POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 19, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 3:00 a.m. HST, Apr 19, 2011
Louisiana Tech wasn't going to let Kolten Wong play the role of hero again.
Jeff Van Doornum had no problem taking the honor upon himself.
Van Doornum erased a 2-all tie after Wong was intentionally walked, doubling home two runs in the seventh inning to spur the Rainbows to a 5-2 victory over Louisiana Tech last night.
A Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 1,207 witnessed Hawaii (21-15) improve to 7-1 in the Western Athletic Conference, moving 1 1/2 games ahead of idle Fresno State.
"We talk about the WAC being 24 games and each game has its own weight in value, but I told the guys before the game let's not kid ourselves," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said.
"This was a big game because it could win a series for us, get us off to a 7-1 start, and lets us take care of business at home because three of our last four WAC series are on the road and you've got to take care of business at home."
Wong, who hit a walk-off homer against the Bulldogs in the WAC tournament last year, was intentionally walked for the second time in three games in a key situation. Van Doornum, hitting .289 for the year, lined a 2-0 pitch to the wall in right field for a double to give UH a lead it wouldn't give away.
"They walked Kolten with an open base as usual to make it easier on the defense to get the force out," Van Doornum said. "They came back with a fastball and I finally got the hit to help the team win."
Wong drew five free passes in the series and has seen his walk numbers balloon in recent weeks. Twelve of his 23 walks have come in the past eight games, but he's managed to stay disciplined at the plate.
"We knew coming into the series I wasn't going to get much to hit, so it was clutch of Jeff to get that base hit to score two runs and it was really a game-changer," Wong said.
Blair Walters and Lenny Linsky came up big in relief of starter Zach Gallagher, who allowed two runs on seven hits in 5 2⁄3 innings in his fourth start this year.
Hawaii's two best relievers allowed one runner to reach base over the final 3 2⁄3 innings.
Walters (4-1) earned the win and Linsky worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save, moving him into sole possession of third on the school's career list with 19.
"As the game settled and Zach was able to get us into the sixth, we were willing to take our chances with Blair and Lenny," Trapasso said. "Against a team like this with the way we pitched in four games, I'm really proud of our guys."
Hawaii made the most of its four hits, doing what it struggled to do all weekend. Michael Blake's RBI double helped UH take a 2-0 lead in the second and Zack Swasey went 2-for-4 with a run scored, finishing with five hits in the series.
Mark Threlkeld hit a two-run double for the Bulldogs, who dropped to 18-18 overall and 3-5 in league play.
Hawaii's seven-week, 27-game homestand comes to an end on Saturday for the last of three games against Valparaiso. Twelve of UH's final 16 games after that are on the road, including a key WAC series at Fresno State beginning in nine days.
|Last night's game
HAWAII 5, LOUISIANA TECH 2
E--Threlkeld; Hedges; Kitamura. DP--LaTech 2; Hawaii 1. LOB--LaTech 6; Hawaii 8. 2B--Roliard; Threlkeld; Ford; Johnson; Van Doornum; Blake. HBP--Ewing. SH--Ewing; Almadova; Champion. CS--Ewing; Gebhardt.
HBP--by Gallagher (Ewing)
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