Rainbows Top State 7-4

HONOLULU, Hawaii - A three-run walkoff home run by Vinnie Catricala broke a scoring deadlock and lifted homestanding Hawai'i (4-6) to a 7-4 victory over 26th-ranked Mississippi State (8-2) in the second game of a four-game series this weekend between the teams.

Catricala's homer came after State had retired the first two batters in the ninth inning, but relief pitcher Lee Swindle (0 -1) issued a pair of walks to Rainbow hitters and then surrendered the decisive hit to the Rainbow third baseman.

Sam Spangler (1-0) picked up the win for UH in two innings of relief where he struck out three and did not allow a run.

A four-run second inning gave the Rainbows a big lead early in the contest and all four runs came with two outs on the board. After a pair of fly outs to center field, two consecutive walks issued by MSU starter Nick Routt set the stage for the big inning. After the free passes, UH's Ryan Morford got things started with an RBI single scoring Landon Hernandez. Greg Garcia followed with another single scoring a run. A Bulldog throwing error on the play allowed a third Rainbow run to score as well, with Garcia ending up at third base on the play. Garcia then scored on a balk by Routt and UH led 4-0 after two innings.

State chipped away at the lead with lone runs in both the third and fourth innings. In the third, Ryan Powers led off with a double and later scored on a ground out by Cody Freeman. Connor Powers singled to start the fourth frame, advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on a ground out. He then scored on an RBI single by Ryan Duffy. UH led 4-2.

The Bulldogs knotted the score at 4-4 in the top of the sixth when Duffy homered to right center off of UH starter Nate Klein, who got a no decision while allowing three earned runs and striking out six in seven innings of work. The score would remain tied until the Rainbow heroics in the ninth.

The MSU starter Routt went five innings, allowing just two earned runs and striking out seven. Michael Busby contributed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless middle relief work for State before Swindle took over.

Ryan Duffy led MSU at the plate, going 2-for-4 with his long ball and 3 RBI. Connor Powers also collected two hits for the Diamond Dogs. Hawai'i had only four hits in the contest, the big one the winning blast by Catricala.

The teams will meet again Saturday in the third game of their four-game series with first pitch set for 5:05 p.m. CT. The game can be heard free of charge on Maroon to the Max and will be picked up in progress on WFCA-FM in French Camp, Miss., following the conclusion of the MSU-Ole Miss men's basketball game.

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