Hornung to start season opener at UH-Hilo

For the second consecutive year, Hawaii will start a newcomer on opening night.

Rainbow Warriors baseball coach Mike Trapasso said Thursday that RHP Brendan Hornung, a transfer from Chaffey Community College in California, will start next Saturday’s season opener at UH-Hilo.

Hornung went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings last season.

Last season, Hawaii started Tyler Brashears on opening night against Oregon. Brashears, who went on to become UH’s first player selected to the All-Big West Conference first team, was the first newcomer to start on opening night in 14 years and first under Trapasso. Brashears was selected in the 14th round of the MLB draft last summmer and eventually signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.

UH opens with two games at UH-Hilo. Senior RHP Kyle Von Ruden is the likely starter in Game 2, but had a small setback with back spasms and has missed some time in the spring. He will throw a bullpen session on Sunday before Trapasso determines the second starter. If he can’t go, the likely choices are RHP Josh Pigg or LHP Alex Hatch.

Hornung will start Saturday’s alumni game at 1 p.m. at Les Murakami Stadium and throw 90-100 pitches. Admission is free. Former Rainbows returning to play include Brashears, L.J. Brewster and Josh Slaats. I hope to have a more complete list on Friday.