‘Bows drop Sunday matinee, Split Series with West Virginia

Josh Pigg

Steady opposing hitting was the centerpiece of the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warrior baseball team’s (6-7) series finale on Sunday versus West Virginia (7-3) at Les Murakami Stadium, as the Mountaineers scored in seven innings of the non-conference contest to claim the 9-2 win and split the series at 2-2.

After taking a leadoff strikeout, the Mountaineers went to work on offense in the first inning, capitalizing on an uncharacteristic outfield error during Cole Austin’s double, allowing Darius Hill to score from first on the play for the 1-0 lead.

The Mountaineers extended their lead in the second with a Ray Guerrini one-out home run to left center. While WVU followed with consecutive base hit bunts, starter Josh Pigg pitched his way out of the jam with only one run allowed.

WVU opened the third inning with consecutive doubles, scoring Austin from second after he went wide to beat the tag at the plate for the 3-0 advantage.
In a fourth consecutive scoring inning for the Mountaineers, Guerrini led off with a double over the third base line in reliever Lawrence Chew’s first inning, moving over on a sacrifice bunt before coming home on Kyle Davis’ RBI single to left field expanding the lead to 4-0.

Leading off the fifth with an answer from the ‘Bows, Johnny Weeks lined a single to shallow center, advanced on a balk and reached third on a grounder. The sophomore third baseman put UH on the board, touching home as left fielder Alan Baldwin dribbled a ball to the right, beating starting pitcher Tanner Campbell to the bag for an RBI single.

After the initial UH score came a quick end to Campbell’s day, who subsequently hit catcher Kekai Rios and walked center fielder Matt LoCoco to load the bases before yielding to reliever Connor Dotson. Shortstop Jacob Sheldon-Collins collected an RBI groundout on Dotson’s first pitch, trimming the WVU lead to 4-2.

The Mountaineers made a big move in the seventh, sparked by a Jimmy Galusky leadoff triple. Following a Davis walk, Hill logged a two-run double on a slow-mover that slipped just inside first base down the line, ending the afternoon for Chew, handing off to right-hander Isaac Friesen, who tossed a wild pitch right away. A third WVU run scored on an error during the pickoff attempt on the play.

West Virginia tacked up two more runs in the final two frames, via a second Guarrini homer and a Jeremy Inman RBI fielder’s choice to lock up the 9-2 lead.
Pigg (0-2) took the loss for UH, pitching 3.0 innings with seven hits, two earned runs and one strikeout.

For WVU, Dotson (2-0) claimed the win, throwing 2.2 innings with two hits and four strikeouts.

At the plate, six Hawai’i batters logged a hit, with Sheldon-Collins and Baldwin tallying RBI.

The Rainbow Warriors return to action on Thursday, March 10, opening a four-game series with Michigan at Les Murakami Stadium. The Wolverines (7-3) opened their weekend series at UC Davis with a 4-3 loss and were rained out of the final three games of the series.

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