IRVINE, Calif. – Matt Cooper had his shortest start of the season and the University of Hawai'i baseball team was swept by No. 27 UC Irvine with a 9-0 loss on Sunday at Anteater Ballpark. The Rainbows were hoping to even their league record but dropped to 2-4 in the Big West Conference and 7-21 overall.
Taylor Sparks did the damage for UC Irvine (20-8, 3-3 BWC), belting two homeruns to finish with two hits, two run, and five RBI. The 'Bows managed just four hits on the afternoon, three by pinch hitters Andre Real, Kalei Hanawahine, and Kaden Kamoe who doubled to start to the ninth inning.
Cooper (2-3) worked three complete innings allowing three earned runs on five hits with one strikeout. Anteater starter Andrew Morales (7-0) dominated the Rainbow lineup to earn the win. He allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts.
The Anteaters did all their damage early, scoring three runs each in the first, third, and fourth innings. Cooper retired the first two batters of the game before Connor Spencer (2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI) extended the inning with a base hit. Ronnie Shaeffer (1 H, 2 R, 2 R) then reached base on a fielder's choice before Sparks belted his three-run shot to give UCI the early lead.
In the third inning, a Spencer RBI-single gave UCI a four-run lead before Sparks hit second of back-to-back homers to push the advantage to 6-0. Max Duval made his fourth bullpen appearance when he lifted Cooper to start the fourth inning, but struggled with his command and gave up three runs on two innings of work. Scott Kuzminsky pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts and Patrick O'Rourke worked a scoreless ninth inning.
Before continuing Big West play at Cal Poly next weekend, the 'Bows will play a single game at No. 10 UCLA this Tuesday, Apr. 9. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. PT (3:00 p.m. HT).
Courtesy: Hawaii Athletics
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