HONOLULU—The No. 18/22 University of Hawai`i softball team (25-7, 3-0 Big West) returns to host their Big West Conference home opener this weekend against UC Davis (13-14, 0-0 Big West). Hawai`i rose to No. 18 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association/USA Today Poll and up one spot to No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll after sweeping their conference opening series at Cal State Northridge.
The ‘Bows fared well in its first Big West series in 16 years. Led by the stellar play of Leisha Li’ili’i and Kaia Parnaby, UH won 5-4, 5-3, and 9-3. Both were recognized for their efforts by being tabbed Big West Softball Field Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively.
Sophomore first baseman Li’ili’i earned her second Big West Softball Field Player of the Week award after blasting home runs in each of the three wins against the Matadors. Li’ili’i posted team-highs with a .556 batting average, .667 on-base percentage and 1.667 slugging percentage. She also topped the team with four runs scored, five hits and RBI as she played a role in nine of the 19 runs that UH compiled during the series. Overall, Li`ili`i leads UH with a .314 batting average (27-for-86) and 23 RBI. She is second on the team with seven home runs and seven doubles.
Parnaby, UH’s senior pitcher, collected her fourth Big West Softball Pitcher of the Week honor as the southpaw starter went 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA against Cal State Northridge in the Big West series opener for both clubs. Parnaby, who has thrown 184.2 innings out of UH’s 223.2 innings played this season, pitched all 21 innings in the sweep of the Matadors. Overall this season Parnaby has been the cornerstone of the team. On the year, she is 23-3 in 28 appearances with 24 complete games and nine shut outs. She enters the second week of conference action with a 1.14 ERA in 184.2 innings pitched.
About the UC Davis Aggies (13-14, 0-0 Big West)
The Aggies open their Big West season in Honolulu after having a conference bye last weekend. UCD fell in a heartbreaker to Oregon State on Sunday, March 24, 1-0. Senior outfielder Megan Guzman has only started 11 games in 22 appearances, but she leads the Aggies at the plate with a .364 batting average and she has stolen 8-of-9 bases. Redshirt freshman Jasmine Lee has started 23 games this year and is hitting a shade under .300 at .291 with a team-high 23 hits while Amy Nunez is batting .286 (22-for-77) with a team-high three home runs.
In the circle, UC Davis is led by last year’s Freshman of the Year, Justine Vela, who is 8-2 on the season with a 1.92 ERA in 83.2 innings pitched. She has made 15 appearances with eight complete games and three shutouts. Vela has 34 walks and 96 strike outs while holding opponents to a .173 batting average. Freshman Leah Munden is second on the squad with a 2.56 ERA and a 4-6 record in 15 appearances while senior Jessica Thweatt is 1-5 with a 4.71 ERA.
No. 18/22 Hawai`i vs. UC Davis
When: Friday, March 29 at 6:00 p.m.; Saturday, March 30 at 2:00 pm (DH)
Where: Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium (1,200)
Livestats: Available at HawaiiAthletics.com
ADMISSION IS FREE!
Phiten is the series sponsor and will provide great prizes for the winners of the popular “Ballpark Bingo.” Also, Phiten products will be thrown into the stands during the fourth inning of each UH game.