HONOLULU, O'ahu --- UC Irvine jumped on freshman Adrian Damla's back as his first career home run in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner to even the series with Hawai'I, 4-3, Sunday night at Les Murakami Stadium.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Parker Coss slid a single past the diving third baseman to keep the inning alive for Damla. On a 1-0 count, he connected for a deep fly well out to right field to take UCI (18-30, 5-12) from down one to up one in an instant.
Andre Pallante shut down the Rainbow Warriors in the bottom half of the inning, and senior Calvin Faucher sewed up his 11th save of the season with two big ninth-inning Ks to lock down a series-tying victory, 4-3.
Damla's big fly is the first of his Anteater career coming on the heels of a two-hit game on Friday for the freshman playing his first two career games as a left fielder.
He and the 'Eaters were in control of the game early plating the game's first run in the fourth as Adam Alcantara doubled and drew the throw of the third baseman to help Keston Hiura reach. A Ryan Fitzpatrick sac bunt and Parker Coss sac fly brought Alcantara home to make it a 1-0 Anteater lead.
UCI repeated the process in the sixth as Hiura doubled, Fitzpatrick sacrificed him over, and this time Parker Coss laid down the squeeze bunt that turned into a single and a 2-0 UCI lead.
Hawai'i (26-18, 8-9) finally got to Anteater starter Jordan Bocko who was mowing down UH batters through five. He left after allowing a one-out double to Josh Rojas putting two Bows in scoring position, and Chris Vargas could not keep them put allowing a two-run single from Adam Fogel to tie it. Vargas gave way to Andre Pallante who saw the lead vanish on the first pitch he threw as the Rainbow Warriors entered the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead.
Pallante would regroup and work 2.2 scoreless innings to secure his team-leading sixth win. Coss and Damla's two-RBI nights drove in all the Anteater runs while Coss was joined by Cole Kreuter and Evan Cassolato with multi-hit games.
Fogel had three hits and two RBI for UH who also got two-hit games from Dylan Vchulek and Alex Fitchett with Fitchett adding an RBI. Dominic DeMiero match Bocko with two earned and three strikeouts over 5.2 innings. Neil Uskali worked the other 3.1 innings and drew his fourth loss.
The series draws even with one final matchup coming at 6:35 p.m. local time on Monday.