Bows flip the script in series opener against San Diego State, 16-5

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED MARCH 23, 2024

HONOLULU — Freaky Friday or Manoa Magic?

Whatever it may be, it still was a ‘W’ for the Rainbow Warriors. 

The Hawai’i baseball team rallied from a 4-0 deficit with 13 consecutive runs across the fifth and sixth innings en route to a 16-5 win over San Diego State in the series opener for both teams Friday night at Les Murakami Stadium.

Jake Tsukada was key at the plate, but in an unexpected way. Tsukada set the school record for the most HBPs in a a game with four as he also earned two RBIs in the process. He was credited with bringing home the ‘Bows’ first run of the game when he took one on his back to score Kyson Donahue.

“He’s been doing that lately. He just doesn’t move his feet which allows him to really see the ball and I’m happy for him,” coach Rich Hill said of Tsukada. “He (was) a little kid going to games here at the Les. Now he’s getting a chance to help our team win a championship. Happy for him.”

After Tsukada was hit to score the first run for Hawai’i (13-7), Austin Machado also drew a HBP with the bases loaded to bring Elijah Ickes home. Matthew Miura then singled to left field to score Jordan Donahue before Stone Miyao reached on a dropped ball in left field with one out that allowed Tsukada to come home to tie the game at four.

Dallas Duarte’s two RBI single to left field on the next at bat gave the ‘Bows the lead for good as Miyao and Miura scored to make it a 6-4 game. 

Another error gave Hawai’i its seventh run of the game before another bases-loaded HBP drawn by Tsukada provided the final score of the inning. 

“I feel great,” Tsukada said. “If I have to get hit to bring runs in then I’ll do it any day of the week.”

Another unusual statistic that occurred for the Bows is when middle reliever Danny Veloz threw four strikeouts in the top of the sixth inning. His third strikeout of the game came on a wild pitch, which allowed the batter to reach first. Veloz (3-0) was also credited with the win in two innings of work with five strikeouts against seven batters faced.

“That’s another one to add to the Manoa Magic,” Hill said of Veloz’s four strikeouts in one inning. “I think it’s a full moon.”

Starter Alex Giroux retired the first eight batters he faced in order before the Aztecs (6-14) put together a two-out rally with a walk and four consecutive hits to take a 3-0 lead after the top of the third. Giroux got into another jam in the fourth, but was able to get a pop out with the bases loaded for the second out before giving way to left-handed pitcher Harrison Bodendorf, who got the out against left-handed batter Shaun Montoya to end the half-inning.

“It was a good matchup there and I thought Bodey came in and went one-two right away, got ahead of the hitter, really did a good job,” said Hill.

“I think before that, Alex really did a good job getting that guy to pop up at the end of his outing. We got a infield fly pop up and then a left on left (matchup), big out to keep it at 3-0 so it was a big moment in the game.”

The Aztecs managed to score another run with two outs in the top of the fifth inning before the ‘Bows flipped the game in their favor in the bottom of the frame. Hawai’i tallied eight total runs in the fifth on just three hits and two errors by SDSU, who used four different pitchers to get out of the inning.

“That’s our team right there,” Tsukada said of the fifth-inning rally. “We’re not afraid when we’re down. It’s a long game, we got fight and it’s a testament to these guys here. They work hard and we know the things we’ll start falling our way and we just stuck to it.”

The ‘Bows added five runs in the bottom of the sixth through the conventional route, scoring five runs on four hits.

SDSU broke the scoring drought with one run in the top of the eighth before Hawai’i scored three more times in the bottom of the inning for the final score.

Jordan Donahue went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs, three runs scored and the team’s only double while Machado drove in four total runs to spearhead the offensive production for the ‘Bows. Kyson Donahue was also solid with four runs scored.

Both teams will continue their series Saturday night at 6:35 p.m.