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Apr. 4—The Hawaii baseball team reclaimed the momentum—and its mojo—in outlasting 28th-ranked UC Santa Barbara 6-5 to earn a doubleheader split at Les Murakami Stadium.
"I'm glad we were able to get off the schneid and win that second game, " UH coach Mike Trapasso said.
The outcome ended the schneid remarks as well as the Rainbow Warriors' losing streak, which had extended to seven in the 5-4 loss in the doubleheader's first game.
The'Bows were admittedly in an offensive funk after being shut out in Friday's opener of the four-game series and falling behind 5-0 through the first five innings of Saturday's first game. "You can talk swing mechanics and approach, but sometimes it's going out there and competing against the pitcher, " said Trapasso, whose'Bows struck out a combined 26 times in the first two games of the series. "Their pitcher (Friday ) night and their pitcher in game one (of the doubleheader ) competed and, I thought, out-competed us."
The'Bows broke out of the offensive doldrums when designated hitter Jacob Igawa rocketed a three-run homer in the sixth. Igawa's RBI single in the eighth cut the deficit to 5-4. While the'Bows' rally fell short, their confidence was regained.
"With Iggy's home run, everything really changed, " Trapasso said. "I thought the second half of game one (of the doubleheader ) and the whole second game, offensively we really competed. We had really good at-bats, competitive at-bats, and made some productive outs."
In Saturday's second game, the Gauchos scored a pair of runs in each of the first two innings to chase UH freshman left-hander Austin Teixeira.
"First bad start for Teix, " Trapasso said. "I know he was trying to do too much and over-throwing, which is a tribute to him but also a sign of youth. He'll get better. His stuff was good. He just couldn't find the zone."
The'Bows scored four runs in the second to tie it. They took the lead, at 5-4 in the fourth, when Kole Kaler singled, went to second on a balk, to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Adam Fogel's sacrifice fly.
In the UH fifth, Alex Baeza walked, went to second when Scotty Scott was plunked, and sprinted home on Stone Miyao's single to center to make it 6-4.
That proved to be enough support for relievers Logan Pouelsen and Tai Atkins. Both struggled in previous appearances, with Pouelsen losing his spot as a fourth-game starter.
But Pouelsen was masterful after entering as Teixeira's replacement at the start of the third inning. Pouelsen was in command of his two-and four-seam fastballs, changeup, curve and slider. In five innings, he spaced six hits but did not relinquish a walk while striking out six. He threw a season-high 83 pitches. He snagged a hard grounder to start a double play in the sixth, and solved a bases-loaded dilemma in the seventh.
"You can't say enough about what Logan did, " said Trapasso, who also marveled at his pitch count. "He hadn't thrown that much all year because he hadn't been able to get extended past 30, 40 pitches. He settled the game for us. He gave us a chance to win it. I couldn't be happier for him. He's been struggling this year and been taking some grief. He went out there today, and that was the old Logan we all know and love. His stuff was electric."
Atkins earned the save, allowing one hit in two dramatic innings. Pinch runner Nick Oakley was stranded at third when Atkins struck out Gianni Bloom in the eighth. The Gauchos loaded the bases in the ninth but came away empty because of shortstop Kaler's diving catch in foul territory and right fielder Scott's grab near the warning track in right-center.
Trapasso said Atkins, a left-hander, benefited from a technical change in which he now throws off the first-base side of the rubber. With his low-armed motion, the new cleat placement allows Atkins' pitches a wider swath.
"He really throws across his body, " Trapasso said. "With that side-armed delivery, he's releasing the ball about 2 feet behind the left-handed hitter. It's going to be even more hooking to the glove side (of the catcher ), a natural hand path."