RIVERSIDE, Calif.-The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (19-26, 10-9 Big West) baseball squad extended its road win streak to four games on Thursday at Riverside Sports Complex, jumping on top of UC Riverside (13-33, 2-14 Big West) in the middle innings, while quality relief performances secured the 6-3 win.
After tabbing runners aboard in two of the first three innings, Hawai'i finally got on the board in the fourth as designated hitter Alex Sawelson opened the frame with a ground rule double to left center, later coming crossing the dish for the go-ahead run on a Marcus Doi sacrifice fly.
The 'Bows offense might have been a slow starter, but UH just needed a spark. Hawai'i transferred the momentum over to the fifth, with Jonathan Weeks and Jacob Sheldon-Collins opening on consecutive singles, and Stephen Ventimilia joining them via walk. Up with bases loaded, right fielder Alan Baldwin extended the lead courtesy of an RBI walk, keeping the bases loaded for center fielder Kaeo Aliviado, who belted a two-run double to the right center alley. Sawelson capped off a four-run frame with a sacrifice fly.
The 'Bows kept it rolling for a third straight inning, as Sheldon-Collins brought Chayce Ka'aua in for the 6-0 advantage on a single through the left side.
Against the efforts of Hawai'i starter LJ Brewster, the Highlanders were even slower to get started. Brewster maintained a no-hit situation into the fifth, before Adonis Morrison delivered a two-out base knock for UCR. The Highlanders were able to break through in the sixth, converting a pair of base hits into a run on a Vince Fernandez RBI single up the middle.
Slowing the output from the UH hitters, UC Riverside mounted a comeback attempt, putting up a pair of runs in the seventh, tallying an RBI double for Morrison and an RBI single for pinch hitter AJ Sawyer to trim the 'Bows advantage to 6-3-The Highlanders would get no closer, as Andrew Jones struck out the side in the eighth and Quintin Torres-Costa closed out the ninth in order.
Brewster (6-4) earned the win on 6.1 innings of work, giving three (3) runs on six (6) hits, walking two (2) and striking out four (4). Torres-Costa took the hill in the ninth, securing his sixth save in as many games-seventh overall-striking out one (1) in shutting the door on UCR.
Starter Joie Dunyon (1-3) takes the loss, throwing five (5.0) frames with five (5) runs allowed on five hits, issuing four (4) walks with two (2) strikeouts.
At the plate, Sheldon Collins paced the Rainbow Warriors, hitting 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Aliviado was 1-for-2 with two (2) RBI.
Staying on the current road trip after the Long Beach State sweep, Hawai'i has extended its win streak to four (4) games-a season high. The Rainbow Warriors and Highlanders will return to action on Friday at 6 p.m. PT (3:00 p.m. HT) at the Riverside Sports Complex. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Honolulu 1420 AM, again with Mel Proctor on the call.