HONOLULU – The University of Hawai'i (22-14, 4-5 BWC) baseball squad closed out the UC Davis (12-20, 5-7 BWC) series with a victory, scrapping out a 3-1 win over the Aggies and avoiding the series sweep on Sunday at Les Murakami Stadium.
Hawai'i's Neil Uskali and UC Davis' Robert Garcia battled it out in a pitcher's duel across the early innings on Sunday, but the Rainbow Warriors were the first to touch the scoreboard. In the third, center fielder Dylan Vchulek made the most of reaching on an error, coming around to score on a Kekai Rios sacrifice fly.
Like other games in the series, the Aggies were quick to respond, as UC Davis logged a pair of singles in the top of the fourth, placing Cameron Olsen on third when Uskali was called for a balk, knotting the score at 1-1.
However, contrary to other games in the series, the Rainbow Warriors were quick to reclaim the lead, as right fielder Alex Fitchett sparked the 'Bows with a leadoff single, making his way to third and scoring on a Jordan LaFave sac fly for the go-ahead run. Johnny Weeks added an insurance run, scoring on a Vchulek RBI single for the 3-1 advantage.
After the fourth, the battle swung back to the pitching staffs, as Garcia yielded to a pair of relievers to keep further runs off the scoreboard, while Uskali nearly went the distance. After allowing the run, Uskali knocked down the next 11 batters and 16 of the next 18. Tossing 121 pitches, the right-handed UH starter made it one out into the ninth before yielding to Dylan Thomas, who picked up his fifth save.
On 8.1 innings, Uskali (6-2) allowed only the single run on a five-hit performance, walking none and striking out six.
At the plate, Vchulek had his hand in everything, hitting 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Fitchett chipped in 2-for-3 hitting, aiding the 'Bows to one win in the series.
The Aggies claimed a 2-1 series win, as the Rainbow Warriors carry the momentum of a win into next week's road swing at CSUN. The Matadors swept their Big West series at home against UC Riverside over the weekend.
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