Fresno Pacific baseball team sees twinbill split as big win (w/video)

The Fresno BeeFebruary 22, 2014 

Fresno Pacific takes on Hawaii Pacific in a Saturday conference doubleheader.


Fresno Pacific baseball coach Oscar Hirschkorn was a bit frustrated after his Sunbirds fell behind 3-0 to Hawaii Pacific in the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader Saturday.

After a tough 2-1 loss in game 1, the Sunbirds needed a win to begin PacWest play. His Sunbirds delivered at an opportune time.

Fresno Pacific rallied to beat the NCAA Division II West Region No. 8 Sea Warriors 5-4, with an error by shortstop Tyler Tokanuga allowing Nico Payan to score with two outs in the ninth at Fresno Pacific Diamond.

"I didn't feel like we were playing the way we are capable of playing," Hirschkorn said. "but that's also kind of the way it goes sometimes in the game of baseball. You get knocked down and it's really how you respond. Do you just roll over or do you fight back? We fought back with Wilson Ashford. He did a good job."

Ashford started game 2, was hit for the three runs in the first, but followed that with seven scoreless innings.

"He gives up three in the first and the next thing you know he gives us an eight-inning quality start," Hirshkorn said. "I was also looking for the offense to start being offensive. We weren't swinging the bats like we're capable of."

Michael Tittle hit a solo home run in the fourth, and the Sunbirds (6-5, 1-1) added two in the sixth on RBIs by Michael Hostetler and Kaohu Gaspar to tie it.

Joshua Banuelos' sacrifice fly tied it again 4-4.

"This game was huge for us," Banuelos said. "We hit balls hard all game, but just right at people. When they took that three-run lead, they kind of knocked us down. But we got right back up and started chipping away at the lead."

In game 1, J.D. Salles (2-1) got the loss, giving up both runs while pitching 8 1-3 innings. He allowed eight hits.

Baron Bower tripled to right center to tie it 1-1 for the Sunbirds in the fifth but Hawaii Pacific (6-1, 1-1) saw Keanu Kapana break the tie with a go-ahead single to left that scored Kevin Lenik in the ninth.

"First game is kind of like a similar story," Hirschkorn said. "We got a runner on third base in the first five innings and we didn't score and it cost us bad. All of it would've taken is just a groundout. Just have a productive at bat. As long as we move forward from it we're going to be OK."

The teams play another doubleheader at 4 p.m. Monday in Fresno.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6042, or @agalaviz_TheBee on Twitter.

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