Hawaii baseball is in position to end the season with a series sweep

spoiler alert.

Hawaii’s baseball team jumped, jumped and then broke through for Friday night’s 8-5 victory over UC Santa Barbara at Les Murakami Stadium.

The Gauchos entered the season-ending three-game series needing to win at least two to keep their hopes of earning the Big West’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament alive. But the ‘Bows defeated the Gauchos 17-1 in Thursday’s opener and rallied Friday to clinch the series.

The result left the Gauchos 18-11 in the Big West. UC San Diego, which is ineligible for the postseason as it transitions to Division I, finished the regular season with a 21-9 record. Cal State Fullerton is 20-9 with one game left. The ‘Bows improved to 28-20 overall and 17-12 in the Big West before tonight’s season finale.

The Gauchos have the most powerful offense in the league, starting the week with 84 home runs through the first 52 games. But the ‘Bows, who had 18 hits Thursday, improvised an attack with timely hits and attentive baserunning. They scored on a pass, a wild pitch and a balk.

Second baseman Stone Miyao also stretched his hitting streak to nine games when he hit a solo home run to spark a four-run sixth and extend Bows’ lead to 8-3. It was Miyao’s first home run since May 7, 2022.

“It felt good,” Miyao said. “I tried to stay focused throughout the game and it worked.”

The ‘Bows scored two runs in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. Jordan Donahue reached second when third baseman Zander Darby made a diving stop and then threw wide to first baseman LeTrey McCollum. Catcher Aaron Parker couldn’t secure Hudson Barrett’s breaking pitch when Donahue ran nonstop from second to tie it at 3.

“I was looking at Coach Rich (Hill) and he was waving at me, so I just kept going,” said Donahue, who can run for 60 yards in 6.5 seconds.

DallasJ Duarte walked, reached second on Miyao’s groundout and scored on Jacob Igawa’s single to give the ‘Bows the lead for the first time all night.

One night after UH’s Harry Gustin and Alex Giroux each struck out nine, left-handed pitchers Randy Abshier and Harrison Bodendorf combined to make 17 gauchos.

“I’ll take that any day of the week,” Hill said. “They’ve seen a lot of lefties, throwing inside, mixing in a changeup. Randy got it going after that first inning (three runs). We all have a choice when you get punched in the stomach. You pull the sheets over your head and either quit or… move on. And that’s exactly what Randy did.”

Abshier didn’t allow a run over the next four innings to improve to 6-3. Bodendorf earned his fifth save.

“You have to fight back,” Abshier said. “You can’t give up.”

It took four batters for the Gauchos to take a 3-0 lead. Jared Sundstrom reached on Donahue’s error to lead off the game, then moved to third on Ivan Brethowr’s single to the right side that was vacated by a changeup. One out later, Christian Kirtley hit a three-run home run over the right field fence.

The ‘Bows closed out 3–1 in the second inning when Sean Rimmer was walked and, two outs later, ran home on Duarte’s double to right.

In UH’s third inning, Matt Wong grounded out and edged first baseman McCollum to base for a single. Pinch hitter Tai Walton singled to right field, setting up Rimmer’s RBI single to center field to cut the deficit to 3–2. Rimmer, who started in left field, was making only his second appearance in 35 days.