15th ranked Rainbow Wahine handed first Big West Conference loss

Kelly Majam // Hawai'i Athletics
Kelly Majam // Hawai'i Athletics

FULLERTON, Calif.—The No. 15/20 University of Hawai’i softball team (32-8, 11-1 Big West) fell in five innings at Cal State Fullerton, 11-3 at Anderson Field on Sunday afternoon. The loss snapped UH’s 13-game win streak and was their first in conference action. Starting pitcher Kaia Parnaby suffered the loss, dropping her record to 30-4 overall and 10-1 in conference. The Rainbow Wahine got all three runs off of home runs by Kelly Majam and Sharla Kliebenstein. Hawai’i remains in first place in the Big West standings at 11-1 while Pacific is at 10-4 and Long Beach State is currently at 9-4.

The Titans got off to a strong start in the bottom of the first inning with Ariel Tsuchiyama leading off with a single to right and then Ashley Carter reached on an error on the pitcher to put runners at first and second. A sacrifice bunt by Desiree Ybarra pushed both runners into scoring position, for Gabby Aragon who came through with a three-run home run to center to give the Titans an early 3-0 lead.

Hawai’i got right back into the ballgame in the top of the second. Kaile Nakao drew a two-out walk and Sharla Kliebenstein followed a two-run blast to center to cut UH’s deficit to 3-2. It marked Kliebenstein’s ninth home run of the season and 30th of her career. UH trailed, 3-2 going to the bottom of the second inning.

Cal State Fullerton added another run in the bottom of the frame. Carissa Turang led off with a bunt single and stole second. Tiffany Sheffler then hit a single to drive in Turang to give the Titans a 4-2 lead.

The ‘Bows got one run back in the top of the third on a Kelly Majam solo home run to start the inning. It was her 15th of the season and 69th of her career. The Titans then lifted starting pitcher Wesley for Ybarra. UH started a rally, with Kayla Wartner reaching on an error and Keiki Carlos following with a single to left. Pinch hitter Tara Anguiano then hit into a fielder’s choice that pushed Wartner to third, but erased Carlos at second. After a fly out to right, Wartner was cut down at the plate on a double steal attempt. UH trailed CSUF, 4-3 going to the bottom of the third.

The Titans then erupted for five runs in the bottom of the frame. Ybarra reached first on a swinging strike three wild pitch and Eliza Crawford then hit a triple to score pinch runner Mario. Aragon followed with an RBI double to score Crawford. Melissa Sechrest then got a bunt single. UH then got their first out on a strike out but Cal State Fullerton kept coming with another bunt single by Sheffler. After a pop up to the catcher, all three runners advanced on a called illegal pitch that scored Aragon. Tsuchiyama then got two-RBI on a single up the middle to cap their scoring with a commanding 9-3 lead. Parnaby was then relieved by Loie Kesterson who got the final out of the inning on a groundout to the catcher.

Both teams were held off the scoreboard in the fourth, but in the bottom of the fifth, the Titans loaded the bases with no outs on two infield singles and a beaned batter. Tsuchiyama then ended the game with a single that scored both Shelffler and Turang to give the Titans a final 11-3 score.

Parnaby lasted 3.2 innings, giving up nine runs on nine hits with no walks and three strike outs. It was her shortest start of the season and it tied the most runs she’s given up in a game when she gave up nine against Fresno State on May 1, 2010 as a freshman. Kesterson threw the final 1.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. It was just the second time this season that UH lost by the mercy rule.

The Titans’ Ybarra earned the win, throwing three shutout innings with three hits. Monique Wesley threw the first two innings, giving up three runs on two hits with two walks and two strike outs.

Hawai’i continues its 11-day roadtrip with a single game at Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday, April 16 at 1:00 p.m. UH then heads to Cal Poly for a three game conference series with a doubleheader on Friday. April 19 and the series finale on Saturday April 20.

Courtesy: Hawaii Athletics

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