Vulcans split doubleheader with Sonoma State


Edison Sakata had two hits and drove in three runs to spark the University of Hawaii at Hilo to an 8-3 win over Sonoma State University in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday.

The nonconference baseball twinbill was played in Rohnert Park, Calif. In the second game, SSU scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to edge the Vulcans 2-1 and earn a split.

“It was a nonconference doubleheader so we platooned the whole team and everybody that was healthy got to play,” UH-Hilo head coach Kallen Miyataki said. “In the first game, our starters did their job and our short game worked. We got the win. In the second game, our starters sat down and we still played well. We lost the game on a lucky bounce for them.

“But overall, we’re pleased with the effort. The kids are stepping up and starting to believe in themselves.”

In the opener, the Vulcans (8-10 overall) pounded out 13 hits and six UH-Hilo pitchers combined on a five-hitter.

Sakata, a freshman out of Roosevelt High School on Oahu, led the Vulcans’ offense while teammates Jordan Murai and Sean Nearhoof (1 RBI) each added two hits.

Jackson Stogner and Tyler Glenn each had two hits for the Seawolves (10-9).

Jordyn Ah Chong started for UH-Hilo and hurled two innings, allowing a hit and two runs. Jeremy Dela Cruz (3-1) then went two scoreless innings and picked up the win. He was followed by three other relievers, who kept SSU in check.

Stevan Zaharias started for the Seawolves and took the loss. He pitched four innings, giving up seven hits and five runs.

In Game 2, the teams battled all the way until the bottom of the ninth when pinch-hitter Glenn drove in Wesley Wallace with the game-winning run.

Wallace led the hosts with two hits. Senior Ryan Fukunaga led the Vulcans with two hits and scored the visitors’ only run on Samuel King’s sacrifice fly in the first inning.

Reliever Jayson Richards (1-0) got the win, going four solid innings. He was the last of three Seawolves pitchers.

Jordan Kurokawa started for the Vulcans and went two scoreless innings. He was the first of five UH-Hilo hurlers. The last Vulcan reliever, Michael Slifer, a junior right-hander from Pleasanton, Calif., hurled 3 2/3 innings and took the loss.

The Vulcans play a nonconference doubleheader at Menlo College today. UH-Hilo then takes on Academy of Art University in PacWest Conference twinbills on Friday and Saturday in San Francisco, Calif.