Hawai’i ABCs: Abshier, Bodendorf Combine for 17 Ks as ‘Bows beat ‘Chos Again 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED MAY 27, 2023

HONOLULU — Another day, another win at the Les. 

The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (28-20) took down UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (35-19), 8-5, in game two of a three-game series at Les Murakami Stadium Friday night. 

The ‘Bows took the first game of the series, 17-1, on Thursday. The Gauchos entered the series needing a sweep of UH for a share of the Big West title.

Hawai’i left-handed pitcher Randy Abshier got the call for the Friday night matchup, part of senior weekend for the BaseBows, though it took some time for the senior southpaw to settle in and find his command.

The Gauchos, looking to start quickly after a quiet night at the plate Thursday, saw the first two batters reach before Christian Kirtley crushed a one-out, three-run home run over the right field fence to open an early 3-0 lead for the visitors. 

The ‘Bows tried to answer back in the bottom half of the opening frame, loading the bases with just one out, but back-to-back strikeouts by Gauchos’ starter Hudson Barrett ended the threat without any damage by Hawai’i in the first.

Abshier came out to the mound calmer in the top of the second, setting down the Gauchos in order in the frame to keep the deficit at three runs. 

Hawai’i got on the board in the bottom half of the second, after Sean Rimmer led the inning off with a walk and scored on a two-out RBI double off the bat of Dallas Duarte later in the inning.

The ‘Bows threat for more was extinguished one batter later after a Stone Miyao line drive was snatched out of the air at third base to end the inning.

Abshier continued getting better, working through the next three Gauchos’ batters in order again in the top of the third to work up to seven straight retired by the lefty.

The BaseBows cut another run off their deficit in the bottom of the third, as Rimmer dropped a base hit into centerfield to score Matt Wong from second and cut the lead to 3-2 before the Gauchos could escape trouble once again.

UCSB’s Zander Darby singled to left with two outs in the top of the fourth to break Abshier’s streak of nine straight batters retired, but the Gauchos were unable to add on otherwise as the lefty continued to work in rhythm.

Hawai’i continued chugging along on offense, with Jordan Donahue capitalizing on an error by the visitors to reach base and score on a passed ball during the next at-bat and tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth.

The ‘Bows took their first lead of the game a couple batters later, as Jacob Igawa singled home a speeding Dallas Duarte from second base, catapulting Hawai’i to a 4-3 lead heading into the top of the fifth inning.

Abshier flashed his dominance in the fifth, sitting the Gauchos down in order once again. The lefty retired 14 of 15 batters faced between his one-out walk issued following the Kirtley home run and the end of the fifth. 

His day would end after walking the leadoff batter in the top of the sixth, giving way to fellow left-hander Harrison Bodendorf with a runner on first and none gone. 

Bodendorf picked up a strikeout, but a walk and hit batter later loaded the bases with only one away for the Gauchos in the top of the sixth, trailing by a run.

The lefty struck out Darby for the second out before inducing an inning-ending 4-6 fielder’s choice to escape the jam with the lead still in hand for Hawai’i as they went to the bottom of the sixth.

Feeling the pressure from the top of the inning, it was important for the ‘Bows to add breathing room for the pitching staff and defense and do it quickly.

Stone Miyao answered the call by delivering his first home run of the year, a solo shot to right field, extending the lead to 5-3 to start the ‘Bows half of the sixth. 

The bomb to right was the first of four insurance runs the home squad added in the frame, as Ben Ziegler-Namoa brought home another run on a fielder’s choice before two more came across after a wild pitch and balk from UCSB reliever Sam Whiting, giving the ‘Bows a commanding 8-3 lead.

The Gauchos got a run back in the top of the seventh after a one-out triple came around to score on a wild pitch from Bodendorf. The lefty wiggled out of the inning avoiding further trouble before posting a zero in the top of the eighth inning. 

Hawai’i threatened in the bottom half of the eighth, putting runners on the corners with only one out, but UCSB quashed the ‘Bows threat and kept the score, 8-4, as the Gauchos came to the plate for their last ABs of the night.

Bodendorf had some trouble in the top of the ninth, allowing a double down into the left field corner to set up the Gauchos with runners on second and third and only one out. 

After a quick discussion with Hawai’i head coach Rich Hill to settle down the southpaw, Bodendorf worked quickly and efficiently once again. He allowed a run to score on a groundout to second for the inning’s second out before striking out Kirtley looking to clinch the 8-5 win for Hawai’i. 

Hudson Barrett was charged with the loss for the Gauchos, his first of the year, after going four innings and allowing four runs (3 ER) on seven hits and three walks. He struck out seven of the 23 batters he faced.

Abshier picked up his sixth win of the season for UH, going 5+ innings, allowing just three runs (2 ER) on three hits and two walks, striking out nine Gauchos before handing the ball to Bodendorf.

Bodendorf went four strong innings for the ‘Bows to earn his fifth save of the year, striking out eight batters himself while allowing a pair of runs (1 ER) in the win.

Five different Rainbow Warriors picked up RBI on the night as Hawai’i strung together 12 hits and worked six walks as the offensive explosion for UH continued.

Hawai’i and UC Santa Barbara will play Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. HST for the regular season finale at Les Murakami Stadium, celebrating senior night for the Rainbow Warriors.