Arizona squeezes past 'bows on senior night

Arizona squeezes past 'bows on senior night

HONOLULU - The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (23-30) scrapped it out with Arizona (38-20) in the season finale, but the Wildcats' timely hitting in the final frame ended the afternoon and the season in a 'Bows loss at the final out of the 5-3 final result. Following the game, the 'Bows bid aloha to 10 seniors who took the field for the final time in the UH Green and White.

In a game that saw two ties throughout a tightly-contested battle, it was the Wildcats who made the first strike, putting up a pair in the fourth to jump out front. Jared Oliva and Cody Ramer tacked up RBI to Arizona out to a brief 2-0 advantage.

The 'Bows fired back in short order, as Marcus Doi roped a one-out single through the right side. Second baseman Josh Rojas opened up a big day with an RBI single shot to right center to trim the Arizona lead.

UH came back firing again in the sixth, as pinch runner Kobi Candaroma capitalized on a wild pitch to set up Rojas again. The junior launched an RBI single into right field for the easy tying run at 2-2.

However, the Wildcats wouldn't make it easy for the 'Bows, adding two singles to set up a Bobby Dalbec sacrifice fly and the 3-2 advantage.

Again Hawai'i responded, as senior Alan Baldwin drew a leadoff walk and Rojas pulled back a bunt to belt a liner over the crashing third baseman for a double. Baldwin crossed the dish on a Johnny Weeks groundout and knotted the score once again at 3-3.

Into the final inning, Arizona became one of only two teams to get the best of Matt Valencia this season, using two walks, a wild pitch and a steal to set up a two-run double to the left center wall.

In the home half, despite a two-out Doi ground-rule double that one-hopped the center field fence, the final line stood as Arizona pulled out the 5-3 win and the series sweep, ending the 'Bows' season as the Wildcats prepare for next week's NCAA Regionals.

Three of the most-frequent 'Bows relievers made their final appearances and hit milestones in the process. Lawrence Chew entered in the sixth for his 72nd overall career appearance and 68th relief outing, tying for the most appearances in both categories with his final step to the mound. Following up Chew, Cody Culp made his 31st outing of the season, making the most appearances since 1987 and tying for third in single season appearances. Despite the late runs, Valencia wraps the season with a 1.03 ERA, surpassing Gene Smith (1.05, 1978) for the lowest single-season ERA at UH.

Despite garnering the school record, Valencia (3-2) took the loss after pitching 1.2 innings, allowing one hit, two walks and two earned runs.

For the Wildcats, Cody Deason (1-2) earned the win on 1.2 innings with one hit.

At the plate, Rojas paced the 'Bows with a 3-for-4 outing and with two RBI, both tying season highs. Doi went 2-for-2 on the game, walking twice and scoring one run.

Following the season finale, the 'Bows provided 10 seniors with an outstanding sendoff after completing their final game. Those 10 seniors are: Alan Baldwin, Lawrence Chew, Cody Culp, Matt LoCoco, Josh Pigg, Alex Sawelson, Jacob-Sheldon-Collins, Matt Valencia and Kyle Von Ruden.

The 'Bows also saw the end of an era, as broadcaster Don Robbs called the final game of a 40-year career on the radio as the 'Voice of the Rainbows'.