(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors baseball team added another victory to the pot in their second outing against Air Force (0-2) on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium, opening the season at 2-0 for the first time since 2011. UH bounced back from an early AFA lead quickly, taking command of the non-conference tilt with steady offense and solid pitching.
After allowing a first-inning home run by Air Force preseason All-American first baseman Nic Ready, starter Dominic DeMiero settled in quickly, limiting the Falcons to just three more hits across hits six-inning quality start. The redshirt junior southpaw locked up five strikeouts with just one walk for the win (1-0).
Facing the first-frame one-run deficit, returning Freshman All-American right fielder Adam Fogel kicked off a big evening in the bottom of the second, leading off with a double down the left field line. Redshirt senior catcher Chayce Ka'aua put Fogel in position for the score, and UH capitalized as Fogel broke down the line on a plate overthrow by the Air Force outfield, knotting the score at 1-1.
The two-bagger continued to be a prominent and positive theme for the Rainbow Warriors on the night, as junior third baseman Ethan Lopez led off the third by smacking a double off the right field wall, sparking the UH offense. Senior center fielder Dylan Vchulek made his first hit of the year count, lining an RBI single over first base to plate Lopez for the one-run lead. Back-to-back doubles from Kekai Rios and Dustin Demeterset the table, and Fogel registered his second consecutive double to bring home another score.
After forcing Air Force starter Matt Hargreaves out of action through 4.2 innings with eight hits and three runs, the Rainbow Warriors tacked up one more run on reliever Ethan Nichols. Facing a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, Lopez extended the lead to 4-1 with a sac fly, scoring Fogel for his second run.
After six strong innings from DeMiero, right-handed senior Collin Ashworth came out of the bullpen and closed up shop, earning his first career save on three well-rounded innings, recording a career-best six strikeouts with just two hits and one walk.
Fogel was key for the Rainbow Warriors on Saturday, batting 3-for-3 with two doubles, one RBI and two runs. Eric Ramirez and Maaki Yamazaki each logged two hits apiece, as the 'Bows reached double-digit base hits for the first time this year, logging 11 on the night and 20 across the first two games. UH finished with five doubles on the night.
Plenty of baseball to be had on Sunday at Les Murakami Stadium, as the Rainbow Warriors and Falcons are scheduled for a doubleheader to close out the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.