The strategy for the Hawaii Rainbows against Wichita State this week is pretty clear.
Find a way to get into the Shockers’ bullpen.
Kolten Wong homered and tied a career high with five RBIs and Breland Almadova had three hits for the second time in three games to lead Hawaii to a 12-4 victory over Wichita State last night.
The Rainbows treated a Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 2,369 to a season high in runs to move within a game of .500 for the season at 13-14.
"It was one of those games you have when it was our night," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "We were due."
Junior Randy Yard struck out a career-high seven in five innings of relief, giving up his only run with two outs in the ninth when Micah Green was called safe at first on an infield hit that scored Josh Halbert.
Yard (1-0) earned his first victory as a Rainbow, getting plenty of help from an offense that scored 11 runs in two innings.
"He was in the zone with all three pitches and was really good," Trapasso said. "He put the game to bed by pitching ahead in the count."
Kalani Brackenridge scored three times and junior Collin Bennett, who started in right field, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Hawaii scored a season-high seven runs in the fourth after Wichita State starter Brian Flynn struck out six in the first three innings. Flynn didn’t record an out in the fourth as the first six Rainbows all reached base. Flynn walked two and left after a two-run double by Almadova gave UH its first two runs of the game.
Reliever Chance Sossamon didn’t fare much better, walking Pi’ikea Kitamura on four pitches and giving up a two-run single to Wong to give Hawaii its first lead of the game. A balk forced in another run and Bennett and Michael Blake each had two-out RBI hits to give UH a 7-4 lead.
Hawaii increased the lead in each of the next two innings, as Wong blasted his fourth home run of the season to put the Rainbows ahead 10-3.
Fourteen of Hawaii’s 22 runs in the series have come off the Wichita State bullpen.
Wong’s homer was the 22nd of his career, moving him past teammate Jeff Van Doornum for sole possession of fifth place on the school’s all-time list. He needs three more homers to take over second place behind John Matias’ record of 30.
Kitamura finished with a run and an RBI in five plate appearances, but didn’t record an official at-bat. He walked three times, hit a sacrifice fly, and had a sacrifice bunt.
Ryan Hege had two hits and scored twice for the Shockers, who dropped to 18-10 overall.
The Rainbows can win the series with a victory in today’s finale at 12:05 p.m.
HAWAII 12, WICHITA STATE 4
|Grimes ss||3||0||1||1||Almadova cf||5||2||3||2|
|Parker ss||1||0||0||0||Kitamura ss||0||1||0||1|
|Hall cf||3||0||0||0||Harrison ss||1||0||0||0|
|Green cf||1||0||1||1||Wong 2b||4||2||3||5|
|Springer dh||5||0||0||0||Doi 2b||0||0||0||0|
|O’Brien c||3||1||2||0||VnDoornum lf||5||1||1||0|
|Arens c||1||0||0||0||Swasey dh||5||0||1||0|
|Coughn. 3b||4||0||0||0||Bennett rf||4||1||2||2|
|Hege 1b||3||2||2||0||Blake 1b||5||1||2||1|
|Lambert rf||3||0||1||1||Champion c||4||1||1||0|
|Davdsn. 2b||1||0||0||0||Brcknrdge 3b||3||3||0||0|
|Wichita St.||020||100||001 – 4||7||1|
|Hawaii||000||741||00x — 12||13||1|
E–Grimes; Harrison. LOB–WSU 8, Hawaii 11. 2B–O’Brien 2; Hege; Lambert; Almadova; Blake. HR–Wong. HBP–Hege; Brackenridge. SH–Davidson; Kitamura. SF–Kitamura. SB–Grimes; Van Doornum.
|Flynn (L, 2-1)||3||6||4||4||4||6|
|Yard (W, 1-0)||5||2||1||0||1||7|
WP–Flynn 2. HPB–by Little (Hege), by Vielock (Brackenridge). BK–Sossamon.
Umpires–(Plate): Rich Padilla. (First): Adam Dowdy. (Third): Danny Mascorro. T–3:10. A–2,369.