HONOLULU, O'ahu --- UC Irvine fought for its first series win in two months, and nearly fought for real on the field with Hawai'i as it came away with a 5-4 win Monday night at Les Murakami Stadium.
The fireworks began in the bottom of the second inning with Hawai'I (26-19, 8-10) threatening with runners on first and second and nobody out. Anteater starter Cole Spear pulled off a perfectly executed pickoff move with Christian Koss to nail Josh Rojas at second base. Rojas did not approve of the call firing back at the umpire who promptly ejected him. Rojas then got into the face of Koss who did not approve of his actions. Spear stepped in to separate the pair as the dugouts began to empty onto the field. UH head coach Mike Trapasso was also ejected after showing his displeasure with the call, and as the action resumed, Spear induced a double play ball as the Anteater dugout roared out to meet the defense coming off the field.
The game really turned in that sequence as the Rainbow Warriors looked as if they would going to answer an Anteater rally in the top half of the inning. UCI (19-30, 6-12) shot off some fireworks of their own in the top of the inning putting up four runs on the Bows. The rally really ignited after consecutive 'Eaters reached on errors by the middle infield helping score its first two runs and keep the bases loaded. An Adam Alcantara sacrifice fly and Ryan Fitzpatrick RBI infield single would complete the four-run frame giving UC Irvine a huge head start.
After extending the lead to 5-0, UH began to chip away scoring run in the fourth, manufacturing a pair in the fifth on groundouts, and drawing UCI to within 5-4 on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly pushing Cole Spear and his bullpen to the brink.
Michael Martin held firm retiring all four batters he faced before turning it over to Calvin Faucher looking to save the game as he entered in the eighth. Faucher allowed a baserunner in each inning, but continued his impressive week punching out three Bows to lock down the 5-4 win and his 12th save of the season.
The offensive motor ran on its 9-hitter Alex Guenette who hit the ball on the screws each time up resulting in a 2-for-4 night with a double, RBI, and two runs scored. Keston Hiura and Evan Cassolato also enjoyed two-hit nights while Adam Alcantara provided a pair of sacrifice flies for two RBI.
Cole Spear did enough for the win, his fourth, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings over just 68 pitches. The bullpen put up four scoreless frames allowing just two hits and a single walk.
UH scored all four runs on outs if you include an RBI single from Eric Ramirez in the fourth that got UH's first run crossing just before his teammate Adam Fogel was thrown out at third base. Following the play, Ramirez was too ejected as he disapproved of the out call.
The Bows' hard-luck loser was Jackson Rees who persevered through 115 pitches and seven innings dropping his first game of the season brought upon by three unearned runs from the five he allowed.
The series win ends a drought that runs back to March 10-12 in which UCI defeated No. 1 TCU as the last series win for UCI. It also raises the 'Eaters' standing in the Big West as it continues on the road this week with a trip to UC Riverside starting Friday, May 19. The first two games of the series will be shown on ESPN3.