The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors baseball team (21-26, 10-11 Big West) head back to the road in a televised meeting with conference frontrunner and perennial power No. 18 Cal State Fullerton (32-17, 14-4 Big West). The Friday and Saturday games of the series will appear on ESPN3 live from CSF's Goodwin Field.
The Rainbow Warriors are coming off a series win at home over UC Riverside, a three-game set each pressed to one-run decisions at Les Murakami Stadium. The 'Bows look to bounce back on the road after taking a 2-8 record over the last road swing against CSUN, Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara. However, UH will have its hands full, meeting a Titans program that has only surrendered one win (1-8) to the 'Bows since UH joined the league in 2013. CSF leads the series 16-5 overall.
While very efficient on offense, the Titans are sporting only a .266 batting average as a team, just four points below UH. However, CSF boasts a 5.1 run per game average, racking up 120 extra base hits – 31 more than the 'Bows this season.
Pacing the Titans is senior right fielder Dalton Blaser, who sits at second in the Big West standings behind UH's Jacob Sheldon-Collins with a .381 average. Blaser leads CSF with 36 RBI, using 11 doubles and four home runs, scoring 27 runs of his own. Senior first baseman Tanner Pinkston is also riding high on the hitting lists, sporting a .335 average with 31 RBI. He tops the squad and the conference with 15 doubles, leading CSF and ranking third in the Big West with 42 runs. Junior shortstop Timmy Richards is also making his mark, ranking second in the league with eight home runs, on top of 11 doubles, using his .294 average to score 34 runs for the Titans.
The pitching staff is what has really set the Titans apart this season, averaging a 2.32 team ERA, with nine pitchers running a sub-3.00 ERA, ranking second in the conference for strikeouts at 426 (8.58 per game). The Titans are projected to throw a rotation of sophomore right-hander Connor Seabold (6-4, 2.27 ERA, 71.1 IP. 82 K, 7 BB), left-handed sophomore John Gavin (5-2, 2.25 ERA, 72.0 IP, 53 K, 26 BB) and freshman righty Colton Eastman (7-2, 2.28 ERA, 79.0 IP, 76 K, 16 BB).
Fresh off the series victory in which the 'Bows provided three straight errorless contests of sound baseball, UH looks to stifle its recent road woes at the league leader. Pacing the squad as always, Sheldon-Collins is back on top of the conference hitting stats with a .384 average, putting up nine doubles, 23 RBI and 27 runs. The Australian senior ranks as the 103rd toughest batter to strikeout in the NCAA. Providing some new blood to the lineup lately, freshman Ethan Lopez is quickly rising, with hits in 13 consecutive games and a .313 average. Last weekend, he made a move from infield and designated hitter into the starting lineup as a right fielder for two games versus UC Riverside, hitting 4-for-10 on the weekend.
The rotation for UH is all familiar faces, as the 'Bows are going with senior righty Kyle Von Ruden (6-2, 3.08 ERA, 96.1 IP, 44 K, 15 BB), senior southpaw Alex Hatch 3-5, 4.46 ERA, 72.2 IP, 55 K, 23 BB) and right-handed junior Brendan Hornung (4-7, 3.32 ERA, 89.1 IP, 66 K, 18 BB).
As part of the Big West Conference television deal with ESPN Networks, the first two games of this weekend's series are slated to air live on ESPN3 and on the WatchESPN app for mobile devices. Friday's game will air at 7:00 p.m. PT (4:00 p.m. HT), while Saturday's game is set for 6:00 p.m. PT (3:00 p.m. PT). Sunday's finale will not be telecast, but is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT.
Hawaii Athletics Release
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