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HPU sweeps Hilo, drops one to UH-M

by Kyle Galdiera, staff writer

HPU Sea Warriors baseball got off to a perfect start the first weekend in February, with a three-game sweep of the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo Vulcans on the Big Island.

The Sea Warriors were in danger of losing the final game of the series but battled back from a six-run deficit and held on for the 12-7 victory at Simmons’ Field in Kailua, Kona on Feb. 1.


HPU trailed 7-1 going into the seventh inning when the Sea Warriors brought eight runs across the plate thanks to four hits, two walks, and three Vulcan errors.

Pitcher Josh Ervin earned the win after coming on in relief and holding UH-Hilo to no hits and no runs in 2.1 innings pitched. Third baseman Kyle Stanley brought in three runs on two hits, and left fielder Greg Benoit went 3-4 with two RBI.

HPU needed help from the bullpen in the first two games of the series and got it from reliever Sean Paiva, the winning pitcher in both seven-inning games played as a doubleheader on Jan. 31 at Wong Stadium in Hilo. In the second game, the Sea Warriors trailed UH-Hilo 4-1 going into the sixth inning when the offense exploded for four runs on four hits. Paiva secured the 5-4 victory by holding the Vulcans hitless and scoreless in the final 1.2 innings pitched. Right fielder Tyler Ward went 2-4 with 2 RBI.

Game 1 went into extra-innings with both teams tied at one apiece. HPU broke the stalemate in the eighth, pounding out seven hits and scoring four runs en route to the 5-1 win. First baseman Alika Kuraoka drove in two runs while designated hitter Ikaika DuPont and second baseman Brandon Sato each had two hits.

The Sea Warriors took on Sonoma State University (Calif.) in a six-game series Feb. 5-7 at Ke‘ehi Lagoon Field. Then, on Feb. 17 against the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa at Les Murakami Stadium, the Sea Warriors missed a golden opportunity to upset in-state rival University of Hawai‘i-Manoa, losing to the Rainbows 10-2. The Sea Warriors, now 5-5 on the season, were held to five hits by UH starter Steven Wright who didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning.

The Rainbows beat up on the HPU pitching staff by pounding out 12 hits and utilizing the sacrifice bunt to advance runners into scoring position. Sea Warrior starter Dave Zamarano (0-2) was saddled with the loss after giving up three runs before being relieved in the fourth.

First baseman Alika Kuraoka went 2-3 with a double while centerfielder Geoffrey Say and designated hitter Ikaika DuPont each drove in a run for HPU.

The game was the first for the Sea Warriors since winning two of six games against ninth-ranked Sonoma St. University by scores of 11-9 and 9-8 in a series played Feb. 5-7 at Ke‘ehi Lagoon Park. The visiting Sea Wolves won the remaining games 5-3, 17-3, 9-2, and 14-10.

Next up for the Sea Warriors is last years’ NCAA Division II championship game runner up, the University of Tampa, Florida. The teams will match up for a six-game series beginning Mar. 6 at Aloha Stadium.


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