Hawai’i Pacific sweeps series over Azusa Pacific with pair of Saturday wins

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED MARCH 2, 2024

WAIPAHU — The Hawai’i Pacific University baseball team brought out the bats Saturday afternoon.

And also the brooms.

The Sharks swept the season series against Azuza Pacific with 21 total runs scored in a PacWest double-header at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.

HPU scored in every inning but the sixth in a 10-5 victory over the Cougars in game one Saturday before ending the weekend with a dominating 11-0 win in a seven-inning contest in game two to improve to 13-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play.

The Sharks tallied 18 hits in game one, which helped offset a 2-0 deficit to start the game after some shaky pitching in the top of the first.

Nine-hole hitter Daniel Johnson led the way in the first game with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate as he drove in two runs and scored another. His first RBI of the game scored Jordan Otjen to put HPU ahead, 3-2, in the bottom of the second. Johnson also drove in Tejean Smith in the bottom of the fifth to give the Sharks a 7-3 lead.

Kota Suzuki was another consistent batter with three hits for HPU and was one of four Sharks to finish with two RBIs.

Smith was also key with the go-ahead RBI single that was hit sharply inside of the left foul line to plate Skyler Agnew for a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the third. Smith would also drive in Agnew for the final run of the game in the eighth inning.

Seven total pitchers saw time on the mound for HPU. Vicente Molina (1-1) was credited for the win with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of work after entering the game in the top of the fourth as the third arm that was used in game one. Molina relieved Makana Quia, who struck out four after replacing starter Shea Blanchard after the first two outs of the game.

Mac Leisher saw the most action with 15 batters faced in three innings of work. He finished with three strikeouts against two walks, three hits and two earned runs before Landen Argabright took over to start the ninth. Ryan Inouye ultimately finished game one on the mound to get the final three outs.

It was the Nick Jio show in game two.

After making a handful of steady plays at second base in game one, Jio showed off the big stick energy with a three-run homer to give HPU a 9-0 lead in the final game of the weekend. He also drove in a run in the first inning to finish with five total RBIs on Saturday.

Noah Hata was consistent in both games as he had two RBIs and a double in each contest.

The Sharks will return to action next Wednesday for a double-header against Fresno Pacific University.