SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.-The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (12-22, 3-5 Big West) baseball team dropped a heartbreaker in the second game at Cal Poly (13-18, 3-2 Big West) on Saturday (April 11) at Baggett Stadium, as an extended seventh inning proved key in the Mustangs’ comeback.
Despite the loss, Hawai’i looked strong early in the game in all facets, capitalizing on key hitting situations to move ahead in the front half of Saturday’s Big West contest.
First pitch aggressiveness granted the Rainbow Warriors a fourth-inning lead, as right fielder Alan Baldwin opened the frame with a bunt single, quickly moving around for the score from second on first baseman Eric Ramirez‘ two-out first pitch bloop single into shallow left field. Left field Marcus Doi doubled-up for the ‘Bows, thrown out trying to make it to third, but not before his RBI double over the center fielder’s head sent Ramirez to the dish and the advantage to 2-0.
UH starter Tyler Brashears was cruising into the back half of the game, holding onto a two-hitter and collecting five of his six outs via strikeout across the fourth and fifth frames. However, in the seventh Brashears lost momentum, opening with quick singles from Jordan Ellis and Ryan Drobny. Pinch hitter Kevin Morgan made it count for Cal Poly, grounding out for an RBI. A rare throwing error in the dirt by shortstop Jacob Sheldon-Collins extended the inning and knotted the score at two-all.
With two outs away and a full count, CP second baseman Mark Mathias dealt the ‘Bows an RBI triple that nearly escaped the park, scoring Tommy Pluschkell for the 3-2 shift of power. Quintin Torres-Costa closed out the frame on a strikeout to get the ‘Bows out of it with only a one-run deficit.
Cal Poly starter Kyle Smith sat the ‘Bows down in the eighth and closer Danny Zandona made his second appearance this series. Zandona struck out the first two men he faced, but Chayce Ka’aua coaxed out a full count walk. Pinch hitter Matt Miller battled to a 10-pitch at-bat, but Zandona finally got him swinging, ending the game in a 3-2 loss.
Smith (3-5) earned the win for CP, pitching eight (8.0) innings, allowing both UH scores on eight (8) hits, walking two (2) and striking out two (2). Zandona (6) earned the save for the second straight day, and has now struck out eight of the 10 Rainbow Warriors he’s faced.
Taking the loss, Brashears pitched 6.2 innings, issuing just one (1) walk and allowing five hits for three (3) runs (one earned). In total Brashears struck out seven (7) Mustang batters.
Now in consecutive days, the ‘Bows again outhit the Mustangs in loss, tonight by an 8-6 margin. Ramirez hit 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run to lead UH, while Alex Sawelson was 2-for-4.
The Rainbow Warriors and Mustangs wrap up the series Sunday (April 12) at Baggett Stadium, with first pitch slated for 1:00 p.m. PT (10:00 a.m. HT).