HONOLULU – In Saturday’s third game in the series between the University of Hawai‘i and San Francisco, the Rainbow Warriors were able to finish off the Dons in regulation with a 3-2 victory. It has been an elusive target on both parts, as UH bounced back from an 0-2 series deficit through 22 innings of two-game action.
Early in Saturday’s contest, it looked like Rainbow Warrior fans might again need to settle in for the long haul, as UH starter Neil Uskali and USF’s Daniel Slominski duked it out in another scoreless run that stretched across the first two frames.
However, for the first time in the series, it was UH that landed the first blow. Making his first collegiate appearance, rookie second baseman Zack Chan singled into right field and promptly stole second. Classmate and shortstop Dustin Demeter overcame an 0-2 count with an RBI single lined into right field, bringing Chan in for only the second UH series run scored in regulation.
With Jedd Andrade reaching via error and walks coaxed out by Dylan Vchulek and Eric Ramirez, the Rainbow Warriors capitalized on the bases loaded jam in the fifth, extending their lead to two runs on a Josh Rojas RBI walk.
Five frames was all the longer the ‘Bows could stifle the Dons, who used a Ross Puskarich triple in the sixth to notch their first run on a Dominic Miroglio RBI groundout.
However, UH fired right back, going ahead 3-1 on back-to-back doubles by Tyler Murray and Alex Fitchett.
Once more, USF threatened UH’s bid for the win in the seventh, as Matt Sinatro’s RBI double down the left field line cut the lead to a single run.
Taking over for Colin Ashworth with one out, a runner at third, and a one-run advantage in the ninth – the win on the line – junior lefty Patrick Martin stepped in and induced a grounder that allowed for the out at home, followed by a fly ball to right for his first career save and the 3-2 UH win.
Uskali (1-0) went 7.0 innings for the win, giving six hits and two runs, striking out two. For USF, Slominski (0-1) takes the loss, throwing 4.2 innings before yielding to the bullpen, giving four hits and two runs (one earned), striking out two and walking four.
For UH, seven batters collected hits, led by Rojas, who went 2-for-3 on the afternoon.
The Rainbow Warriors and Dons conclude the series on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch on the schedule.
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