IRVINE, Calif. --- Matt Whitehouse struck out a career-high nine batters as No. 27 UC Irvine posted an identical 4-1 win over Hawai'i Saturday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark to clinch the series. The win lifts UCI to 19-8 overall and 2-3 in the Big West while UH drops to 7-20 (2-3) overall.
The lefty (3-2) dealt 7.2 innings, walking two and holding the Rainbows to two hits. Whitehouse pitched seven shutout frames before an unearned run would score in the eighth.
Chris Rabago paced the 'Eater offense, tying a season-high with three hits and scoring twice. Dominique Taylor launched a two-run home run, his second of the year in the seventh and finished the day 2 for 3 with two RBI and a run scored.
Whitehouse cruised through the first three innings, facing just one over the minimum before UCI would break the scoreless tie in the third. Rabago hit a single up the middle and was followed by Taylor who drew a full-count walk. A passed ball put runners on second and third for Connor Spencer, whose RBI grounder to short would drive in Rabago.
Spencer keyed the Anteaters sixth with a one-out double and came around to score on a two-out hit to left off the bat of Taylor Sparks as UCI took a 2-0 lead.
Taylor's round-tripper in the seventh extended the lead to four and would cap the scoring for UCI.
Hawai'i avoided the shutout in the eighth. Sparks backhanded a sharp grounder to third but his throw went high, allowing LJ Brewster to reach first on the error. Pi'ikea Kitamura provided a two-out punch with a single through the left side off reliever Mitch Merten to drive in Brewster.
Race Parmenter entered in the ninth inning and set down three straight batters on seven pitches to record save No. 6.
UH starter Corey MacDonald pitched 6.2 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out five to fall to 3-3. Kitamura had two hits to lead the 'Bows.
The series concludes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.