Hawai’i rally falls short to #20 UC-Irvine in game two of series, 12-8


HONOLULU — Close, but no cigar.

The Hawai’i baseball team nearly erased an 8-1 deficit but fell short of the comeback in game two of its series against 20th-ranked UC-Irvine, 12-8, Friday night at Les Murakami Stadium.

After giving up four runs each in the third and fourth innings, the Rainbow Warriors (15-9 overall, 2-3 Big West) made it an 8-6 game after the fifth. Hawai’i got within one, 9-8, when it scored twice in the bottom of the eighth, but the Anteaters (21-3, 7-1) added three runs in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach.

“Our team battled all the way through,” said Hawai’i coach Rich Hill. “We were behind the 8-ball the entire night, could have gone either way. We were 8-1 down and guys just start scrapping back. You pull within one right there, got into their bullpen. They made pitches when they had to late in the game and we didn’t, that’s the difference in this game.”

UC-Irvine tallied 16 hits in the contest and hit another home run against the ‘Bows for a second night in a row when Thomas McCaffrey hit a two-out, three-run bomb to left-center to put the Anteaters ahead, 4-1, in the third inning.

“Good team obviously, 16 hits tonight,” Hill said of the Anteaters. “They just grind away their at bats. They’re very well-coached and they play defense.”

Stone Miyao and Dallas Duarte each had two RBIs to lead the ‘Bows at the plate.

Hawai’i will try to even its conference record Saturday when both teams close out the series in a 1:05 p.m. game.