Redshirt junior Dustin Demeter was the hero on Opening Day with a walk-off two-run home run to deep right field. The third baseman also had a double and three total RBIs in the game. After two games, Demeter is hitting .600 with five RBI and three extra-base hits.
Senior Logan Pouelsen pitched well in the season opener, striking out seven batters in seven innings of work. The right-hander will look for his first win of the year on Friday against the Bison as the Friday night starter.
Junior Kole Kaler made an immediate impact with his glove at shortstop and with his bat on Saturday going 3-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored. Kaler enters the four-game series with NDSU with a .429 average and a stolen base.
Five freshmen played on opening weekend, including four local players from the state of Hawai’i. Freshmen Aaron Ujimori and Stone Miyao split duties at second base with Ujimori starting on opening day. Miyao recorded a hit in the second game of the series and Ujimori recorded two sacrifice bunts on Friday. Outfielders Tai Atkins and Naighel Calderon came into the game as late defensive substitutions for sophomore Tyler Best and junior Matt Wong, respectively. Calderon was on-deck when Demeter hit the walk-off home run to end Friday night’s game.
Freshman Vince Reilly pitched two flawless innings in relief on Saturday to earn the save. Reilly faced the minimum six batters, did not allow a base runner and used just 12 pitches to mow down the Hilo batters late in the game.
The Bison are coming off a 2019 season in which they went 19-24 and finished fifth out of six teams in the Summit League. Max Loven, the Friday night starter started 13 games in 2019 and finished the year with a 2.74 ERA in 88.2 innings. Charley Hesse hit .299 in 2019 and is the top returning batting average for NDSU. Bennett Hostetler hit six home runs for the Bison in 2019 and also returns.
Promotions: Jack in the Box is the series sponsor and will distribute 250 free taco coupons at each game and award great prizes throughout the series.
Friday (Feb. 14): The first 200 female fans to enter Les Murakami Stadium prior to the game will receive a Valentine’s Day carnation compliments of Watanabe Floral. Stick around after the game for an autograph session on the field.
Saturday (Feb. 15): Jack in the Box will distribute 100 antenna balls. Little League teams or groups that have purchased a group rate package are invited onto the field to stand alongside the Hawai’i baseball players for the National Anthem & Hawaii Pono’i prior to the first game on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. (Check-in 30 minutes prior to first pitch of the first game near the Big West Conference logo on the ground level).