Hawai‘i baseball eliminated from WAC in 9-6 loss

University of Hawai‘i baseball saw its hopes in the Western Athletic Conference dashed after losing 9-6 to No. 6 Louisiana Tech at the Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona.

The loss closes the Rainbows’ baseball season with a 30-25 record while the LaTech Bulldogs, improving to 25-27, stay alive in the tournament with a Friday game.

Hawai‘i showed an early indication of a great day, opening with a run in the first inning when Stephen Ventimilia led off with a single, stole second base and advanced to third base when the Bulldog catcher Kyle Arnsberg’s throw out to second sailed into centerfield.

Ventimilia crossed the plate on an RBI double by Ka‘eo Aliviado, only to have LaTech answer in the bottom of the frame when Arnsberg opened with a double, scoring on an RBI shot by Alex Williams.

LaTech added three runs in the second and fourth innings for an 8-1 lead. Justin Gordey finished with a perfect 4-4 with two runs and one RBI and knocked in a pair of LaTech runners before scoring on a Ryan Gebhardt sacrifice.

Gebhardt got on the books in the fourth inning after doubling in a run before crossing on a Taylor Terrasas two-RBI single.

Hawai‘i attempted a rally in the fourth inning, both Breland Almadova and Max Duval getting hit by Phil Maton pitches for a bases-loaded situation, but Garrett Champion struck out to leave the runners stranded.

The Rainbows clawed back from the 8-1 deficit, driving a run in the sixth and made a game in the seventh with three runs after Pi‘ikea Kitamura doubled in Ventimilia for the first run before Hawai‘i capitalized on the La Tech reliever Jamie Gilley, Aladova drawing a bases-loaded walk for the second run and, the third run, on a bases-loaded situation, coming on a balk.

The Bulldogs piled up 17 hits in the victory, led in part by Terrasas and Kody Neel, who each marked two hits with two RBI apiece and Ryan Gebhardt scoring once, marked a hit with two RBI.

Aliviado finished with two hits and two RBI to lead the Hawai‘i hitting, the Rainbows getting nine hits in the outing. Kitamura, Alamadova and Zack Swasey each chalked a hit and an RBI apiece.

Matt Sisto, who hasn’t been on the mound for almost two weeks, suffered the loss in his shortest outing of the season, getting lifted after two innings, but giving up five runs on nine hits with one strikeout.

Maton picked up the win in 6.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on five crossings on seven hits with six strikeouts, walking no one but hitting three batters.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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