Information provided by Grant Kauvar, Communications Student Assistant for LSUSports.net.
BATON ROUGE, LA – On the strength of three solo home runs on Friday night, Hawaii posted a 4-2 win over No. 13 LSU at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU falls to 9-6 on the season while Hawaii improves to 8-4. Game 2 of the series is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday night, and the contest may be viewed on SEC Network + and heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network.
LSU right-hander Zack Hess (2-2) had a solid outing, recording nine strikeouts in 7.0 innings, but was charged with the loss after he allowed three runs on five hits, three of which were solo homers.
Hawaii right-hander Jackson Rees (2-0) pitched six innings for the Rainbow Warriors and allowed two earned runs on seven hits to earn the victory. Kyle Hatton pitched for 1.1 innings allowed one hit and recorded two strikeouts before Dylan Thomas came in during the eighth inning and earned his fifth save of the season.
"We pitched well enough to win tonight, we played defense well enough to win, and we had scoring opportunities, but we couldn't get the runners home," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "The kids are playing very hard, but sometimes you just don't come through. We saw an awful lot of sliders and cut fastballs, and we probably could have coached our players better in order to be ready for that.
"I thought that overall we played a good ball game. There were a lot of positive things that happened tonight, but when you're playing a team like Hawaii with very good pitchers, there are going to be a few at-bats that determine the game, and their pitchers made some pitches at key times."
Centerfielder Zach Watson led the game off for LSU with a double down the left field line and second baseman Brandt Broussard sacrificed him over to third with a bunt. Rightfielder Antoine Duplantis squared a ball up in the next at-bat and Hawaii second baseman Dustin Demeter committed an error, allowing Watson to score and giving LSU the early lead.
Third baseman Ethan Lopez, the cleanup hitter for Hawaii, tied the game up when he launched a solo shot to lead off the second inning.
Hawaii would take the lead the following inning when shortstop Maaki Yamazaki hit a two-out solo homer to give the Rainbow Warriors a 2-1 advantage.
Catcher Hunter Feduccia led the bottom of the sixth off with a base hit for the Tigers and advanced to third after a hit from Daniel Cabrera. With two outs, Chris Reid found some grass in left field to drop a single in, allowing Feduccia to score and LSU to tie the game, 2-2.
The tie wouldn't last for long though as Logan Pouelsen launched a solo homer to lead off the seventh for Hawaii as the Rainbow Warriors retook the lead, 3-2.
With one out in the top of the ninth, Kekai Rios drilled a single for Hawaii, allowing Lopez to score from second.