RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Marc Flores had a two-run single in the first inning, Lawrence Chew collected his team-high fourth save and the University of Hawai’i Rainbow baseball team opened its final series with a 5-4 win over UC Riverside on Thursday evening at the Riverside Sports Complex.
The victory gives the Rainbows (16-33, 11-14 Big West) their season-high four straight win and sends senior hurler Connor Little off with a win in his final game. Little (3-6) worked six innings before being lifted for Chew in the seventh inning. He gave up three runs on seven hits and allowed just a pair of walks.
Dylan Stuart pitched a complete game for the Highlanders (12-32, 8-17 Big West) but was hit with the loss to fall to 3-9. He allowed two earned runs on eight hits with six strikeouts in his nine innings of work.
Francisco Tellez led UCR with two hits, two runs, and one RBI including a leadoff home run in the seventh inning to help the Highlanders cut the Rainbow lead to just two runs. David Andriese had a pair of hits and an RBI, and Devyn Bolasky had one hit, one run, and one RBI.
The ‘Bows jumped all over Stuart in the first inning. Kaeo Aliviado (2 H, 2 R, 1 RBI) smacked a lead-off double, Pi’ikea Kitamura (2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI) put two runners aboard with a base hit, then Flores’s single gave UH a 2-0 lead with an out yet to be recorded.
Stuart settled down and would retire 13 straight Rainbows before Jerry Kleman re-energized the UH offense with a double in the fifth inning. The ‘Bows took advantage of two errors by UCR shortstop Nick Vilter to plate three runs and take a 5-0 lead.
Little would get himself into a jam in the seventh inning when, after allowing Tellez’s homer, he gave up a double to Kyle Boudreau (1 H, 1 R) then walked Vilter on four straight pitches. Chew came on and retired the next three batters while allowing just one of Little’s runs to score.
The ninth inning would not be without its tense moments as Chew allowed base hits to Tellez and pinch hitter Kevin Davidson to open the inning. Tellez would later score to cut the lead to 5-4, but Chew would force a comebacker right to the mound and throw out Bolasky to end the game and earn the three-inning save.
The Rainbows and Highlanders return to the field on Friday for game two of the series. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. PT (3:00 p.m. HT).