The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (5-8) baseball squad dropped the final contest of the four-game set with Pepperdine (7-5) on Sunday (March 1) at Eddy D. Field Stadium. The ‘Bows mounted an outstanding late-game comeback but fell short, as the Waves matched their rally to deal UH the 10-5 loss.
The ‘Bows showed offensive potential early on, logging singles in the first and second, and a pair of runners in scoring position in the second frame, but Pepperdine starter Ryan Wilson checked the ‘Bows each time.
Errors proved costly to allow the Waves a third-inning score, as a double-error in the UH infield allowed Pepperdine’s Manny Jefferson to score from second on the unearned run. Waves’ designated hitter Chris Fornaci placed an RBI double deep down the left field line to move Pepperdine ahead 2-0 in the fourth.
After taking a line drive shot off his ankle early in the game, Kyle Von Ruden continued through the fifth, holding the Waves in his final frame before yielding to Andrew Jones.
A leadoff walk for designated hitter Jordan Richartz in the sixth got the ‘Bows moving, setting the stage for a sacrifice fly for right fielder Alan Baldwin, trimming Pepperdine’s advantage to a single run.
Entering in relief of A. Jones, Cody Culp came through with a huge bases loaded strikeout in the bottom half, but the Waves got into him in the seventh, tacking on four runs before Juliene Jones closed the frame with Pepperdine leading 6-1.
Heading into the eighth, the ‘Bows capitalized on a pitching change, with Kiko Garcia relieving Wilson to start the inning. Hawai’i showed offensive urgency, attacking immediately with a JJ Kitaoka leadoff triple. Kaeo Aliviado was patient for a full count walk. Richartz made the huge plays count, firing a laser shot through the left side to start the rally. Baldwin followed with a bloop single into right field to bring Aliviado home.
Garcia surrendered four (4) hits, two (2) runs and a walk, with no outs, before making his exit. Johnathan Weeks welcomed his successor, Chandler Blanchard, with a lined RBI single into shallow center, cutting the Pepperdine advantage down to 6-5. However, the Waves infield scooped up a fielder’s choice play to cut the comeback short at just four (4) runs.
A pair of one-out singles and a walk in the bottom half put the ‘Bows in a tough spot, loading the bases to add a run on an Aaron Barnett fielder’s choice. Recording his ninth RBI of the series, Waves’ first baseman Brad Anderson hit the ‘Bows with a dagger, sending a three-run homer to left center field, extending the Pepperdine lead to 10-5, where the non-conference tilt would close after a quick ninth.
Wilson (2-0) picked up the win for the Waves, going seven innings deep, allowing six (6) hits and one (1) run, while striking out nine (9) with one (1) walk.
Von Ruden (1-1) takes the loss for Hawai’i, throwing five complete innings, allowing five (5) hits, one (1) walk and one (1) earned run, while striking out three (3). At the plate, Weeks went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Baldwin was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI.
With the loss, the ‘Bows drop the series, 1-3, to the Waves.
Hawai’i baseball is back in action next week, remaining on the road through to the weekend. The ‘Bows will face stiff competition in Texas, opening up the Houston College Classic on Friday (March 6) with Nebraska. The tournament will continue through the weekend at Minute Maid Park, with matchups scheduled versus No. 3 Houston and No. 25 Baylor.