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by Janel Foster, staff writer

We left off with the team holding strong against Concordia and heading on to play two doubleheaders against Grand Canyon University on March 12.
This was the first official PacWest opener game, a home game where HPU split the first doubleheader. While they fell 6-2 in the first game, HPU picked it up, winning the nightcap 6-3. Junior Chad Wagner pitched a little under two innings giving up five earned runs before being lifted for sophomore Toby Inouye. Allowing no runs on two hits with five strikeouts, Inouye put a halt to GCU’s hitting streak but it wasn’t enough to pull off a win.
A better performance was required in the second game and it was delivered. HPU gave up two inning runs but poured in four second-inning runs on RBI hits by sophomore Derek Grace and junior Kenny Turner.
Junior Caelen O’Meara got off to a shaky start on the hill, allowing three runs on five hits; he eventually settled in, delivering eight strikeouts, aiding his conference-leading 40 strikeout record this season.
In the second doubleheader, HPU showed no mercy sweeping GCU 12-9 and 14-4. Jonah Hobson, senior outfielder, led HPU batting 3-5 with two runs and three RBI. Senior Jacob Valentine played to dominate, batting 7-9 with six runs and seven RBI. Junior David Chow earned the win for HPU bringing up his record to 2-0.
In the nightcap, senior Daniel Cox shut out GCU for runs while HPU built up a solid lead. This built up Cox’s pitching record to 4-0.
Base hits were also collected from juniors Sean Winston and Alex Agortsas, senior Cheynne Hirota, and freshman Blake Amaral.
The Sea Warriors met again over spring break on the road to Utah against Dixie State College. HPU split a conference doubleheader losing the first game 11-10 and responding with a 7-3 win, HPU’s first road win of the season.
In the first game, Grace and sophomore Lester Akeo paced throughout the game, with Grace batting 2-4 with one run and three RBI. Akeo hit 2-3 with two runs. Senior Nick Alexander gained his first loss of the season. Their efforts weren’t enough to pull off a recovery. “We played strong but couldn’t make the plays to bring home a win,” Cox said.
The final game of the doubleheader showed much improvement. B.A. Garner picked up his sixth save of the season, while Cox continued his winning streak to 5-0, giving HPU the series-closing win, pitching five strong innings.
Outstanding performances at bat were made by Hobson and Agortsas. The game broke wide open after HPU belted in six-inning runs to bring the score up to 7-2. DSU was able to bat in one more run but couldn’t recover from HPU’s running lead.
HPU then traveled to Chico State University for a five-game series on March 26.
The series was anything but ideal for the Sea Warriors. With a single game on Thursday and two doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, HPU lost all five games bringing their record to 19-12. In the series opener, HPU fell to Chico 5-3.
Junior Matt Maggiolo started his first game pitching six complete innings. He gave up four runs on six hits and two strikeouts.
“ I was pretty nervous when I first got out there,” Maggiolo said. “Overall, after the first pitch, I felt back in the rhythm, and I gained my confidence back, and it felt good.”
Akeo led HPU at bat with two runs and one RBI. Hirota also scored a run for HPU. CSU took a good lead in the sixth inning and although it looked as if HPU was going to make a recovery in the eighth with a double by Hirota and two runs from Turner, CSU held on for the win.
HPU suffered in the first doubleheader, losing both games to Chico State, 11-1 and 8-2.
Wagner and senior Turhan Folse pitched for HPU. Wagner pitched into the sixth inning giving up eight runs on seven hits.
“ People were sick by the time we got to our games against Chico,” Cox said, adding that the Sea Warriors didn’t come out with their usual competitive energy to win against CSU.
Folse pitched five innings, allowing six runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. HPU collected hits by Hobson and Valentine. Amaral hit 1-3 with one RBI.
There was every hope that HPU would bounce back in the final doubleheader but there was no avoiding this sweep. CSU won 7-6; then again in the nightcap with a 16-0 shutout.
With the game tied 5-5, with three fourth-inning runs by CSU, HPU had a short-lived lead over CSU in the eighth inning with a belted home run, his first of the season. Valentine hit 2-5 with one run, while Amaral batted 2-4 with one run, and Turner hit 2-4.
HPU had their worst loss to date in the nightcap. Hobson batted 2-3 for HPU but it couldn’t compare to CSU allowing no runs in five innings. While already leading 12-0, CSU’s Robert Mills belted a grand slam to cap the scoring for the game. Cox also got his first loss, bringing his pitching record to 5-1, allowing four earned runs on seven hits in three innings.
HPU took to the field again against Dixie State College for a five-game series April 9-11. Their next home series is against the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo April 24-26 at Hans L’Orange Field.

 

 

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