HONOLULU – Making the most of a fourth-inning Rainbow Warrior outburst, the University of Hawai’i baseball team (25-16, 7-7 BWC) pulled past No. 14 Cal State Fullerton (27-16, 9-5 BWC) to even the series on Saturday before a full house at Les Murakami Stadium.
Hawai’i’s Jackson Rees and Cal State Fullerton’s John Gavin engaged early in a pitcher’s duel, keeping the scoreboard empty despite four Titan and two Warrior runners left on base through the first four frames.
Ending the shutout, for the second game in a row it was Scott Hurst who initiated the scoring for the Titans, capitalizing on a fifth-inning walk and scoring on Sahid Valenzuela’s center field single.
Trailing 1-0, the Rainbow Warriors came to life in the home half of the fifth. Designated hitter Chayce Ka’aua led off with a single and reached third on a Josh Rojas double. Center fielder Dylan Vchulek came through in the clutch, shading a full count, two-out, two-run double to outer left field for the one-run advantage. Although the sell-out crowd let loose for Vchulek, it was nothing compared to the roar unleashed on Johnny Weeks‘ two-run, opposite field home run down the right field line for the 4-1 Hawai’i advantage.
That lone big inning proved to be the killstroke, as Rees came out of the pitcher’s duel victorious. Rees (5-0) earned the win with 8.0 innings pitched, allowing only the single run on five hits, striking out four. Dylan Thomas shut the door in the ninth inning, earning his seventh save.
At the plate, Weeks and Vchulek both went 2-for-4 with one run and two RBI to lead the ‘Bows.
With the series split at 1-1, the Rainbow Warriors and Titans return to action in Sunday’s rubber match at 1:05 p.m. in Les Murakami Stadium.