greeted the next reliever with an RBI single. Trey Yukomoto bunted home a run, and the Vulcans were back in it trailing only 3-2. The Sharks would add another run in the bottom of the seventh.
An error opened the door for a UHH rally in the eighth and Kobie Russell made the Sharks pay with an RBI double. With the bases loaded, Gaven Palagonia walked home a run and Ho hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4 UH HIlo. The Vulcans added insurance in the ninth when Chris Aubort singled, stole second and third and then was brought home by Teppei Fukuda.
Lee-Lehano, UHH’s fifth pitcher, worked a scoreless and hitless inning in the seventh and Kea did the same for the final two innings to preserve the win. UHH had nine hits in the game, six of them after Beaulieu left. Jaryn Kanbara and Aubort had two each.
In the second game, the two teams combined for 25 hits. UH Hilo had 13 hits in 22 at-bats and five stolen bases. Eight of the nine Vulcan starters had hits, with five players sporting multiple basehits.
The Vulcans never trailed in the game, scoring five runs in the top of the first.