HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai'i baseball team had trouble finding its stride offensively on opening night at Les Murakami Stadium, falling 4-0 in a pitching duel with a very tough No. 6 NC State Wolfpack.
Hawai'i's lone returning starter, senior right-hander Brendan Horning dealt even better than expected as the Rainbow Warriors' No. 1. Recovering from a pair of runs surrendered in the second inning, Hornung went on to tie his career high in strikeouts, fanning nine Wolfpack batters. However, UH tallied just five hits and left five on base in the shutout, running up against a slew of pitchers throwing consistently in the 90s.
Despite good location from Hornung, the Wolfpack capitalized to move up early. Left fielder Brett Kinneman woke the Wolfpack offense on the first pitch of the second inning, squaring a ball to the left field wall for a leadoff double. Designated hitter Will Wilson made it count, placing a shot straight over third down the left field line for the RBI double. Although Hornung collected a key strikeout to take the sac fly out of play, a high chopper by catcher Jack Conley brought in a second run in the frame and gave the Wolfpack the early advantage.
Hornung hung on through 96 pitches and seven innings, but the Hawai'i relief staff got in a jam in the eighth. Wilson struck again on a two-out, two-run double into deep right center, doubling the lead to 4-0. Despite surrendering the RBI, Matt Richardson knocked down the final batter, and took out the ninth-inning Wolfpack hitters in order.
NC State went through its own series of relievers, finally settling on Zach Usselman, who downed the final 6-of-7 UH batters to secure the four-run NCSU win.
Hornung (0-1) took the loss for the Rainbow Warriors, while starter Sean Adler (1-0) claimed the win for NCSU after a 5.0-inning, four hit performance, collecting one strikeout and one walk.
First baseman Eric Ramirez and designated hitter Adam Fogel paced the UH offense, each batting 2-for-3 on the night. Ramirez in his third consecutive starting season, while the rookie, Fogel collected hits in his first two collegiate at-bats.