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Hawaii baseball team rallies past No. 13 N.C. State

Feb. 25—Ben Zeigler-Namoa stood near the Hawaii dugout, bat in hand, hoping to get a shot to give his team the lead.

Ben Zeigler-Namoa stood near the Hawaii dugout, bat in hand, hoping to get a shot to give his team the lead.

A passed ball on what would have been a strikeout for the third out to end the bottom of the eighth inning allowed the Rainbow junior to step to the plate and deliver the eventual game-winning two-run single to hand Hawaii a thrilling 7-5 win over No. 13 North Carolina State on Saturday night.

A sold-out Les Murakami Stadium crowd of 3, 147 saw a classic Hawaii comeback in which UH scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Jordan Donahue, who had two of Hawaii's six hits, brought in a run when he dumped a one-out single into shallow right to score Stone Miyao, who led off with a walk.

Austin Machado and Dallas Duarte drew two-out walks to load the bases for Matthew Miura, who struck out swinging. But the ball popped out of the glove of catcher Jacob Cozart allowing all the runners to advance and continue the inning.

Zeigler-Namoa followed with a hard-hit grounder back up the middle that went off the glove of a diving Matt Heavner at second and into center field to put UH in front for good.

"I wanted the moment and I got the moment, " said Zeigler-Namoa, who had two hits. "Tough guy. First pitch he threw me in the strike zone was 100 (mph ), so I mean, really good guy, but wasn't afraid, went up there and wanted to swing and I got fortunate."

Freshman Itsuki Takemoto worked a perfect top of the ninth to end the inning and put a quick end to a game that was quite the opposite of Friday's 17-12 win by the Wolfpack in the series opener.

"The Manoa magic really reared its head with that passed ball and then that big two-out hit, " Hawaii coach Rich Hill said.

Hawaii held the Wolfpack to half as many hits (10 ) as in the opener, with left-handed senior starter Randy Abshier setting the tone from the start.

Abshier took a shutout into the fifth inning and struck out a career-high 11 in five innings without allowing a walk.

"I was just kind of doing what I do best, which is spin and fastballs, " Abshier said. "We didn't change anything. We just kind of went at them. If they were going to get 20 (hits ), they were going to get 20. We weren't going to change anything."

Abshier threw 89 pitches—59 for strikes—and left after giving up a leadoff double in the top of the sixth inning.

N.C. State freshman Jack Bechtel homered to lead off the top of the fifth in his first collegiate start to help the Wolfpack (3-2 ) cut Hawaii's lead in half.

UH's Sean Rimmer connected on a solo homer in the sixth inning. His second career homer put Hawaii back in front by two.

N.C. State scored a run in four straight innings and used Hawaii errors that led to the tying and go-ahead runs.

The Wolfpack added to the lead with three straight singles in the top of the eighth off UH reliever Danny Veloz. Eli Serrano took a close pitch ruled a ball to make the count 1-2 before pulling a ball to right field to score Alec Makarewicz for a 5-3 lead.

The hit chased Veloz and prompted Hill to bring in freshman right-hander Zacary Tenn, who limited the damage getting the Wolfpack to bounce into a double play.

Both teams combined to use five pitchers in the game-deciding eighth inning.

Takemoto needed just six pitches—all strikes—to end the game.

"He's got ice in his veins, " Hill said. "He pitched in front of 40, 000 people in a high school tournament and you could see he barely had a pulse out there. This is nothing new to him."

Tenn improved to 2-0, while Cooper Consiglio, who walked the only batter he faced, took the loss.

N.C. State walked seven and hit three batters. UH's five pitchers did not walk a batter.

Hawaii will go for the series win today at 1 :05 p.m. with freshman Isaiah Magdaleno getting the start.