Working behind a career game from junior starter Dominic DeMiero, the University of Hawai‘i baseball team (20-12, 6-3 BWC) secured its third consecutive Big West series victory on Sunday at Les Murakami Stadium, defeating UC Riverside (14-15, 4-5 BWC) in a 5-0 shutout victory.
With the win, Hawai‘i moves into sole ownership of first place in the Big West standings, with a crucial road series coming up at Cal State Fullerton.
After working out of early inning jams, DeMiero (2-3) was phenomenal in delivering a career-long 8.1 inning shutout victory over the highlanders, fanning a career-best seven batters with no walks. The southpaw scattered eight UCR hits in keeping the Highlanders off the board.
Long before the Rainbow Warriors knew what output they would receive on the mound, the offense jumped out early, turning a first-inning bases-loaded situation into a big advantage with three runners scoring on a designated hitter Kekai Rios 2-RBI single and an error play. Second baseman Dustin Demeter’s follow-up RBI single allowed Rios to cross the plate for a 4-0 lead out of the opening stanza.
For the second time in the series, senior Johnny Weeks smacked an RBI single into right center to score catcher Tyler Murray and extend the game to its final margin at 5-0. The nation’s leader in the stat, a second-inning sacrifice bunt pushed Weeks into a tie with Michael Dartt (1996-99) for the UH career record. Weeks recorded four sac bunts in the three-game series.
Although DeMiero came out in the ninth with sights on the complete game win, a couple of hits brought closer Dylan Thomas out of the bullpen to finish things off, recording a strikeout in the non-save appearance.
Leading the ‘Bows at the plate, Rios was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run, while Demeter hit 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Rainbow Warriors head back to California on Tuesday in advance of a Wednesday night non-conference matchup at CSU Bakersfield (13-21). In a three-game Big West set, Hawai‘i square off with the perennial post-season-bound Cal State Fullerton Titans. With a 17-17 (4-2 BWC) record, the Titans sit in second in the BWC standings, dropping a 1-2 series at San Diego State.
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