BASEBALL: At Waipahu, Hawaii, After taking the first two meetings of a four-game series with Hawai'i Pacific this week, Southern Utah suffered two straight defeats, allowing the Sea Warriors to earn a series split in the four-game set. Saturday's loss drops the Thunderbirds to 2-10 to start the year while HPU improves to 12-3.
The Thunderbirds fell behind early in the contest after giving up three runs in the second inning. HPU loaded the bases in the frame with a bunt single and back-to-back walks before Wade Tamaru singled down the left field line to drive in a pair of runs. The Sea Warriors then added another run on a ground out RBI off the bat of Rylan Morihara.
Southern Utah came back in the next frame with five runs on five hits to take a 5-3 lead. SUU catcher Taggart Lunceford led off the inning with a double and later scored on an RBI single from Tariq Staton. Then, with runners on second and third Marcus Romero hit ball sharply to the left side where it was misplayed by the shortstop allowing two runs to score. In the next at bat Mitchell Kauweloa hit a single up the middle to drive in Romero. He would then come around to score the fifth run of inning as Taylor Shaw hit an RBI double into left field.
Hawai'i Pacific trailed by two until the bottom of the fifth when it plated three runs to reclaim the lead at 6-5. The Sea Warriors tallied four hits in the inning including three consecutive doubles from Blake Amaral, Keanu Kapana and Kale Sumner.
The sixth inning saw the Thunderbirds score a pair of runs on a solo shot by Justin Neuhart and an RBI single from Romero to reclaim a one-run advantage, but the home team came back with four runs it its half of the frame to go up 10-7.
The Sea Warriors added another run in the bottom of the eighth while shutting out SUU over the final three innings to claim the 11-7 victory.
Tariq Staton and Chaisson Low both posted three hits on the day for Southern Utah who tied HPU with 14 base-knocks in the game. Low also accounted for two runs for the T-Birds while Romero led the team with 2 RBIs.
Edward Travato (2-1) picked up the win for the Sea Warriors after striking out six and allowing just two runs in five innings of relief. Chase Rezac (1-1) took the loss for SUU after getting knocked around for seven runs on eight hits in a little less than two innings.
The Thunderbirds will make a stop at UNLV this Tuesday on their way back from the islands for a single game with the Rebels scheduled to begin 7 p.m. (MST).
In the front end of its doubleheader, Chase Rezac homered twice and Marcus Romero collected a grand slam on the way to an 11-5 win. The Thunderbirds were silenced in the second game, however, as HPU came back with a 4-0 to split the day's games.
Both teams got on the board early in the first game, as the Thunderbirds put up three runs in the top of the first but then allowed HPU to score two in the bottom half of the inning. Tariq Staton singled through the left side to give SUU a leadoff runner and eventually came around to score the opening run on an RBI single off the bat of Mitchell Kauweloa. In the next at bat Rezac crushed a home run over the left field wall to put Southern Utah up 3-0. The Sea Warriors got two runs back in their half of the frame after Keanu Kapana hit an RBI single and later came around to score on an error by the shortstop to bring the score to 3-2.
The Thunderbirds added another run to their advantage in the third inning when Staton scored from third on a wild pitch and then pushed the lead to 5-2 in the following in on a ground out RBI from Chaisson Low.
SUU would blow the game open in the sixth, tallying five runs on five hits. Bryson Kenolio collected the first run of the inning for Southern Utah as he came around to score on another RBI single from Low. Then with the bases loaded Romero blasted a pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam that put the Thunderbirds ahead 10-2.
Rezac added a solo shot in the top of the seventh for his second home run of the day and the Sea Warriors tallied three runs in the bottom of the ninth to set the final margin at 11-5 in favor of SUU.
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