GAME 4: UC Davis 4, Hawaii 0

Kaeo Aliviado and the rest of the Hawaii baseball team are in a groove at the plate right now. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kaeo Aliviado and the rest of the Hawaii baseball team are in a groove at the plate right now. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

The series between UC Davis and Hawaii technically isn’t over. The two teams will play today in a game that will not count in the conference standings.

The games that really mattered are over and were dominated by a Hawaii team that did it excelling at two areas that have otherwise been a weakness this season.

UH (12-19, 3-3) exploded for 27 runs and 34 hits in three games against the Aggies. The 27 runs are the most the Rainbow Warriors have scored in a Big West series since joining the conference two years ago. UH’s team batting average has jumped 11 points — from .240 to .251 — and four regulars, Kaeo Aliviado (.292), Alan Baldwin (.291), Alex Sawelson (.283) and Eric Ramirez (.283) are getting close to that elusive .300 mark.

Even bigger than the 34 hits are the 10 extra-base hits. Entering the series, UH had 43 extra-base hits in 28 games, an average of less than 1.5 a game. Against UC Davis, UH has more than doubled that. It’s a big reason why one-run innings have become crooked numbers. UH has scored more than one run in seven of its 12 scoring innings.

Because of it, it has allowed UH to look past mistakes defensively. Hawaii hasn’t played nearly as well defensively as it did in three losses against UC Irvine last week, but that’s the beauty of scoring runs. When every game isn’t a 2-1, 3-2, down-to-the-wire grind, you don’t have to play the perfect game. Too many times, UH found itself in that situation.

The other huge area of sudden strength for the ‘Bows has been the bullpen. UH has lost three games when leading after the seventh inning and twice when holding a lead in the ninth. Entering the UC Davis series, UH had only two relievers with an ERA under 4 and four with an ERA better than 7.11.

Outside of Josh Pigg‘s struggles in the ninth inning of an 11-1 game on Friday, the rest of the bullpen has thrown a combined eight shutout innings against the Aggies, allowing three hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts. Quintin Torres-Costa was a big chunk of that on Saturday, earning his first collegiate save in 3 2/3 masterful innings, allowing one hit and one walk with six strikeouts. He ended the game blowing an 88 MPH fastball past Brad Pluschkell for the win.

The UH offense is happy to have another game Sunday. When you’re hot, you’re hot, and all anybody wants to do is step back in the box. The sweep has Hawaii at .500 after two weeks of Big West play for the first time, setting up a real interesting series next week at Cal Poly. We’ve finally seen a team a lot of us expected to see for consecutive games in a row. UH has shown it can dominate a Big West team at home. Now, can it go on the road and do the same things there it did here? That will determine whether this team is ready to be a contender in the Big West.

Game 4 lineups and updates to follow below:


UC Davis 18-10-1, 3-3
Tanner Bily, RF (.230, 4 2b, 15 RBIs)
Tino Lipson, 2B (.336, 6 2b, 3 3b, 1 HR, 15 RBIs)
Nick Lynch, 1B (.390, 18 2b, 1 3b, 2 HR, 21 RBIs)
Austin March, LF(.315, 6 2b, 20 runs)
Spencer Henderson, DH (.239, 2 2b, 1 3b, 2 HR, 12 RBIs)
Izaak Silva, C (.347, 10 2b, 2 3b, 19 RBIs)
John Williams, CF (.306, 5 2b, 13 RBIs)
Brad Pluschkell, 3B (.316, 3 2b, 1 3b, 5 RBIs)
Evan Heptig, SS (.186, 4 2b, 8 RBIs)
RHP Max Cordy (6-0, 4.28 ERA, 33 2/3 IP, 35 K)

Hawaii 12-19, 3-3
Stephen Ventimilia, 2B (.241, 4 2b, 1 3b, 12 runs)
Alan Baldwin RF (.291, 3 2b, 2 3b, 1 HR, 11 RBIs)
Kaeo Aliviado, CF (.292, 5 2b, 1 3b, 4 HR, 22 RBIs)
Alex Sawelson, DH (.283, 3 2b, 10 RBIs)
Eric Ramirez, 1B (.283, 4 2b, 22 RBIs)
Jordan Richartz, RF (.222, 3 2b, 2 HR, 12 RBIs)
J.J. Kitaoka, 3B (.241, 3 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR, 17 RBIs)
Steven Pollakov, C (.100, 2 RBIs)
Jacob Sheldon-Collins, SS (.250, 3 2b, 1 3b, 15 runs)
RHP Kyle Von Ruden (1-2, 4.73 ERA, 32 1/3 IP, 21 K)

Doi gets a day off after going 1-for-14 with five walks and four runs scored over his last five games and Pollakov gives Ka’aua a rest behind the plate. Ka’aua was 5-for-10 with three doubles, six runs and three RBIs in the series.

TOP 1: UC Davis wastes no time getting on the board as Lipson doubles, steals third and scores on the bad throw from Pollakov. Lynch follows with a double and steals third without a throw on a ball in the dirt. March grounds out to second to bring in Lynch. Two runs in the first for the Aggies.

TOP 2: UC Davis adds a third run when Pluschkell draws a two-out walk, steals second, takes third on a passed ball and scores on a ball that goes all of 10 feet in front of the plate as it spins away from Pollakov, who finally fields it but can’t make a play.

TOP 3: Baldwin comes in to catch with freshman Jonathan Weeks going out to left to replace Pollakov, who gave up three stolen bases, had a throwing error, a passed ball and missed a ball in front of the plate allowing a run to score. Very tough couple of innings for him. Andrew Jones on in relief for Von Ruden, whose final line was 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.

Jones keeps Hawaii in the game with six shutout innings of relief, allowing two hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

BOTTOM 8: Sheldon-Collins gets his second hit of the game to stay hot at the plate and Ventimilia singles to bring the tying run to the plate with nobody out. Cordy stays in and strikes out Baldwin, who has really had some poor ABs since moving in to catch. He’d been in a good groove. Aliviado gets to 3-2 but hits into the 3-6-1 double play.

Jones stays in for a seventh inning and gives up a one-out single before exiting after 89 pitches. Culp comes in and gives up an RBI double on the very first pitch and then hits a batter. Valencia in for Culp and UC Davis tries a suicide squeeze but Baldwin makes an unreal play, diving to catch the bunt just in front of the plate and then throwing to third for the easy double play.