Coming off a six-game road swing and its first Big West series win at UC Riverside, the University of Hawai'i baseball team (21-12, 3-3 BWC) returns to Les Murakami Stadium for a three-game series against UC Davis (10-19, 3-6 BWC), running Friday through Sunday.
Heading into this week's Big West home opener, Hawai'i leads the overall series, 13-6 in a history dating back to just 2005. The Rainbow Warriors have won six of the last seven games over the Aggies across the past two seasons.
The Rainbow Warriors captured the series win at UCR on a comeback win in the finale, as Alex Fitchett's clutch two-run homer put the 'Bows ahead for the final time on Saturday, breaking the 4-4 tie.
The Aggies will be a little more refreshed than expected, as their Tuesday night midweek game with Nevada was postponed. UCD is coming off a home series loss to Cal Poly, earning a neutral-site shutout win over the Mustangs in the second game of the series. The Aggies have dropped six of their last seven games and are 2-11 on the road this year.
On pace with last year's squad, UC Davis is hitting .265, averaging 4.5 runs per contest. Senior catcher Ignacio Diaz is leading the way at the plate, batting .316 with a team-high .383 on-base percentage and tabbing 13 RBI and 11 runs. Meanwhile, sophomore left fielder Ryan Anderson is pacing the team in RBI (19), runs (18) and ties for the most homers (4).
Working with a staff ERA of 4.51, the Aggies have allowed an average of 5.2 runs per outing and opponents are hitting .275 against. The reigning Big West pitcher of the Week, Orlando Razo leads the staff with a 4-2 record, a 3.96 ERA and 46 strikeouts.
With a 3.31 ERA, Hawai'i's pitching staff remains one of the top corps in the nation, ranking 26th in ERA nationally, but third in the pitching-heavy Big West. The 'Bows staff is elite in putting batters away easy, ranking second in the NCAA in walks per game (2.08) and 15th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.07).
No. 1 starter Brendan Hornung continues to lead the Big West with 67 strikeouts – 40th nationally – ranking third nationally in both walks per game (0.63) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (13.40). He was also the winner of the Rainbow Award for inspiration and overcoming adversity at Monday's "H Awards". Moving to a 5-2 record last week, he tallied his fourth complete game victory, the most for a UH pitcher since Daven Hermosura had the same total in 1997.
At the plate, Kekai Rios outstanding campaign remains on track, leading the team with a .336 average, accounting for eight doubles, 18 runs and 13 RBI – not to mention picked off 11 would-be base thieves.
Receiving baseball's Top Scholar Award during Monday's ceremony, center fielder Dylan Vchulek has extended his reached base streak to all 33 games, surpassing David Freitas (2010) and Kolten Wong's (2009) 32-game marks. Vchulek is hitting .319 with a team-leading 27 runs and 11 steals, adding 18 RBI. Meanwhile, Fitchett leads the team with the most (4) home runs since 2012, batting .301 with a team-high 22 RBI.
Hawaii Athletics Release
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