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Hawaii baseball earns walk-off victory over Cal Poly

HONOLULU – Once again, the Hawaii baseball team’s Friday starter didn’t last very long.

This time it was no problem.

A long relief run by freshman Sebastian Gonzalez held Cal Poly down long enough for Austin Machado to loft a sacrifice fly to deep center, bringing home Naighel Ali’i Calderon for the walk-off run in a 4-3 win over the Mustangs at Les Murakami Stadium .

Calderon, the speedy senior from Lanai City, Lanai, entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning as a pinch hitter for Sean Rimmer. He led off the ninth with his first hit of the season, a single to right, and advanced to second on Jordan Donahue’s fielder’s choice bunt. He advanced to third base on a wild pitch by Jacob Torres and Cal Poly intentionally walked Dallas Duarte to load the bases. Machado, who was 3-for-4, hit a ball on a 1-0 count off Tanner Sagouspe.

It was the second walk-off win of the season for UH (21-14, 5-8 Big West), which improved from 10e to a shared seventh place with the first victory in the last four BWC competitions. Cal Poly (21-15, 11-5) was eliminated after tying for first place with UC Irvine.

Donahue went 2-for-4 and Dallas Duarte had two hits, including a double in the first inning that allowed UH to take a 1-0 lead on Matthew Miura’s single off Mustangs pitcher Jakob Right.

Donahue extended his hitting streak to 18 games, the fourth-longest streak in program history, and the longest for UH since Neal Honma strung together 19 games between the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

After Cal Poly put together a three-run fourth inning, UH tied the score on a two-run double down the right field line from freshman Elijah Ickes at the bottom of the frame.

Coach Rich Hill opted to trade starter Harrison Bodendorf and go-to reliever Alex Giroux after just 1 2/3 and 1 1/3 scoreless innings, respectively, setting the table for Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, from Oakley, California, pitched five innings and threw 11 1/3 frames of relief over his last two outings, striking out nine and walking two in that span.

Danny Veloz (5-1) worked around a two-out single in the ninth to get the win.

UH and Cal Poly resume the series Saturday at 6:35 p.m. Randy Abshier is expected to start for the ‘Bows.

Brian McInnis covers the state’s sports scene for Spectrum News Hawaii. He can be reached at [email protected].