“How does he do it?”
University of Hawai’i senior pitcher isn’t just baffling hitters this season, he’s had Major League Baseball scouts asking Rainbow Warrior coaches how he’s been so effective.
“He’s become one of those guys who can go up against another team’s number one starter and go toe-to-toe and give us a chance to win.” Rainbow Warriors head coach Mike Trapasso said.
Hornung features a seemingly average college fastball that sits in the 86-88 mile-per-hour range, but it’s been his pinpoint command that has put the bolts to batters in 2017. The 6’3″ 195 lb. right-hander has only walked five hitters in 72.2 innings pitched with a 2.26 earned run average.
Despite his consistency in the strike zone Hornung has still managed to leave hitters empty handed, racking up 67 strikeouts with a wicked split-finger change-up. The combination of that 67-5 strikeout to walk ratio has earned him 4 complete games this season, already a record in the Trapasso era.
“Its huge.” Trapasso said.
“You’re gonna have a hard time winning a series if you don’t win game one, or more importantly if you don’t have your game one starter give you a quality start of seven or eight innings. If you have to go to the bullpen no matter what kind of depth we think we have, it’s going to cost you in game three.”
Hornung has thrown an average of 8 innings through his 9 starts this season. While many worry about his workload, his efficiency in strike throwing has allowed him to only throw 101 pitches per outing, well within the range of what is considered healthy for a starting pitcher.
“Every time I go out there I just want to go as long as possible at least seven and have a quality start every time.” Hornung said.
His highest pitch count of the season was a manageable 117 last Thursday in his complete game victory at UC Riverside, his second complete game of the two-week road trip.
“I knew my pitch count was up there and after the game Coach Trap told me ‘That was your last hitter no matter what’. I’m pumped I got that guy out, and it’s just awesome to finish the game with Kekai (Rios) that we both started and give him a high five at the end of it right on the mound that I started on.”
Hornung will look to continue his dominant ways Friday night in the ‘Bows home opener against UC Davis. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm at Les Murakami Stadium.