RUSTON, La. — The University of Hawai‘i Rainbow baseball team (28-29) beat the New Mexico State Aggies (28-32) 11-7 in the first day of the Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament at J.C. Love Field, yesterday.
Nicholas Rhodes (5-6) pitched well, going 7.0 innings with one run on six hits, striking out six to get the victory.
Heath Goin (6-3) took the loss for NMSU.
Jeffrey Van Doornum led Hawai‘i, going 2-for-5 with three RBI, a double and a run. Brandon Haislet was 2-for-3 with two RBI, two runs, a double and a stolen base, with Greg Garcia going 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run.
Matt Roquemore was 2-for-5 with two runs and one RBI while Landon Hernandez went 3-for-4 with a run and Jonathan Hee 2-for-4 with one RBI, a run and a double.
Vinnie Catricala hit a two-run home run, his fifth of the season, and Derek DuPree added a solo homer, just the second of his career.
Rhodes had the Aggie offense under control early, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters he faces. But Joseph Scaperotta broke that string and the scoreless game with a solo home run to right field, giving NMSU the 1-0 edge after the top of the fourth.
The Rainbows responded in the bottom of the fourth as Haislet drove in Garcia, tying the score at 1-1.
Hawai‘i then took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Roquemore hit a RBI-single up the middle before Hee hit a sacrifice fly to left, giving UH a 3-1 lead.
Soon after Hee’s at bat, the game was halted due to a wind storm. After returning from the one-hour, 41-minute delay, Haislet hit the first pitch down the right line for an RBI-double, pushing the Rainbow-lead to 4-1.
Van Doornum hit a two-run single to right to start the scoring in the bottom of the seventh. Kevin Macdonald then added another run on a sacrifice fly before the big fireworks erupted. Catricala and DuPree hit back-to-back home runs to score three more runs and put the Rainbows ahead 10-1.
But not scoring an extra run in the inning to end the game due to the 10-run rule could come back to haunt the Rainbows.
NMSU came back in the top of the eighth and scored six runs, including a grand slam off the bat of Leo Aguirre, cutting it back to a 10-7 ball game.
Van Doornum hit an RBI-double to the right-center gap to give Hawai‘i an insurance run. Matthew Daly then closed it out, pitching 1.1 scoreless innings, to hold the Rainbows’ 11-7 victory.
The ‘Bows will face the winner of the Nevada/San Jose State game at 2 p.m. H.S.T. in the winner’s bracket of the tournament.