Hawai’i beats #6 North Carolina State

Kekai Rios // Hawai'i Athletics

HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i (1-1) baseball team rolled past the No. 6 NC State Wolfpack (1-1) in spectacular fashion on Saturday at Les Murakami Stadium, evening the series on a huge effort for the first win of the 2017 season.

The Rainbow Warriors were efficient in all facets on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium, hitting the board first and racking up some run support for first-time starter Dominic DeMiero, who dealt seven solid innings with only a single run yielded.

It took just five pitches for DeMiero to wipe out the first line of Wolfpack hitters and set the tone for the night, handing off to an eager offensive group who was shut out in Friday’s opener.

Dylan Vchulek made the most of the quick start, laying down a slow-rolling chip-shot to the left side of the infield as the leadoff hitter. Making his second start in center field, Vchulek set the stage for the first Rainbow Warriors first score of the series, as catcher Kekai Rios fired a ground shot up the middle for an RBI single and a 1-0 UH advantage.

DeMiero came out firing again in the second, striking out the side to keep the Wolfpack at bay. Meanwhile, right fielder Adam Fogel reached base on balls to lead off the bottom half, working his way around and crossing the plate on Marcus Doi‘s sacrifice fly for the two-run lead.

After holding the slight advantage for a few frames, the Rainbow Warriors broke through in the fourth. Taking advantage of a leadoff walk, Rios moved across on an Ethan Lopez double. With two men aboard, Fogel jumpstarted a huge inning for Hawai’i, dropping a bloop shot along the right field line in the space between three fielders. Shortstop Dustin Demeter made it three consecutive hits with an RBI single lined into center field, chasing off NC State starter Cody Beckman early. Doi wrapped up the fourth-inning scores, making it a trio on an RBI fielder’s choice which sent Fogel home.

With two outs away in the bottom of the sixth, third baseman Josh Rojas sparked the Hawai’i offense once again, racing through first on a double to right field, later scoring from second on a Vchulek RBI single; running off another NCSU pitcher. Johnny Weeks dropped a bloop single among converging fielders in shallow right field and Rios tacked up a second RBI with a single to right field, expanding UH’s lead to its largest at 8-0.

Rising the counts on DeMiero, the Wolfpack finally got a run in edgewise in the top of the seventh, adding their first score on a Brock Detherage RBI single. Facing Dylan Thomas in his relief debut, NC State was able to tab a couple more runs, sandwiching home runs from Brett Kinneman and Shane Shepard around a strikeout in the eighth.

Thomas finished off the Wolfpack down the stretch, stranding four total runners and striking out two to secure the 8-3 victory, the first of the 2017 campaign.

In a clutch performance for the win, DeMiero (1-0) went 7.0 innings, allowing six hits and one run, while striking out five with two walks. The NC State starter, Beckman (0-1) took the loss after making a 3.0-inning appearance, giving five runs on five hits.

At the plate, UH tallied 11 hits paced by the trio of Rios, Vchulek and Rojas, who each hit 2-for-3. Rios tallied two RBI, Vchulek scored twice with one RBI and Rojas scored as well.

The Rainbow Warriors and Wolfpack return to Les Murakami Stadium on Sunday for the series rubber game. First pitch is set for an early 12:05 p.m. HT start due to NCSU travel plans.

#HawaiiBSB

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