The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (14-24, 5-8 Big West) baseball squad dropped a back-and-forth battle with the visiting Cal State Northridge (CSUN) Matadors (23-15, 3-9 Big West) in Sunday’s series finale at Les Murakami Stadium, coming back from an early deficit, but taking the 7-3 loss as the Matadors rallied in the sixth. Despite the loss, UH wins the series, 2-1.
The Matadors scored right out of the gate, taking their first lead of the series on designated hitter Nolan Bumstead’s RBI single through the left side that scored Justin Toerner unearned, after he reached on a two-out error in the first. CSUN tallied another score in the second, cashing in a leadoff double by catcher Dylan Alexander.
Trailing 2-0, leadoff hitter Jacob Sheldon-Collins reach on an error to jumpstart the Rainbow Warriors, moving over on a sacrifice bunt and reaching third on Stephen Ventimilia’s single. Right fielder Alan Baldwin notched the first run on the board for UH, bringing Sheldon-Collins in on a sacrifice fly. An additional error with Kaeo Aliviado at the plate gave Ventimilia the chance to score and knot up the game, while Aliviado scored the go-ahead run as Eric Ramirez shot the right side for the RBI single.
After meeting challenges early, starter Jarrett Arakawa settled in and knocked down 10 consecutive Matador batters from the third to the fifth, but with a rising pitch count, CSUN got to him in the sixth. The Matadors converted consecutive base runners, scoring the tie run on a Yusuke Akitoshi RBI single, prompting the ‘Bows to go to the bullpen.
With reliever Cody Culp on the mound, the Matadors added one more to the board before the junior could silence the CSUN offense, with UH dropping behind 4-3. CSUN kept its rally going into the seventh, collecting three additional runs off Culp and Matt Valencia for the 7-3 advantage. Andrew Jones held the Matadors to a single hit with no runs through two innings of relief.
After allowing the big UH inning early, CSUN starter Rayne Raven combined with Angel Rodriguez to keep the ‘Bows at bay, securing the game three win to avoid the sweep. Raven (5-3) earned the win, pitching seven (7.0) frames, allowing four (4) hits and three (3) runs, with four strikeouts.
Arakawa (2-2) takes the loss for UH, throwing 5.1 innings with five (5) hits, four (4) runs (two earned), while striking out four (4) with no walks.
At the plate, Ramirez tallied and RBI on 1-for-4 hitting, with another coming from Baldwin.
The Rainbow Warriors remain at Les Murakami for another week, wrapping up the home stand next weekend with No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (28-9, 6-3 Big West) coming to town for a three-game set.