Matt Cooper treated the Les Murakami Stadium crowd to a masterful performance, tossing a complete-game shutout to guide the University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warrior baseball team to a 2-0 series-opening win over Pepperdine on Wednesday night.
Cooper (2-0) equaled a career-high with 10 strikeouts while surrendering just three hits and issuing no bases on balls. The performance was Cooper's second shutout in a UH uniform and ran his streak of 21 innings to start the season without allowing an earned run.
Starter Matt Maurer (0-1) was tagged with the loss in six and two-thirds innings of work for the Waves (6-2). He allowed one run on six hits with three strikeouts.
The game was scoreless heading to the bottom of the sixth when Kaeo Aliviado (1 H, 1 R) broke the stalemate when he tagged up and scored from third off Conner George's bases-loaded fly to left field. The 'Bows (5-4) had an opportunity for a big inning as they had the bases loaded with no outs, but Aliviado's run proved to be all Hawai'i needed.
Marc Flores led the 'Bows with three hits and an RBI including a run-scoring double to give UH an insurance run in the eighth inning. Flores, who is hitting .471 since going hitless against Oregon, ripped a double off the right centerfield wall to score Jordan Richartz (2-3, 1 R) from first base.
The 'Bows had a chance to put some early runs up on the scoreboard but came up empty. Richartz and Flores both delivered two-out base hits but Juliene Jones grounded into a force out to end the innings.
Pepperdine had a chance of their own to break the tie in the fifth inning. Brad Anderson (1-3) singled then made his way to third on a wild pitch and a ground out. Cooper was equal to the task though, forcing a ground out to Kolten Yamaguchi (1-3) to end the threat.
Hawai'i and Pepperdine continue their series on Thursday. First pitch at Les Murkami Stadium is set for 6:35 p.m.