Nebraska fends off Hawaii's late rally in Houston College Classic

HOUSTON -- Nebraska did a good job of limiting Hawaii's threats Saturday. Twice the Rainbow Warriors loaded the bases without scoring, but in the top of the ninth, J.J. Kitaoka's two-out, three-run double got the Rainbow Warriors to within a run.

However, the Huskers survived the late rally and held on for a 4-3 win in the day's first of three games of the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.

Hawaii was unable to score after loading the bases in the first and fifth innings off Kyle Kubat (2-0), who allowed the Rainbow Warriors five hits in 6 1/3 innings. In the ninth, Hawaii finally scored, putting some suspense in the game.

Kitaoka kept the game alive with a double that chased Josh Roeder from the game, scoring Chayce Ka'aua, Alex Sawelson and Jacob Sheldon-Collins, who had three of Hawaii's eight hits.

Colton Howell relieved Roeder. After Eric Ramirez was intentionally walked following a 3-0 count, Jordan Richartz came to bat with runners at first and second and two outs.

Howell struck out Richartz swinging to end the game and give the Huskers (7-5) their first win in the Classic and Howell his first save of the season. On Friday, the Huskers lost to Texas A&M, 2-1. Three of the first four games of the Classic have been one-run games.

Luis Alvarado had two of Nebraska's nine hits. The Huskers scored two runs each in the fifth and eighth innings, with both runs in the fifth unearned. Tyler Brashears (2-2) took the loss despite not giving up an earned run in his seven innings.

Hawaii (6-9) opened the three-day event Friday with a 2-1 win over Baylor.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.