Minute Maid Park hosts Houston College Classic

Hawaii tops Baylor in Game 1, Texas A&M edges Nebraska in Game 2, LSU bests Houston in Game 3

HOUSTON -- The tandem of Alex Sawelson and Alan Baldwin was effective for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Friday afternoon. Sawelson singled in Baldwin in the second and fourth innings to lift Hawaii past Baylor, 2-1, in the first game of three-day Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

Sawelson's three-hit game was one more hit than Baylor (6-6) collected. The Bears managed a third-inning single from Matt Menard and a sixth-inning double from Adam Toth off four Hawaii pitchers.

Hawaii starter L.J. Brewster (3-1) pitched 6 1/3 effective innings to earn the win. The Rainbow Warriors (6-8) received stellar relief performances from Matt Valencia in the eighth inning and Cody Culp, who retired the side in order in the ninth to notch his third save.

Valencia was extremely effective in relief. The left-hander inherited a no-out situation with two runners on base. He struck out all three batters he faced, preserving the 2-1 lead as the Bears stranded runners at second and third. Baylor also left runners at second and third in the sixth inning without scoring.

Baylor, which tallied six walks, scored its run in the fifth. Jonathan Ducoff's sacrifice fly scored Kameron Esthay, who opened the inning with a walk.

Brewster allowed both of the Bears' hits. The right-hander struck out seven and walked four. Baylor starter Drew Tolson (0-2) took the loss, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings.

Matt LoCoco had two hits for Hawaii, which also received hits from Kaeo Aliviado and Baldwin.

In the second game, runs and baserunners were scarce as Texas A&M and Nebraska struggled to get to the opposing team's pitching.

Nebraska starter Chance Sinclair made one mistake, and J.B. Moss made the Huskers pay for it. Moss' one-out eighth-inning home run broke a tie and gave the undefeated Aggies a 2-1 win in the middle of three games at the Houston College Classic.

Until Moss' third home run of the season, the Aggies hadn't tallied a hit off Sinclair since the second inning, when the Aggies (14-0) took a 1-0 lead.

"The home run was the farthest thing from my mind," said Moss, who had two of the Aggies' five hits. "We had a hard time in the middle of the game, it was getting late, and it was a tied ballgame.

"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and get on base and try to make something happen. Both pitching staffs did a great job. I was just trying to put a good swing on it and it just happened to go out."

Moss' home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field made a winner out of Andrew Vinson (2-0), the third of four Texas A&M pitchers.

Sinclair (1-3) went the distance. In eight innings, he allowed only two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk. After allowing three hits in the second inning, the right-hander retired his next 17 batters before Moss took him deep on a 1-0 count.

"I let one pitch get away," said Sinclair. "It ran back over the plate and he put a good swing on it."

Nebraska (6-5) tied the game in the fourth. Ben Miller's two-out single scored Ryan Boldt, who led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch. Miller had two of the Huskers' four hits.

Texas A&M starter A.J. Minter allowed one unearned run on four hits in five innings, striking out six with no walks.

In the third of Friday's three games, senior third baseman Conner Hale -- who has hit safely in all 14 of LSU's games this season -- had a big hit against Houston in a game matching nationally ranked teams.

Hale's two-run homer was part of a three-run first inning that propelled the Tigers to a 4-2 win over the Cougars to close out the opening day.

Hale's home run off Andrew Lantrip helped make a winner of Jared Poche (4-0), who allowed only two runs and four hits over 7 2/3 innings.

"It was a slider. My eyes lit up, and I was ready to take a good swing on it," Hale said. "We took BP last night and I was just trying to hit one or two out just to say I did. But it's a lot more fun to do it in a game."

The win is the 10th straight for LSU (13-1), which is ranked second in the nation by Baseball America. Jacob Campbell, who had two hits, homered for eighth-ranked Houston (8-6), which has lost three straight games.

Hale, who reached base three times, had two of LSU's nine hits off Lantrip (3-1), who recovered from a shaky first inning. In eight innings, Lantrip allowed only three earned runs.

But it was the less-than-overpowering Poche who prevailed.

"Poche doesn't make it look easy," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "He's a grinder. He's just one of those guys you have to believe in, because he's going to get in some jams. But he never packs the tent. That's why you let him stay out there."

Alex Bregman added two hits for the Tigers.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.