UH softball continues Big West title push, series win at CSUN
The University of Hawaii softball team (32-14, 13-5 Big West) split its doubleheader at CSUN (25-26, 9-9 Big West) on Saturday taking two out of three for the series victory.
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—The University of Hawaii softball team (32-14, 13-5 Big West) split its doubleheader at CSUN (25-26, 9-9
Big West) on Saturday. In Game 1, the Matadors came from behind to win, 3-1 and even the series at 1-1. But the Rainbow Wahine battled back and showed their resiliency by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh to overtake CSUN for a 4-3 win to capture the series, 2-1 at the Matador Diamond in Northridge, Calif.
CSUN 3, Hawaii 1
Hawaii sophomore centerfielder Brittnee Rossi drilled a double to rightfield to start the game. Senior third baseman Nicole Lopez battled at the plate for a 10-pitch at bat that ended with a single through the leftside of the infield. Lopez stole second to put both runners into scoring position, but CSUN's pitcher Jillian James then picked up her first strikeout. With first base open, junior first baseman Callee Heen was walked to load the bases. CSUN escaped unscathed with a strikeout and a pop out to end the inning.
In the top of the third, UH rallied on two outs. Senior second baseman Alyssa Sojka got things started with a two-out single up the middle. Junior first baseman Callee Heen then laced her first triple of the season past a diving rightfielder to drive in Sojka from second for an early 1-0 lead.
CSUN threatened to score in the bottom of the third. The Matadors' Rojas got a one-out double down the leftfield line. She moved to third on a fielding error at second off a ground ball hit by Swan to put runners at the corners. The next batter was called out because the ball touched her out of the box for the second out. Swan then stole second, placing both runners into scoring position. But it was déjà vu and the third out came on a ball ricocheting off the Matador batter out of the box to end the rally.
The Matadors erupted for three runs in the bottom of the sixth for the win. Megan Stevens launched a three-run home run to centerfield put CSUN in front. UH's Ashley Murphy then entered the game in relief of Izzy Dino with no outs. Murphy gave up two hits, but held the Matadors off the scoreboard getting the first out on a sacrifice bunt, followed by a strikeout and a groundout to third to end the inning.
Dino lasted five-plus innings, allowing three runs on five hits with no walks and a strikeout. Murphy threw one inning in relief. She did not allow a run but gave up two hits while recording one strikeout.
CSUN's Jillian James earned the win and improved to 18-11 overall, throwing 6.2 innings. She allowed one run in the third inning on six hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. Reliever Kenedee Jamerson earned the save, facing just one batter with two runners on and two outs in the top of the seventh. She was able to get Heen to groundout into a fielder's choice at second to end the game.
Hawaii 4, CSUN 3
The series' rubber game between CSUN and UH was a see-saw affair with the 'Bows ending up on top after rallying for two runs in the top of the seventh. Senior pitcher Brittany Hitchcock earned her second win of the series to improve to 19-7 overall and 11-2 in conference. She allowed three runs on seven hits with no walks and one strikeout. It marked Hithcock's 16th appearance of the season without a walk.
The Matadors got the first run of the game on a solo home run by Kiarra Crockett-Pope to start the bottom of the second.
Hawaii tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth. Rossi led off the inning pulling a single down the first base line. Lopez followed with her team-leading 12th double of the season that scored Rossi from first to knot the score.
The Rainbow Wahine took their first lead of the game in the fifth. Madison Veldman led the inning off with a single to center. CSUN then lifted their starter, Taylor Troost for Jamerson. After a strikeout, Carly Pina lined a single through the leftside of the infield. Tatumn Satow then laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Rossi followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in pinch-runner Jenna Kumabe from third for a 2-1 lead. The Matadors got the final out on a fielder's choice ground out to second.
CSUN leapfrogged over UH in the bottom of the fifth retake the lead, 3-2. After an infield popout, the Matadors got two singles to put runners at the corners. As CSUN tried a double-steal, the runner at third was caught off the base, but the throw from the catcher was offline to third, allowing the tying run to score. Later, again with runners at first and third, Stevens picked up the RBI after hitting a groundball to third, but Lopez's only play was at first as she was coming across the infield towards first which allowed the go-ahead run to cross the plate.
Hawaii, however had one rally left in their tank. Veldman tied the game at 3-3 with a solo home run to left. It was Veldman's fourth home run of the season and her career. Sissy Pantastico kept things rolling with a single to right. CSUN then lifted Jamerson and inserted their ace James in the pitching circle. Pina looped a single to left and Satow dropped a bunt, but a CSUN fielding error allowed UH to load the bases with no outs. UH took a 4-3 lead on a 12-pitch at-bat by Lopez which ended in a swinging strikeout. But the third-strike sailed past the catcher to the backstop which allowed Lopez to advance to first as Pantastico slid across the plate safely on the wild pitch for what proved to be the winning run.
It marked UH's first series win over the Matadors since 2015. It is just the second time UH has won the series since rejoining the Big West in 2013.
The Matadors used three pitchers in the series finale, Troost got the start, throwing the first four plus innings. She allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and no strikeouts. Jamerson threw the next two innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts. James got the final three outs, allowing just one hit with two strikeouts.
Hawai'i returns for their final series of the year. The Rainbow Wahine will host UC Davis with a rare Thursday night doubleheader on Thursday May 9 at 5:00 p.m., followed by Senior Night on Friday, May 10th beginning at 7:00 p.m. It will be the final games for seven Hawai'i seniors—Heather Cameron, Brittany Hitchcock, Jennifer Iseri, Jenna Kumabe, Nicole Lopez, Carly Pina and Alyssa Sojka.