CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Both sides got pretty much what they expected - or feared - Friday night.
Kiefer Hovorka fired a five-inning two-hitter and struck out nine as Charleston Catholic blanked Buffalo 10-0 in its home baseball opener at the University of Charleston's Triana Field.
Hovorka flirted with the upper reaches of an early-season pitch count, but allowed only four baserunners in going the distance. Six of his nine punchouts came on called third strikes.
"I kept them guessing,'' Hovorka said. "All three of my pitches were working pretty well, and they were just swinging and missing.''
A solid effort from Hovorka was a pretty safe bet, since he carried a 7-3 record and 2.39 ERA last year in earning first-team all-state honors, and fanned 93 in 671/3 innings. A complete game, however, went right down to the wire.
"He was on a 70-pitch count,'' said Irish coach Bill Mehle, "and I believe he threw 69. He had 13 pitches left going into the last inning and we were debating that. I was going to leave it up to [pitching coach Will Bobinger]. This time of year, we're just trying to build capacity. Plus, the fact that [Hovorka] was on the Civic Center floor less than a week ago.''
Hovorka, a starter on the Irish basketball team, played in the Class A state finals last Saturday. He also went 2-for-3 with an RBI Friday to lead Catholic's hitting attack on a chilly, mid-30-degree evening.
"Just try to make sure you're loosened up pretty well before you go out and go full speed,'' Hovorka said. "You've got to be in pretty good shape.''