Game1: TUCSON, Arizona—The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (21-30) baseball squad dropped the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader, meeting Abilene Christian (17-38) on a neutral site at Arizona’s Hi Corbett Field. Breaking away from a tug-of-war battle late, the ACU Wildcats put up five runs in the final two frames to hand UH the 7-4 loss.
The ACU Wildcats came into the game hot, holding off host Arizona in the late game on Friday night, 2-1. However, it was the Rainbow Warriors who struck first in Saturday’s opening game. After three scoreless innings, a two-out, fourth inning Jonathan Weeks single up the middle put a run on the board for Hawai’i, scoring Eric Ramirez, who reached on a single through the right side.
Abilene Christian wasted no time in generating a response, capitalizing on an error that allowed Russell Crippen to get aboard. After Crippen moved over on a sacrifice bunt, he came home to tie the game at 1-1 on Colton Hall’s second hit of the afternoon, a single to right center.
Shutting down UH on three straight outs, ACU went on top in the bottom of the fifth as Aaron Draper, Kyle Carroll and Tyler Eager registered consecutive singles, with Eager’s bringing in the go-ahead run on a shot to left field.
Left fielder Marcus Doi knotted it up at 2-2 for the ‘Bows in the top of the sixth, placing a foul fly down the right field line for the sacrifice, giving Ramirez his second score of the day, after reaching on a one-out triple.
The Wildcats made the switch on the mound to open the seventh, and the ‘Bows went right to work on Nick Palacios, opening with a Weeks single into left field. Placing two in scoring position, shortstop Jacob Sheldon-Collins followed with a double down the right field line. Hawai’i capitalized on the opportunity, with Alan Baldwin scoring one on an RBI single lined into right center, and Kaeo Aliviado extended the lead to 4-2 on a sacrifice fly.
Abilene Christian refused to go away, and provided an even stronger response, with Alex Copeland, Hall and Mason Spracklen combining for RBI in a three-run frame. Despite the dimensions favorable to pitchers at Arizona, Crippen parked a two-run homer into center field off reliever Cody Culp to extend the Wildcats’ advantage to 7-4 in the eighth.
The three-run Abilene Christian advantage would stand, as closer Kevin Sheets held the ‘Bows with two runners aboard in the ninth, securing the win on his fourth save of the year.
Palacios (2-1) picked up the win with one (1.0) inning pitched, allowing one hit and no runs, issuing a walk and a strikeout.
For UH, Andrew Jones (1-5) took the loss, allowing four hits in one inning, giving four (4) runs with two (2) walks, after leaving the runners aboard before yielding to Culp.
Offensively, Ramirez and Weeks paced the ‘Bows, each hitting 2-for-4, with Ramirez scoring two (2) runs and Weeks adding an RBI and a run.
The ‘Bows follow up the opener of the doubleheader, meeting Arizona in the evening slot, taking on the Wildcats during their senior day. The late game will be broadcast on the radio at NBC Sports 1500 AM, utilizing the feed from Arizona radio.
Game 2: TUCSON, Ariz.—The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (21-31) baseball squad capped off Saturday’s double heading with a low-scoring affair in the nightcap with Arizona (30-24) at Hi Corbett Field. A pair of runs in the middle innings for the Wildcats proved to be enough, as UA held off a UH rally to deal the Rainbow Warriors the 2-1 loss.
The Rainbow Warriors got some offensive action early against Arizona starter Nathan Bannister, but the stout Wildcats defense forced the ‘Bows to leave men on base during the early frames. Beginning in the fourth frame, the junior UA right-hander settled in and limited UH to just one hit over a three-inning stretch.
In the meantime, the Arizona offense started to show some production, with Riley Moore providing the Wildcats the lead on an RBI double in the fourth. UA also capitalized on a throwing error in the fifth for a second run, scoring Tyler Krause on Justin Behnke’s RBI sacrifice bunt for the insurance run.
That run proved to be crucial for Arizona, as Jacob Sheldon-Collins got the ‘Bows going in the eighth, putting a one-out single into center field. Stephen Ventimilia followed with a single of his own, moving Sheldon-Collins to third, where he would break the shutout on Alan Baldwin‘s sacrifice fly.
Bannister (7-5) finished off the gem in the ninth with three straight Hawai’i outs, staving off the ‘Bows rally for the 2-1 win, pitching the complete game, allowing seven (7) hits and a run, striking out a career-high seven (7) UH batters.
At the plate, Kaeo Aliviado went 2-for-4 to lead Hawai’i, while Baldwin was 1-for-3, batting in the lone run.
The Rainbow Warriors and Wildcats return to action on Sunday in the Hawai’i season finale. First pitch is slated for 12:00 p.m. PT (9:00 a.m. HT) at Hi Corbett Field. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Honolulu 1420 AM, again utilizing the Arizona radio feed.