(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – The University of Hawai'i baseball team (22-17, 8-7 BWC) came out on the wrong end of Sunday's Big West series finale pitcher's duel with CSUN (19-24, 7-8 BWC) at Les Murakami Stadium, falling short on pushes for a comeback despite a mere two-run deficit. With the loss, UH lost its second consecutive conference series.
Despite showing some command struggles, freshman Jeremy Yelland held the Matadors to a single run in his first career start – called to action as a late lineup change for the Rainbow Warriors. The Matadors were able to work around to an RBI groundout in the third inning to play from ahead early.
Throwing 2.2 innings, Yelland handed off to Kyle Hatton for 3.1 innings and a then Dylan Thomas for an unusually-extended closing appearance. In the top of the ninth, the Matadors struck again with a sacrifice fly to grow the lead to 2-0 before shutting down the 'Bows in the home half.
Hawai'i wasn't without opportunities, but CSUN played error free and put away not only routine contact but some of the tough ones as well. UH's golden opportunity came in the eighth after freshman Alex Baeza led off with a double and senior Dylan Vchulek made it corner runners with a bunt single. CSUN shortstop Alvaro Rubalcaba halted the game tying score by gloving Maaki Yamazaki's high-bouncing chopper and making an outstanding turn to double-up the 'Bows and end the comeback.
While the 'Bows used three pitchers in the duel, CSUN starter Matt Acosta went the distance, holding UH to five hits in the complete game shutout.
The series loss leaves the Rainbow Warriors tied for second in the Big West standings with UC Irvine. Hawai'i is back at home again next weekend as host to a three-game series against Cal Poly. At 19-23 (6-6 Big West), the Mustangs are coming off three straight close losses at home vs. No. 9 UCLA; they will face Santa Clara on Tuesday before heading to the islands.