Cal State Fullerton right-hander Thomas Eshelman threw his second shutout against Hawaii in as many years, scattering five hits with 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 win on Friday night at Les Murakami Stadium.
Eshelman, the reigning Big West pitcher of the week, improved to 7-5 for the first-place Titans (29-22, 14-5), who remain in sole possession of the league lead. Hawaii (21-27, 12-10) had its six-game winning streak snapped and is eliminated from postseason contention.
The loss also clinched a third straight losing season overall for the Rainbow Warriors, who need one victory in the final two games of the series against Fullerton to finish with a winning record in league play.
Eshelman threw a 10-inning shutout in a 1-0 win over Hawaii last year after lasting just 3 1/3 innings in the shortest outing of his career two years ago against UH.
He did not walk a batter and has issued only 17 walks in 344 2/3 career innings.
Eric Ramirez had two of Hawaii’s five hits. UH did not advance a runner safely into scoring position the entire game against Eshelman, who didn’t have his first two-ball count in the fourth inning. He threw 36 of his first 43 pitches for strikes.
Cal State Fullerton designated hitter David Olmedo-Barrera went 3-for-3 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs and was hit by a pitch twice. He crushed a solo homer in the top of the ninth off Hawaii junior Alex Hatch, who was one of five pitchers UH used in the game.
Junior Tyler Brashears (8-4, 1.78 ERA), who is tied for the league lead in wins, will start Game 2 for Hawaii on Saturday night at a special start time of 8:05 p.m.