The University of Hawai’i baseball team (6-4) notched a win in the series with Loyola Marymount (3-8) on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium, defending a late lead in the 5-3 victory.
For the second straight game, it was the Rainbow Warriors who made the first strike on the scoreboard. Junior third baseman Ethan Lopez Lopez scooped a one-out single in the second, while redshirt freshman first baseman Alex Baezacollected his first career hit on a double belted to right field. Sophomore catcher Tyler Murray rounded out the effort, plating Lopez while reaching base thanks to an LMU error.
Two innings later, the Lions made things a little tense, using a Jamey Smart RBI single to knot things up.
However, the Rainbow Warriors responded quickly, and in a big way in the bottom of the fifth. After sophomore Jacob Sniffin earned his first hit of the year on a double down the right field line, he came around to score on a passed ball for the lead. But Hawai’i wasn’t done, tacking up two more runs courtesy of sophomore Adam Fogel‘s first career triple, a two-run shot down the right center alley.
UH would score once more for outstanding run support to Neil Uskali‘s stout starting performance. Entering as a pinch hitter, Johnny Weeks coaxed out a full-count walk and reached home on an LMU throwing error in the seventh.
Picking up his second win, Uskali (2-1) held the Lions to just two hits and two walks, striking out four before yielding to Colin Ashworth.
Coming on late like the two previous games in the series, Loyola Marymount made a ninth-inning move against closer Dylan Thomas, managing to chop two runs off the deficit, but the redshirt sophomore stood his ground and punched out the final batter to register his fourth save and the 5-3 victory.
At the plate, Dustin Demeter and Lopez each went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Fogel’s 1-for-4 was crucial with two RBI.
With LMU leading the series 2-1, the Rainbow Warriors and Lions are scheduled for the finale on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Fans can take advantage of UH’s Sunday Funday ticket packages, in addition to a special pregame presentation by Make-A-Wish Hawai’i.