Sometimes the failures are what make you better.
Such was the case for Hawaii closer Lenny Linsky. After giving up his first earned runs of the season in consecutive outings last weekend, Linsky closed the door on the fifth straight Western Athletic Conference victory for the Rainbows, who beat Louisiana Tech 1-0 last night.
Linsky got Corey White to ground out with the tying run on second for his sixth save, extending Hawaii’s winning streak to seven games overall in front of a Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 1,994.
“That outing last week was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Linsky said. “(Matt) Sisto did good, Randy (Yard) came in and shoved, Blair (Walters) shoved and I knew I couldn’t mess this up.”
Hawaii (19-14, 5-0) is off to its best WAC start since winning its first six league games in 1988. Sisto (3-4) worked six shutout innings, walking two and striking out five to drop his ERA to 2.10.
“They were very aggressive, but it worked out to my advantage having them swing at a couple of 3-0 pitches,” Sisto said. “Changeup works well getting a lot of ground balls against an aggressive team like that.”
Michael Blake’s two-out RBI single in the third scored Pi‘ikea Kitamura for the only run of the game.
Kitamura was 3-for-3 with a double and Breland Almadova went 2-for-4 with a double as each team had eight hits, but struggled to hit with men in scoring position. LaTech (17-16, 2-3) left 10 men on base and UH stranded nine.
“To be able to shut them out is an accomplishment against this offense, because (LaTech) can really swing and is scary offensively,” Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “We’re going to have to do a better job of getting the guys in that get on. We left too many baserunners on today.”
LaTech put runners on base in every inning against Sisto, but couldn’t drive them in. Joey Ford hit a one-out double in the sixth to give catcher Clint Ewing, who had already singled twice, a chance to get the Bulldogs on the board. Ewing fouled off three straight pitches before grounding out to third, helping Sisto get through the inning unscathed.
“It’s one of those games that one run was going to be the difference because their guy was on his game,” Sisto said. “Got (Ewing) to roll over on a fastball and just tried to make the best pitch I could because one run was going to be the difference.”
Bulldogs ace Trevor Petersen did everything he could to keep LaTech in the game, throwing 122 pitches in seven innings. He allowed one run on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts, but fell to 3-2.
The Rainbows will try to match the ’88 team with a victory in the second game of the series tonight at 6:35. Freshman Jarrett Arakawa (3-2, 3.80 ERA) will oppose LaTech’s Jeb Stefan (4-3, 4.88).