Once again, the Hawaii baseball team did everything but punch that last needed run across home plate.
|Batted 3-for-3 to double
his hit total for the year
Mike Marjama singled and scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, and host Long Beach State escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth to hang on and defeat Hawaii 4-3 last night at Blair Field.
The Rainbows (5-7) wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to Texas to finish their opening seven-game homestand on Feb. 27. Eight days later, UH squandered a bases-filled opportunity yet again to finish its first road trip of the season 2-3.
Hawaii’s seven losses are by a combined 14 runs, and the Rainbows are 1-4 in their past five games decided by a run.
"We’ve got to get the big hits when it counts and that’s part of a team coming together," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "Playing a difficult schedule like we have makes things challenging, but we’re battling and we’re going to come out better because of it."
Zack Swasey doubled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, and Pi’ikea Kitamura went 3-for-3 with an RBI triple, reaching base in all four plate appearances.
Kitamura’s one-out single in the ninth was followed by a pinch-hit single by Michael Blake. Lions freshman Josh Frye walked Kolten Wong on four pitches to load the bases, but got his first save with a strikeout of Swasey and a groundout by Sean Montplaisir.
Jeff Yamaguchi had two hits and scored a run for the Dirtbags (6-6), who have won three in a row and four of their past five.
LBSU scored twice in the first inning, taking advantage of an error by catcher David Peterson trying to throw out Brennan Metzger stealing third.
The Dirtbags, who stole four bases in the game, made it 3-0 in the second when UH starter Jarrett Arakawa hit Matt Hibbert with a pitch with the bases loaded.
Montplaisir hit an RBI single and Wong scored on a double steal to cut the LBSU lead to 3-2 in the fifth.
With two outs in the sixth, Kitamura hit a run-scoring triple to tie the game.
Arakawa gave up seven hits and two walks, striking out six in five innings.
"He was a little nervous early, but he threw the ball very well," Trapasso said. "For his confidence and his optimism moving forward I think he’ll look back and realize he made a lot of good pitches."
Brent Harrison (0-1) tossed three innings of one-hit ball, but gave up the run in the eighth to take the loss. He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. Kyle Friedrichs (2-1) allowed one run and one hit in 3 1/3 innings of relief to earn the win.
Montplaisir had two hits and an RBI to keep his team-leading batting average at .405 and Kitamura, who entered the game in a 3-for-40 slump, had as many hits as he had all year.
"Pi’ikea really looks like he’s coming back to us," Trapasso said. "Collin Bennett’s a big one that’s struggling right now, but we know he can do it. … If we get him and Pi’ikea swinging like they are capable then you’ve got a lineup that can really score a lot of runs."
Kitamura recorded his first hit with two outs in the second, but was thrown out at home trying to score on a double by Matt Harrison.
Long Beach State freshman Royce Murai, a 2010 Pearl City graduate, started at catcher and was 1-for-3 with a double.
The Rainbows return to Hawaii to begin a seven-week, 27-game homestand starting on Thursday against Portland (5-3).