HONOLULU – A big final push from the Oklahoma Sooners (14-8) ended the non-conference series in a 6-3 loss for the University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (7-13), after most ofSunday's(March 15) contest was in deadlock at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Rainbow Warriors were the first to strike in the series finale, as UH drove pitch counts up early for OU starter Corey Copping, who plunked freshman second baseman Connor Linebarger to lead off the third. Linebarger reached third base on center fielder Kaeo Aliviado's single into right field, and crossed the dish courtesy of a JJ Kitaoka sacrifice fly for the 1-0 advantage.
The score remained locked in for three more innings, as Copping escaped base runners in each frame. Meanwhile, Jarrett Arakawa pitched a gem for UH in just his second outing of the year, working through five (5.0) complete scoreless innings, despite a pitch count looming. Arakawa would end up with a two-hitter, striking out a pair with no walks.
Arakawa passed the ball to reliever Josh Pigg in the sixth, who allowed just a single hit in the frame. However, the junior newcomer put himself in a jam in the seventh, walking the first two sooners he saw before handing off to Matt Valencia.
After a single loaded the bases, the Sooners knotted up the score at 1-1 with a runner coming home on a double play ball. Pending the final out, Kolbey Carpenter scored another run for OU, as an errant throw from Kitaoka pulled Eric Ramirez off the bag at first to extend the inning.
Walked batsmen plagued the ‘Bows again in the eighth, as Valencia walked the leadoff batter before yielding to Alex Hatch and later Juliene Jones. When the dust settled, the Sooners had notched an RBI walk and scored their second run during a double play in the contest. With a man on third, Carpenter capped off the scoring frame with an RBI single into right field to extend the Sooners' lead, 5-1.
The Sooners would add another insurance run in the ninth to go ahead 6-1.
Facing OU reliever Keaton Hernandez in his third inning of action, the ‘Bows came charging out in the ninth, setting the table with back-to-back singles from Matt LoCoco and Jonathan Weeks, and loading up the bases with a Jacob-Sheldon Collins fielder's choice. The ‘Bows capitalized on a Sooners miscue, with LoCoco scoring on an error by OU shortstop Sheldon Neuse.
OU responded by sending designated hitter Robert Tasin to the mound for the second straight game. Aliviado greeted him with an RBI single to right field and the deficit was three. Tasin closed the game with a heads-up play, grabbing a shot back to the mound from Ramirez for the force out at second, sending the game final with a 6-3 OU win.
Pigg (0-2) takes the loss for the ‘Bows, throwing one (1.0) complete inning with one (1) hit and two (2) runs allowed, one (1) earned.
As pitcher of record in the sixth, Copping (3-0) retains the win, throwing six (6.0) innings, giving up four (4) hits and one (1) run, striking out seven (7).
Aliviado went 2-for-4 with one (1) walk and an RBI, while LoCoco, Weeks and Linebarger each scored runs for the ‘Bows.
With the loss, the Sooners take the 3-1 series win. The Rainbow Warriors return to action next Thursday (March 19), opening a four-game series with New Mexico State (2-15) at Les Murakami Stadium.