FULLERTON, CALIF. (HawaiiNewsNow)
The Rainbow Warriors got going with some strikes from the underclassmen early against CSF starter Connor Seabold. Sophomore third baseman Johnny Weeks logged a one-out triple in the first, but it wasn’t cashed in. In the second, consecutive center field singles from freshmen Kekai Rios and Ethan Lopez set the stage.
Redshirt sophomore designated hitter Chayce Ka’aua granted UH the early lead with a second-inning RBI single to bring Rios home, and Josh Rojas capped off the two-run surge with a well-placed sacrifice squeeze bunt down the first base line to scratch Lopez across the dish.
The Titans were quick to grab one back, capitalizing on back-to-back singles in the home half, as Ruben Cardenas scored unearned on a sacrifice bunt, trimming the UH lead to a single run.
Rios added a second hit in the fourth and a second run to pair with it, scoring from second on a Rojas RBI double for the 3-1 advantage.
A quick response arrived from the Titans offense with a leadoff triple by Hank LoForte in the fifth, but starter Kyle Von Ruden and the ‘Bows were quick to stop the bleeding, allowing a lone run to stay out front 3-2.
After driving Seabold’s counts to oust him early, the ‘Bows generated a pair of base runners, setting up a double-steal score, as Rios cross the plate for the third time on a pickoff error. Facing right-handed reliever Miles Chambers, Ka’aua singled to make it two runners once again, then it was Matt LoCoco who was due for a clutch play. After striking out his first three times at bat, the senior center fielder hit a two-out, two-run triple to right center to blow the game out to a 6-2 lead.
With the three-run sixth inning, the ‘Bows tied the season high for runs scored against the Big West leader in conference play.
Once more, the Titans pushed back, but Von Ruden combined with Lawrence Chew to allow just a single run off of a Jake Pavletich RBI single, which sliced the UH lead to three runs.