Hawai’i RHP Randy Abshier delivers a pitch during a home game for the Rainbow Warriors. The left-handed starter was charged with a loss in the ‘Bows 8-2 loss at UC Santa Barbara on April 12. | Photo Credit: Michael Lasquero, HSRN

Rough 2nd inning dooms Hawai’i in Friday opener at UC Santa Barbara

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED APRIL 12, 2024

Second inning sorrows. 

A six-run 2nd inning by UC Santa Barbara, aided by whirling winds in short left field, helped the Gauchos down Hawai’i (19-12, 4-6 Big West) in Friday’s series-opener, 8-2. UH LHP Randy Abshier (1-3) went 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits, racking up four strikeouts, hitting three batters and walking another while being charged with the loss. 

Abshier retired the Gauchos’ first three hitters in order before allowing six of his seven hits in the bottom of the 2nd inning, seeing eight consecutive batters reach for UCSB before Hawai’i recorded their first out in the inning.  

High pop-ups and swirling winds helped continue the nightmare inning, seeing back-to-back hits find no-man’s land in left field to load the bases and bring home another run. Nick Oakley brought the Gauchos’ lead to 6-0 with a sacrifice fly in his second at-bat of the inning before the second frame mercifully ended with a Jonah Sebring ground-out. 

Hawai’i crept closer with Matt Miura’s first career home run to lead off the 4th inning and Jake Tsukada’s RBI single to right in the 5th inning, seeing Abshier settling back in with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to make it a 6-2 deficit for UH. 

A pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the 7th for UC Santa Barbara halted any further momentum for visiting Hawai’i as the Gauchos took the first of three weekend matchups with the ‘Bows, 8-2. 

UCSB starting pitcher Ryan Gallagher earned his third win of the year, spinning seven innings, striking out 12 Rainbow Warriors while allowing eight hits and two runs across 29 batters faced.  

The ‘Bows drop to 3-6 in series-opening contests this season, continuing to see struggles in Friday games. Rich Hill’s squad performs in series remarkably similar to games, turning up the heat later to come back for wins. Hawai’i has gone on to lose just two series after dropping the opening game, coming in the second series of the year against national power NC State and in a sweep at the bats of nationally-ranked UC Irvine. 

Hawai’i and UC Santa Barbara will play two more times, pending weather, during the weekend. First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. HT and can be found on ESPN+.