The Rainbow Warriors' offense was nowhere to be found Sunday afternoon at the Les Murakami Stadium.
The team managed only five hits on the day as Hawaiʻi (11-16, 1-2 BWC) dropped its series finale, a 4-0 loss, against UC Irvine in conference play.
“We’re a solid offensive club, and we’re not going to get shut out very often,” head coach Mike Trapasso said. “Its disappointing when you're supposed to be facing the 3 hole guy in the staff and you get shut out. We just have to be better.”
The day began promisingly, as freshman pitcher Liʻi Pontes retired three of the first four batters he faced.
The second inning did not go quite as well. UC Irvine right fielder Mike Peabody singled off of Pontes to start the inning, before another Anteater reached base on an error by sophomore left fielder Daylen Calicdan. UC Irvine shortstop Christian Koss’s sac fly to right field sent Peabody home for the first run of the game. Anteater catcher Griffin Mazur’s RBI single gave UC Irvine an early 2-0 lead.
“It should have just been one run,” head coach Mike Trapasso said. “We misplayed a fly ball and it led to two runs in the second. You have to credit (UC Irvine) for getting the hits after that, and that’s where Blaze (Pontes) has to get the outs after the misplayed ball.”
UC Irvine extended its lead with a homer off of Pontes to begin the fourth inning. After walking another hitter, Pontes’s day ended early. Junior pitcher Logan Pouelsen took the mound with one runner on base. He put three batters on base with a fielder’s choice, a hit, and an intentional walk but otherwise escaped the inning unscathed.
Pouelsen came out strong in the fifth inning, retiring all three batters he faced. In the bottom of the inning, junior designated hitter Brennen Hancock singled to center field for Hawaiʻi’s first hit of the game. His hit broke up Anteater pitcher Trenton Denholm’s no-hit bid. Hancock was ultimately left on base as UC Irvine converted a double play to end the inning.
In the sixth inning, Pouelsen gave up a double to Koss on the first pitch of the inning. Koss then advanced to third on a sac bunt. Junior pitcher Dylan Thomas took the mound hoping to give the ‘Bows one last chance for a comeback. However, he gave up an RBI single to the first batter he faced as UC Irvine extended its lead to 4-0. Thomas was bailed out on the next play as senior shortstop Maaki Yamazaki successfully converted a double play to first base.
Freshman center fielder Scotty Scott picked up the Rainbow Warriors’ second hit of the day in the sixth inning, but he and Calicdan (base on balls) were left stranded on base.
Thomas pitched well in the seventh and eighth innings, retiring six out of the seven batters he faced. The offense was not able to take advantage, picking up just one hit across two innings.
“We pitched pretty well overall,” Trapasso said of the bullpen. “I’m going to take away a positive on the pitching end.”
With the game still within reaching distance, the ‘Bows doubled their hits in the ninth inning. Calicdan was first to reach base with a single through the left side. Hancock followed suit with a single to left field. However, a comeback was not in the cards as both runners were left on base to end the game.
The loss drops Hawaiʻi to 1-2 in conference play. UC Irvine takes the season series as the Rainbow Warriors prepare for another three-game conference series against UC Davis.
“There’s 21 conference games left,” Trapasso said. “Each game has equal weight and value. We just have to continue to grow. We have to be better. Now it’s about winning games.”
The ‘Bows return to the Les Murakami Stadium on April 5 at 6:35 p.m. for game one against UC Davis.