HONOLULU – Matt Cooper became the 14th different University of Hawai’i pitcher to record 100 strikeouts in a season, guiding the Rainbow Warriors to a 5-1 season finale senior night win over UC Riverside on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium.
Cooper (6-5) equaled a career-high 11 strikeouts while allowing one run and scattering seven hits over seven and two-thirds innings. Senior Tyler Young had a career-high three hits and two RBI and Kaeo Aliviado added two hits, two runs, and one RBI to close the season with a .310 batting average.
Ben Douchette (3-6) lasted just two and two-thirds innings for the Highlanders (26-28, 12-12 Big West). He gave up three runs on five hits in the loss. Francisco Tellez had two hits and a run in the losing effort.
The ‘Bows (22-31, 6-18 Big West) got on the board early when a Conner George (1 H, 1 RBI) double scored Stephen Ventimilia (1 H, 2 R) from first base.
Ventimilia scored again in the third inning, this time driven home on a base hit from Aliviado. Ventimilia had led off the inning with a single before George laid down a perfect sac bunt to move him to third. Young padded the lead with an RBI-single and UH had a 3-0 lead after two innings.
The Highlanders plated their first run in the fifth. Matthew Ellis’s sac bunt put a pair of runners in scoring position before a Cooper wild pitch allowed Drake Zarate (2-4) to score from third.
The ‘Bows added another pair of runs in the seventh but the game hung in the balance when three straight UCR base hits to open the ninth inning loaded the bases with no outs. Eric Gleese, UH’s second reliever of the game, answered the call and struck out the next two hitters and forced a game-ending ground out to earn his third save.
Following the game, the 10 Rainbow Warrior seniors were honored for their contributions to UH baseball.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*