The Hawaii Stars had many chances to reach first place Tuesday night. But just like their myriad of baserunners against San Rafael, they stranded them.
Brian Gump struck out a season-high 10 in 6 2/3 innings, and the Pacifics got the timely hitting that eluded the Stars all game long in a 7-2 victory in San Rafael, Calif.
The Stars (18-14) outhit the Pacifics 10-5 but left 11 runners on base as their five-game winning streak ended. In winning the second of a six-game set, San Rafael (20-12) took a two-game lead atop the North Division of the North American Baseball League. The teams will play again today at 4:15 p.m. HST.
Backed by Arnold Ponce’s run-scoring single in the top of the fifth, Hawaii starter Dallas Mahan had a 1-0 lead and hadn’t allowed a hit until he fell into trouble in the bottom half of the inning. Zack Pace hit an RBI double, and an error led to another run as San Rafael scored three times.
Mahan fell to 0-5, allowing three hits, three runs —two earned — and two walks with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Ponce and former University of Hawaii at Hilo standout Keoni Manago were both 2-for-4, and Matt Hibbert was 2-for-5. But while Mahan was holding San Rafael hitless, the Stars were busy stranding runners, leaving two aboard in the second, third and fifth. They also left two on in the sixth inning.
Manago added a run-scoring single in the ninth, but by then it was already too late thanks to a bout of wildness from Roman Martinez.
The Stars closer walked the bases loaded in the eighth as the Pacifics scored four runs. Matthew Alton hit a two-run single, and Maikel Jova added a run-scoring hit.
In 6 2/3 innings, Gump (4-1) yielded eight hits and two walks, dropping his ERA to 1.97.
In relief, Julian Arballo struck out all four Hawaii hitters he faced as San Rafael pitchers fanned 15 in all. The bottom third of the Stars’ lineup — Anthony Williams, Jensen Torres and Reece Alnas — combined to strike out nine times.
Leadoff hitter Steven Tedesco scored twice.
Hawaii 000 010 001 — 2 10 2
San Rafael 000 030 04x — 7 5 2