Extending the University of Hawai’i (17-9) winning streak wasn’t in the cards for the Rainbow Warriors on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium, as Nevada (8-20) claimed an early lead and exploded late to deal UH the 9-2 loss.
For the second game in a row, the Wolf Pack was able to work out an early lead, as Nevada shortstop Justin Bridgman doubled to left center, setting up former UH player Mike Echavia, who kicked off a big night against his former team with an RBI single for the 1-0 advantage.
Trailing early, the Rainbow Warriors got off on the wrong foot and Bridgman reached on a two-out error in the top of the third. Again, it was Echavia who put the ball in play again for Bridgman to score on the throw.
After allowing the early runs, starter Jackson Rees settled in for the long haul in his first start under the lights at Les Murakami. Rees put together four scoreless innings to keep the game at a two-run deficit through the seventh.
The work gave UH an opportunity to make some offensive moves. Substitute right fielder Ethan Lopez sparked the Rainbow Warriors in the home half of the inning, moving to second on a wild pitch. Making his first appearance of the night as a substitute at designated hitter, Marcus Doi sparked Hawai’i, firing an RBI single up the middle. Hitting his second double of the night, first baseman Eric Ramirez knotted the score at 2-2.
Looking at a recent history of rallies and timely hitting, it looked like the Rainbow Warriors might be making their move. However, the Wolf Pack had other plans. Aided by three additional UH errors, Nevada reeled off three runs in the eighth and four more in the ninth against the Hawai’i bullpen, claiming an insurmountable 9-2 lead that would stand as the final margin.
Reliever Matt Richardson (0-2) threw 1.0 inning for the loss, allowing five hits and four earned runs. Rees went six hits with one earned run and five strikeouts.
Evan McMahon (2-4) earned the win for Nevada after 1.0 inning, allowing one earned run, while Ty Pennington earned his first save, throwing the final 2.0 innings without a hit, allowing two runners.
Stunted offensively with just six hits, Hawai’i was led by Ramirez, who finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI.
Leading the series 2-1, the Rainbow Warriors host the Wolf Pack in the series finale on Sunday at Les Murakami Stadium. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.