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Dallas Duarte helps Hawaii baseball team to 10th-inning win at UC San Diego

The Hawaii baseball team continues to find ways to win the long ones.

UH defeated defending Big West champion UC San Diego, 4-3 on Friday night, on Dallas Duarte’s go-ahead to left-center in the top of the 10th inning and a stellar defensive play in the bottom half at Triton Ballpark in La Jolla, Calif.

UH improved to 5-1 in extra-inning games this year, with five straight wins after losing the season opener to Ole Miss in 13 frames.

Second baseman Stone Miyao’s sprinting, diving grab of Michael Crossland’s pop-up dealt a setback to UCSD’s ambitions to repeat as the winner of the BWC regular season in the Tritons’ fourth and final year of transitional Division I status. They were not eligible to advance to the NCAA Tournament last year despite winning the regular season outright.

UH (23-15, 7-9 Big West) is still well out of the conference hunt despite winning for the third time its last four BWC games. UCSD (26-12, 13-6) dropped two back in the loss column from UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and CSUN, all of which are tied at 12-4.

On the heels of two effective long relief appearances by Sebastian Gonzalez, coach Rich Hill gave the freshman his first starting nod of the season and he lasted five innings with four hits, three runs and two walks allowed against five strikeouts.

Alex Giroux worked three scoreless innings of relief, and Connor Harrison and Brayden Marx teamed up to get UH through the ninth. Marx (2-0) was credited with the win and Danny Veloz picked up his second save of the year with a perfect ninth.

Sean Rimmer got things going in the 10th with a pinch-hit single. Kyson Donahue popped out to pitcher Izaak Martinez on a bunt attempt, but Rimmer advanced to third on Martinez’s throwing error.  Pinch runner Jared Quandt came home for Rimmer on Duarte’s ensuing single.

Duarte knocked in two runs in UH’s three-run third inning with a triple that he tried to stretch into an inside-the-park home run, but the catcher was thrown out at the plate.

The teams resume the three-game series at 11 a.m. Hawaii time Saturday.

Brian McInnis covers the state’s sports scene for Spectrum News Hawaii. He can be reached at brian.mcinnis@charter.com.