(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – Generating its largest road margin of victory since 2005, the University of Hawai'i baseball team (16-9, 2-1 BWC) racked up 14 runs on 14 hits to blow past UC Irvine (14-12, 1-2 BWC) to win the opening Big West series on Saturday afternoon on Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark with a 14-2 victory.
After coming up short with runners in scoring position on Saturday, Hawai'i capitalized early and often to quickly build an insurmountable lead over the Anteaters. A season-high 14 runs, a season-high 14 hits, five batters with multiple hits, four hitters with multiple RBI and starter Neil Uskali going a season-long 7.2 innings with one earned run; all amounted to the most runs scored against a Big West foe since joining the league.
The Rainbow Warriors got a shot in the arm early against the Anteaters, using four hits and two walks to score five in just the second inning. With the bases loaded, Dylan Vchulek and Maaki Yamazaki tabbed consecutive RBI singles back to the pitcher. Johnny Weeks added a sacrifice fly and Adam Fogel capped off the frame with a towering two-run double into left center for the 5-0 UH advantage.
The 'Bows evaded a major counter in the home half of the second, as UC Irvine loaded up the bases with two outs, but only produced an RBI hit batter to trim the deficit to four runs.
The 'Bows expanded their lead by just a single run in the third, but they did knock UC Irvine starter Trenton Denholm out of the game after Eric Ramirez hit a no-out double to give UH a pair of runners in scoring position. Catcher Chayce Ka'aua cashed in the chance with an RBI groundout.
Keeping the pressure on the UC Irvine bullpen, Hawai'i kept pouring it on with a two-run Logan Pouelsen double and a two-run Weeks single in back-to-back innings, reaching double-digit scoring for the first time in 2018.
Tying Long Beach State's Zak Baayoun for the top Big West win count, Uskali (5-1) went deep against the Anteaters, allowing just a single earned run while scattering 10 hits. The senior struck out four with no walks and kept UCI off the board for five innings until an eighth-inning error make room for a Cole Kreuter RBI single.
However, like the Anteaters on the previous night, the Rainbow Warriors laid it on thick late. After Evan McMillin and Dylan Riddle finally stopped the UH scoring spree after four consecutive innings, left fielder-turned-reliever Brendan Brooks surrendered four UH runs in the ninth. Yamazaki collected a two-run double, Dylan Vchulek scored on a wild pitch and Fogel collected his third RBI of the game to cap off a huge series finale in Irvine.
Leading the 'Bows onslaught, Fogel and Weeks each finished 3-for-4 with three RBI, both scoring once. Yamazaki also tabbed three RBI on 2-for-6 hitting. In total, the Rainbow Warriors collected 39 hits on the series to bat .345 against the Anteaters.
Bridging consecutive Big West series on the mainland, the Rainbow Warriors will travel to Stockton to face Pacific (CA) on Monday night. The Tigers are 10-16 after earning a series victory over Loyola Marymount on a 7-5 Saturday win at home. First pitch between UH and Pacific is slated for 3:00 p.m. HT on Monday at Klein Family Field.