HONOLULU – Hawai’i broke an even game wide open with a three-run seventh inning that the Ducks couldn’t come back from in a 5-2 loss during game one of Sunday’s doubleheader at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Ducks put two runners on in the top of the ninth by way of a hit batter and single off Hawai’I reliever Alex Capaul, but the ‘Bows brought in their ace closer Lenny Linsky, who Oregon has yet to find an answer for as the righty earned his third save of the series and season by retiring Curtis Raulinaitis and then erasing Karraker at second on Serna’s fielder’s choice.
After Oregon tied the score at 2-2 in the top of the seventh, Hawai’i answered in the bottom of the inning with a three-run effort as Breland Almadova led things off with a double down the right field line off UO reliever Ryan Fleckenstein. The lefty came in the game to get the final out of the sixth after Alex Keudell faced two batters in relief of Oregon starter Scott McGough.
Greg Garcia’s RBI single was sent right back up the middle to score Almadova as the ‘Bows took a 3-2 advantage. Kolten Wong then reached on an infield single, but Garcia was erased on Macdonald’s attempt at a sacrifice as Fleckenstein came off the mound to make the play at third.
After his defensive effort, Fleckenstein was relieved with two runners on and one out by sophomore right-hander Madison Boer, who was making his first appearance of the year. Collin Bennett then tagged a one-run double down the left field line to score Wong and move Macdonald to third. David Freitas’ sacrifice fly scored the third and final run of the inning as Macdonald tagged up and scored as Hawai’i took a 5-2 advantage.
Fleckenstein took the loss for Oregon after surrendering three runs on three hits in 0.2 innings of relief.
In the first start of his career, McGough lasted 5 and 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out three.
Danny Pulfer led the Ducks with a 3-for-4 day and one RBI, while Raulinaitis was 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Hawai’i got to McGough in the third as Garcia laced a one-out double off the wall in center past a diving Raulinaitis. Wong then singled through the right side, advancing Garcia to third, putting runners on the corners with one out. McGough’s attempt to check on the speedy Wong at first was called a balk by the umpire, giving Garcia home for the first score of the game and moving Wong to second. Wong was later erased on a base running miscue. After Bennett singled, McGough had runners on first and second with two outs when Freitas came to the plate, but McGough limited the damage by coaxing a groundout from the starting catcher.
The Ducks quickly tied the game in the top of the fourth after Jack Marder led things off with a single up the middle. On Hambright’s third strike, Marder stole second to move into scoring position, but the Ducks picked up their second out when J.J. Altobelli grounded out and Marder moved to third. Steven Packard drew a walk to put runners on the corners with two outs for Danny Pulfer, who returned Slaats’ offering with a one-run single back up the middle to bring home Marder and tie the game at 1-1.
Freitas gave the Rainbows a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, blistering a solo shot on a 3-1 count over the fence in right field. McGough’s day was ended as Keudell came on in relief for the second time in the series.
The Ducks came back to tie the game up in the top of the seventh, 2-2, as Pulfer led the inning off with a daring double to left off
Hawai’I reliever Alex Capaul, who had came on in relief during the fifth. Pulfer legged out a shallow ball to right, beating the throw at second with a slide. Mitch Karraker then tagged a drive that Bennett had to catch up against the wall in right, but the fly out did move Pulfer to third, setting up Raulinaitis’ RBI single through the left side.
Capaul (2-0) recorded the win for Hawai’i pitching four innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits while striking out three.
Slaats pitched four and 1/3 innings in the start allowing one run on four hits and three walks while striking out four.