HONOLULU – Stone Miyao delivered a walk-off two-run homer to right center field in the ninth inning to lead the Hawai’i baseball team to a wild 13-11 win over UC Santa Barbara to secure the series sweep on Senior Night Saturday at Les Murakami Stadium.
After UCSB came back to tie it at 11 in the eighth inning, the two teams traded scoreless half innings to bring UH up with a chance to win it in the ninth. Jordan Donahue worked a six-pitch walk to lead off the inning before moving over to second on a sacrifice bunt. Miyao then came up and crushed an 0-1 pitch over the right center field wall just below the scoreboard, ending the game and setting off a Senior Night celebration.
The Rainbow Warriors (29-20, 18-12 Big West) ended the year on a nine-game winning streak at home, sweeping its final three conference series at Les Murakami Stadium to finish in fifth place in the league. UH also finished above .500 in Big West play for the second straight year after not having a winning conference record since joining the league before head coach Rich Hill‘s tenure.
For the third straight game the Gauchos got on the board in the first inning, this time on an Ivan Brethowr two-run homer to dead center field. But just like the first two days, the ‘Bows answered right back, scoring a run in the bottom half to cut into the lead. After a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs, Sean Rimmer beat out an infield single to drive in UH’s first run of the night.
Hawai’i then exploded for four runs each in the third and fourth innings to open up a 9-2 lead. The first two runs of the third came in on a Ben Zeigler-Namoa single and two-base error to put UH in front before Rimmer delivered his second RBI of the night with a double to make it 4-2. Tai Walton capped off the scoring in the third one batter later with a base hit to right center, scoring Rimmer.
Jacob Igawa opened the scoring in the fourth inning with a base knock through the right side, making it 6-2, before Zeigler-Namoa came through with an RBI single two batters later to stretch the lead to five. Rimmer continued his huge night with a two-run double to right center, scoring Igawa and Zeigler-Namoa to make it 9-2.
The Gauchos came back with four runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth, cutting the UH lead to 9-8 before the ‘Bows got a pair back in the bottom of the sixth, making it 11-8.
Miyao homered for the second straight game with his game-winner after coming into the weekend without a long ball this year. He ended the game 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two walks and went 6-for-12 over the weekend. Rimmer had a huge day, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and two doubles while Igawa, Wong and Zeigler-Namoa had two hits apiece.
Tai Atkins picked up the win after working 1.2 scoreless innings to end the game, striking out three and walking none. Connor Harrison got just his second start of the year and went four innings, fanning two while allowing two runs.
Following the game, Hawai’i honored five seniors who played in their final games in a Rainbow Warrior uniform in Cameron Hagan, Jacob Igawa, Zach Losey, Dalton Renne and Matt Wong.