Matt Cooper struck out a career-high 11 hitters but it wasn't enough as the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior baseball team lost 1-0 in 10 innings to Cal State Fullerton in the opener of a three-game Big West Conference series on Friday night at Goodwin Field.
Cooper entered the evening with a sub-2.00 earned run average and held the Titans in check for nine complete innings before being lifted for Juliene Jones to start the 10th inning. Jones retired the lead-off hitter but Austin Wobrock's miscue on pinch-hitter Davi Olmedo-Barrera's grounder put a runner on second for Cal State Fullerton. Jones forced a popup for the second out, but a Tanner Pinkston (2 H, 1 RBI) single drove home Jared Deacon (1 H, 1 R) for the game winner.
Thomas Eshelman did the work for the Titans (19-17, 4-6 Big West), tossing a 10-inning complete game shutout to improve to 6-1. Jones (0-1) lost his first decision of the season.
Adam Hurley had two hits for the 'Bows who fall to 3-10 in conference and 15-23 overall.
UH looked prime to break the stalemate in the ninth inning. Stephen Ventimilia (1-4) and Kaeo Aliviado (1-4) posted back-to-back hits as the 'Bows had runners at first and third with one out. Jordan Richartz worked the count on Eshelman to three balls on the next at bat but then struck out swinging four pitches later. Marc Flores followed Richartz's at bat with a pop up and the 'Bows came up empty.
Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 5:00 p.m. PT (2:00 p.m. HT) and will be nationally televised live on ESPNU.