HONOLULU – The University of Hawai‘i baseball team ended the series with San Francisco on a high note Sunday, starting a win streak on the 3-2 series finale victory over the Dons. The Rainbow Warriors put up a run in the opening inning, never relinquishing their advantage in the one-run non-conference win.
Capping off a series completely decided by six total runs, including one-run contests on Saturday and Sunday, the Rainbow Warriors struck first in the opening frame. Junior center fielder Dylan Vchulek led off and reached on an error, advancing to second on a wild pitch. Junior second baseman Johnny Weeks capitalized and put the ‘Bows on the board first, firing an RBI single through the left side to plate Vchulek.
UH went back-to-back scoring innings, using an error that allowed first baseman Logan Pouelsen aboard. Making his first plate appearance for the ‘Bows, junior designated hitter Troy Kakugawa fired an RBI double into left field, pushing Hawai‘i ahead of the Dons, 2-0.
Despite a steady first start for right-hander Jackson Rees, the tenacious Dons took one back in the top of the fourth, using a Ross Puskarich double into the right center alley to trim the UH advantage to 2-1.
The ‘Bows were quick in their retort, as shortstop Dustin Demeter singled and moved all the way to third thanks to an errant throw to first. The very next pitch, Vchulek’s sacrifice fly gave Demeter the opportunity to come home for a 3-1 UH lead.
Relentless, the Dons added a Brady Bate RBI single in the seventh to trim the UH lead at 3-2, but Rees shut the door quickly before handing off to Patrick Martin in the eighth. Martin knocked down three consecutive batters on flies, yielding to Dylan Thomas in the ninth. Thomas allowed a two-out single, but secured the final out and his first career save.
Rees (1-0) went 7.0 innings for the win, giving two earned runs on five hits, striking out four with two walks. For USF, starter Sam Granoff (1-1) took the loss after 5.0 innings, allowing three unearned runs, striking out two.
Demeter went 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI, while Vchulek and Weeks each tabbed RBI.
The Rainbow Warriors head out Monday for their most distant road swing, taking on Minnesota, Iowa and Oral Roberts at U.S. Bank Stadium, hitting the Dairy Queen Classic over the weekend.
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