(Hawaii Athletics) - The University of Hawai‘i baseball team (22-15, 8-5 BWC) got things headed in the right direction on Friday night at Les Murakami Stadium, securing a crucial series-opening Big West victory over CSUN (17-24, 5-8 BWC), coming out on top, 5-3.

Junior starter Jackson Rees set the tone for the Rainbow Warriors, dealing six of his career-high-matching strikeouts in the first three innings of Friday’s outing. Rees (4-1) earned the win after tossing 7.1 innings with three runs on four hits.

CSUN starter Walker Armstrong also toed the defensive line. Despite allowing three UH runners early, the ‘Bows were held without a hit until the fifth inning, when Logan Pouelsen led off with a first-pitch single. With the infield pulled in, Maaki Yamazaki made it count and plated two for the ‘Bows lead. Adam Fogel extended the lead with an RBI single through the left side.

Although the Matadors brought in their own run in the sixth on a Riley Conlan RBI, the ‘Bows responded in short order. With the bases juiced in the seventh, Kekai Rios fired a shot through the right side to bring home two more scores for the 5-1 advantage.

As Rees crested 100 pitches in his eighth inning, the Matadors were able to chip off a couple more runs, but closer Dylan Thomas wrapped up the series-opening victory with his 11th save in 14 opportunities.

With his hand in four of the Warriors’ five runs, Yamazaki went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Rios was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, plating two RBI.

The Rainbow Warriors and Matadors return to action on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium in the second game of the series. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.