HONOLULU – Austin Wobrock‘s check swing RBI single in the eighth inning proved to be the game winner as the University of Hawai’i Rainbow baseball team shocked No. 3 Cal State Fullerton with a 4-3 series-opening win on Friday night at Les Murakami Stadium. The ‘Bows improve to 9-27 overall and 4-9 in the Big West Conference while CSF drops to 36-5 and 10-3 in league play.
Conner George (1 R) walked to open the eighth inning then moved to third when Marc Flores (1-4) singled through the right side of the infield. The ‘Bows looked to be in great shape with runners at the corners and no outs, but Andre Real (1-4) and Kalei Hanawahine (1-4) both struck out as Wobrock came up for his at bat. Wobrock checked his swing on reliever Tyler Peitzmeier’s first pitch, but ended up poking the ball down the third base line as George scampered home to give the Rainbows the lead for good.
Conner Little, named the Friday night starter just one day ago, delivered one of his best outings of the season. He tossed seven and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. Lawrence Chew (1-1) picked up the win in one and one-third scoreless innings of work.
CSF starter Thomas Eshelman was lifted in the fourth inning after working his shortest outing of the season. Koby Gauna (2-1) was the pitcher of record for the Titans, tossing four innings and allowing one run on two hits.
Wobrock and Stephen Ventimilia led the ‘Bows at the plate, both collecting two hits, one run, and one RBI. Tyler Young added one hit and one run as all but two Rainbows in the batting order recorded a hit.
Carlos Lopez and Austin Kingsolver both had a pair of hits and a run scored to lead the Titans. Richy Pedroza had a lead off triple to open the game and scored to give CSF its only lead of the game, 1-0 in the top of the first.
The ‘Bows got on the board in the third inning, scoring three runs on three hits to take a 3-1 lead. Wobrock capitalized on a Pedroza throwing error to score from third, with Pi’ikea Kitamura (1 H, 1 RBI) later scoring Young on an RBI single.
CSF cut into the lead when Lopez led off the sixth inning with a double, and later scored to make it a one-run game. Lopez then helped tie the game in the eighth inning, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field to score Kingsolver from third to even the score at 3-3.
The Rainbows and Titans square off in game two of the series on Saturday at 6:35 p.m.