Feb. 19—Two dramatically different story lines resulted in the Hawaii baseball team's 5-4 and 12-2 sweep of Wright State at Les Murakami Stadium on Saturday.
Two dramatically different story lines resulted in the Hawaii baseball team's 5-4 and 12-2 sweep of Wright State at Les Murakami Stadium on Saturday.
A matinee crowd of 1, 822 saw the Rainbow Warriors complete a rally in the first game and then score 11 of their 12 runs in the final three innings to complete the doubleheader sweep.
"There were so many positives to take away, " said UH coach Rich Hill, whose'Bows rebounded from Friday's season-opening loss to take a 2-1 lead into today's series finale.
Right fielder Jared Quandt, who did not play last season while recovering from a torn labrum in his left arm, was a factor in both games.
In the first game scheduled for seven innings, Jacob Igawa's RBI single tied it at 4 in the seventh. In the eighth, Stone Miyao singled to right, then stole second. Quandt drove a pitch from Luke Stofel over the head of center fielder Andrew Patrick to bring home Miyao with the winning run.
"I wasn't thinking anything, " Quandt said of his pre-pitch strategy. "I was trying to see the ball, hit the ball. Down 1-2, he threw me a fastball. I liked it. I took a hack, and good things happen when you swing at fastballs."
Quandt, who was recruited as a catcher, switched to the outfield in the middle of his freshman season in 2021. He did not catch at all during fall training. "I love it out there, " said Quandt, who started in right field in the second game, when he scored two runs and drove in another two.
In UH's five-run fifth in the second game, Ben Zeigler-Namoa and Quandt hit consecutive home runs. Prior to his solo drive, the left-swinging Quandt changed his approach.
"Shortened up, choked up, " Quandt said of his grip. "I actually didn't take a stride in that swing. It was no stride, flipped the bat in the zone, and tried to shorten up and put the ball in play. Sometimes good things happen like that."
Hill said : "I'm so happy for Jared. This guy just works so hard. He's such a good kid. He had that pretty good freshman year here. He tore his labrum last year. He's one of those guys you root for. I was super stoked he was the guy (on Saturday )."
Zeigler-Namoa, a Baldwin High graduate who played at Yavapai College in Arizona last season, was hitless in three at-bats in Friday's UH debut. But in the second game of the doubleheader, Zeigler-Namoa had a home run, two doubles, five RBIs, and a walk.
"He probably was the most impressive guy this fall for us, " Hill said. "(Hitting ) coach (Dave ) Nakama is really singing his praises. The adjustment to Division I can be difficult. But, man, today was his coming out party, for sure."
Zeigler-Namoa tried to channel the success he had as a two-way player at Yavapai. "I think the focus was there the whole day, " he said. "That's what I've been missing."
Of his homer to dead center, Zeigler-Namoa said : "I just saw a fastball up. Behind the count, just tried to hit a barrel, and the next thing you know, it's out of here."
The'Bows had strong back-end pitching. Tai Atkins pitched a scoreless inning, striking out two, to earn the victory in the first game.
In the second game, Connor Harrison did not allow a hit or run in 22 /3 innings. He struck out pro prospect Sammy Sass with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning. After issuing a walk to lead off the sixth, he struck out the next three. He got the side out in order in the seventh—and final—inning to complete the'Bows' two-hitter.
"It felt good coming in and doing my job and closing the door, " Harrison said. "Getting the curveball over for strikes early and getting ahead (in the count ), and just being able to work off that and put away hitters."