By Wilson Wong
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds baseball team pounded out 20 hits in a 13-4 non-conference win over the eighth-ranked Hope International Royals Tuesday night in Fullerton, Calif.
UBC (3-4) fell behind 1-0 on a first-inning home run, but then reeled off 13 straight runs before the hosts added three in the bottom of the ninth.
Senior pitcher Brad Smith got his first win of the season. He gave up just four hits and a run in seven complete innings of work for the Thunderbirds.
Justin Orton had four hits in six at-bats Tuesday, driving in three runs, including two on a double to left centre in the third inning to give UBC a 5-1 lead.
Newcomer Jake Lanferman also had three RBI. His single in the third brought home Kyle McComb to put UBC ahead 2-1. He also had an RBI ground out in the sixth that made it 6-1. The 'Birds went up 10-1 on his single in the ninth, one of four runs the team scored in the inning. Lanferman finished 3-for-6 and also scored three runs.
Lichel Hirakawa-Kao, Mitch Robinson, Lucas Soper, Jaxon Valcke and Anthony Cusati all recorded a pair of hits each for UBC.
Austen Butler's RBI double down the left field line in the second tied the game at 1-1. Then the 'Birds broke things open in the third with four runs, with Robinson driving one in on a single in between the hits from Lanferman and Orton.
UBC tacked on another three runs in the sixth, highlighted by Hirakawa-Kao's second triple of the season, which allowed Cusati to come home.
WEEKLY UPDATE #2
By Terry McKaig
Loss 8-3 Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA Div. 2)
Win 8-6 (12 Inn) Cal State LA (NCAA Div. 2)
Loss 8-7 (10 Inn) Cal State LA (NCAA Div. 2)
Loss 8-4 Cal State LA (NCAA DIV 2)
Overall Record: 4-7 Conference Record: 0-0
Soph Niall Windeler 6 inn, No-Decision, 4 runs, 9 hits, 6 K’s, 1 BB
Jr Patrick Van Den Brink 3 inn, 0 runs, 2 hits, 4 K’s, 2 BB, 1 Win
Sr Brad Smith 8 1/3 inn, 1 run, 5 hits, 4 BB’s, 4 K’s
Sr Christian Botnick 2 inn, 0 runs, 0 hits, 4 k’s, 1 BB
Jr Lichel Hirakawa-Kao 5- 18, 4 RBI, 1 HR
Sr Mitch Robinson 4-14, 6 RBI, 1 HR
Sr Justin Orton 10-21, 5 RBI
Lucas Soper 10-18, 3 RBI, 1 HR
It was an up and down week for the birds, starting off with a signature victory over 8th ranked Hope International, but finishing the week going 1-3 against stiffer NCAA Div. 2 competition. At times the guys have showed some good signs. Offensively the hitters are grinding out at bats and looking more comfortable in the box as each day passes. On the other side of the ball, the pitching and defence is currently not at the level we would hope for. Free passes and errors haunted the birds all week.
Although we are nowhere near where we want to be as a group, there were good signs of grit with a high compete level, especially in the two extra-inning games verses Cal State LA. The guys battled from behind all the way to the end, which is the identity we are trying to embrace moving forward.
The injury bug started to affect some of our players this week:
Sr Mitch Robinson (Groin)
Jr Lucas Soper (Lower Half)
Sr Kyle McComb (Head)
All players missed time this weekend due to injury but none seem to be too serious, as all should be set to return later this week.
Monday University of San Diego (NCAA Div. 1)
Tuesday Westmont (NAIA)
Friday College of Idaho (NAIA)
Saturday College of Idaho (NAIA) DH
Sunday College of Idaho (NAIA)