A large part of the University of Hawaii baseball team’s success in 2022 has been the recent hot hitting of catcher DallasJ Duarte, who was moved up to the leadoff spot prior to the team’s series against Long Beach State.

The ‘Bows have won four straight since then, with Duarte making an impact each time he steps into the box. On Tuesday, Duarte blasted two home runs while drawing four walks in a 9-4 win over Cal Baptist.

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To Hawaii coach Rich Hill, Duarte’s presence in the lineup has been invaluable. When the team was struggling last year, Duarte moved up to No. 3 in the batting order.

“It really started last year when we inserted him into the three hole and we were having a hard time scoring runs, just because I wanted the toughest at bat on our team in that spot, at the top of the lineup, I know that it just causes so much anxiety for the pitcher, for the opposing pitching coach or the catcher calling pitches,” Hill said. “This last game was my favorite offensive game from a Rainbow Warrior player since I’ve been here. A walk and then hit a couple of home runs when he got that hot zone pitch. But what a blessing to inherit a player like that and a person of that type of character and, college baseball, college athletics, they’re just different than the pros.”

Hawaii will look to continue its hot play on Friday when it begins a three-game series at UC Riverside. The Rainbow Warriors (20-13, 9-6 Big West) are winners of seven of their last eight and remain in the conference race.