(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors baseball team jumped out to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 2006 season after securing a 2-1 win over Air Force (0-3) to start the day on Sunday at Les Murakami Stadium. The second game of the doubleheader was rained out, ending the Warriors' weekend against the Falcons.
Timely hitting proved to be clutch for the Rainbow Warriors in a pitcher's duel to open Sunday's outing.
Despite a leadoff walk to start the game, starter Neil Uskali responded in a big way, knocking out three consecutive Falcon outs to keep the frame blank.
In the bottom half, Hawai'i was able to capitalize early on an Air Force miscue, as Dylan Vchulek reached via catcher's interference as the leadoff batter. After moving over on a hard-hit Dustin Demeter single, redshirt senior designated hitter Chayce Ka'aua cashed him in, plating the Rainbow Warriors' first run on a sacrifice fly.
Twice Air Force put the leadoff batter aboard with nothing to show for it, but the third time was not the charm, as Ryan Robb scored on a third-inning RBI groundout, tying the game at 1-1.
Sophomore right fielder Adam Fogel wasted no time answering the call, driving the second pitch he saw beyond the left center wall for his and UH's first home run of the 2018 campaign and a 2-1 advantage.
The Hawai'i lead remained at a single run through the final out, as Air Force sent two relievers to the mound, and redshirt sophomore Dylan Thomas took over for Uskali in the sixth, shutting out the Falcons for the final 1.1 frames. Thomas held AFA hitless for his second save of the weekend. Uskali (1-0) finished with the win, holding AFA to four hits with four strikeouts.
At the plate, junior shortstop Maaki Yamazaki went 2-for-2 to lead the Rainbow Warriors.
The second game of the planned doubleheader ended as a rainout, with Air Force leading into the top of the second when the conditions became unworkable. The game was cancelled and will not be made up.
The Rainbow Warriors return to action next weekend at home, facing Brigham Young in a four-game set at Les Murakami Stadium, Feb. 22-24.