IRVINE, Calif. - The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (9-19, 0-3 Big West) fell to UC Irvine (14-10, 3-0 Big West) on Sunday (March 29), 4-3, as the Anteaters completed the series sweep at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. Two big innings accounted for all of the offense for both teams, but the Anteaters squeezed out the extra run in the first, proving to be the difference in the series finale.
The Rainbow Warriors went to work quickly in the finale, logging a leadoff single from second baseman Stephen Ventimilia in the first, a Marcus Doi walk followed. Designated hitter Alex Sawelson scratched both runners across on a double to left center, grabbing the 'Bows' first lead of the series, 2-0.
The celebration was short-lived for Hawai'i, as leadoff hitter Mikey Duarte got to starter Jarrett Arakawa with a single. What was slated for a double play stung the 'Bows, as Ventimilia sailed a throw on a fielder's choice to put two UCI runners on base. A thorn in the side of Hawai'i all weekend, center fielder Keston Hiura brought in both runners with a two-run single up the middle.
Following a pair of walks to load the bases, Cameron Bishop pulled the Anteaters ahead with an RBI groundout down the right side, taking the 3-2 lead.
Arakawa and UCI starter Evan Manarino slugged it out as the 'Bows and Anteaters went six consecutive innings, Manarino outlasting Arakawa, who yielded to Matt Valencia in the sixth.
In the top of the eighth, the 'Bows finally broke through again after three previous runners left on base. Doi took another walk with two outs, inducing a UCI pitching change to Sam Moore. Sawelson capitalized on the change, recording a single. First baseman Eric Ramirez made it count, with an RBI single to center field, knotting the score at three-all.
Again, the Anteaters were quick to respond. Pinch hitter Jonathan Munoz sparked UCI, reaching on an error by Ventimilia to lead off the bottom of the eighth. A second pinch hitter, Cole Kreuter, beat out the throw on an outstanding back-handed play by Jacob Sheldon-Collins, bringing Munoz in for the 4-3 lead.
After fending off more threats from the Anteaters in the bottom half, the 'Bows took their last shot in the ninth, unable to bring home catcher Chayce Ka'aua, who reached on a leadoff walk.
For the afternoon, the 'Bows matched the Anteaters with seven (7) hits apiece, while UH outhit UCI 23-22 on the series. The entire weekend set was decided by five (5) total runs.
For the 'Bows, Valencia (0-1) takes the loss, throwing 2.2 innings, allowing one (1) unearned run on two (2) hits, one (1) walk, while striking out two (2). Arakawa went five (5.0) full innings, giving five (5) hits and three (3) runs (one earned), walking three (3) and striking out three (3). Three of the four runs scored by UC Irvine came in unearned.
The win went to reliever Moore (2-2), after just one-third (0.1) of an inning of work, allowing two (2) hits and one (1) walk, but collecting the final out. Sean Sparling (2) earned the save, pitching the ninth. Manarino went 7.2 innings, giving five (5) hits and all three (3) UH runs.
At the plate, Sawelson went 3-for-4 with two (2) RBI to lead the 'Bows. Doi walked three (3) times and scored two (2) runs for UH. Ramirez was 1-for-4 with one (1) RBI.
The 'Bows return to action next week at Les Murakami Stadium with a visit from Big West foe UC Davis (17-7-1). The Aggies completed a sweep of UC Riverside on Sunday in Davis, Calif. Next week's Big West series will run Thursday-Sunday, April 2-5.