MALIBU, Calif. - The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors baseball team extended its winning streak to three games with a 15-8 victory over Pepperdine in the series opener on Thursday (Feb. 26) afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium. After a slow offensive start, the 'Bows woke the bats in the sixth and never looked back, sparked by a two-homer day for designated hitter Jordan Richartz.
Pepperdine made the first strike on the scoreboard, taking the 1-0 lead on Anderson's RBI single up the middle and built up a two-run advantage following an Anderson two-run homer in the third.
However, the defense settled in and the 'Bows remained in contention courtesy of RBI from Chayce Ka'aua and Matt LoCoco in the second and fourth, respectively.
Trailing 5-2 in the top of the sixth, the momentum turned quickly in favor of Hawai'i. Redshirt junior left fielder Alan Baldwin opened the sixth frame with a solo home run to left field, shaking Pepperdine starter Max Gamboa, who hit the following two batters.
Stephen Ventimilia loaded the bases with a bunt single off reliever Michael Perri, and Jacob Sheldon-Collins trimmed the deficit to a single run with a sacrifice fly. The top hitter for the 'Bows this season, first baseman Eric Ramirez followed with a two-run single up the middle, granting UH its first lead of the day.
Richartz sealed the inning with a three-run jack beyond the left field wall, pushing the 'Bows ahead 9-5 at the close of a seven-run sixth inning, in which five recorded base hits.
With the lead in hand, UH went to the bullpen for Matt Valencia, retiring starter Tyler Brashears after five innings on the bump.
The 'Bows extended their lead to double digits in the seventh, as Ramirez added another RBI, allowing JJ Kitaoka to score from second after entering as a sub in the frame, recording the second double-figure scoring contest for UH this season.
The UH bats weren't quiet for long, as Kitaoka brought Ka'aua home on an RBI single and later scored on a wild pitch. Ramirez tacked up another with a sac fly. Again, Richartz put the exclamation point on a big inning, going yard to left field for two runs, making him the first 'Bows hitter to log a two-homer day since Colin Bennett collected a pair against Sacramento State in 2012.
The Waves tacked up a pair of their own in the eighth, but couldn't trim the deficit as UH went on to claim the 15-8 victory in the opener of the four-game series.
Brashears (2-1) picked up the win, throwing five (5.0) complete frames and recording four (4) strikeouts versus no walks, while allowing three (3) earned runs. The loss went to Perri (0-1), who allowed four (4) earned runs in one-third of an inning of action.
At the plate, the 'Bows batted .325 as a team and recorded three (3) home runs in a contest for the first time since 2011. In today's series opener, the 'Bows put up the most runs in a road contest since leveling New Mexico State, 24-3, in 2011. Leading the charge was Richartz, who went 3-for-5 with five (5) RBI and three (3) runs scored. Ramirez added four (4) more RBI on 2-for-5 hitting, while Kitaoka capitalized on the appearance, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two (2) runs scored.
The Rainbow Warriors (5-5) return to action in game two with Pepperdine (4-5) on Friday (Feb. 27) at Eddy D. Field Stadium, with first pitch set for 2:00 p.m. PT/12:00 p.m. HT. The series will close on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 28-March 1), and the 'Bows will then travel to Texas next week for the Houston College Classic.