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Santa Barbara spoils Hawaii’s Big West debut

Tyler Kuresa hit a two-run double in the ninth and Dylan Hecht got Kalei Hanawahine to ground into a double play with the tying run on second to give visiting UC Santa Barbara a 7-6 wn over Hawaii on Thursday night in the Big West Conference opener for both teams.

Trevor Podratz went 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBIs for Hawaii (5-17, 0-1), which played its first game in a new league after 33 years in the Western Athletic Conference.

Kaeo Aliviado went 3-for-4 with a run and Marc Flores went 2-for-5 with two RBIs for Hawaii, which put the tying run on first with nobody out in the ninth.

Pi’ikea Kitamura walked and Aliviado singled before Flores’ RBI single to right made it 7-6.

After failing to move the runners over with a bunt, Conner George popped out to short and Hanawahine grounded into a double play to end it.

Scott Squier (0-4) allowed two runs on two hits in two innings to take the loss for Hawaii, which allowed the leadoff man to reach base in seven of nine innings.

Greg Mahle (4-3) got the win and Hecht got his second save for the Gauchos (13-10, 1-0).

Kuresa finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Dalton Kelley went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.

Game 2 of the four-game series is Friday night at 6:35.

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