HONOLULU—The No. 19/23 University of Hawai`i softball team (38-11, 15-4 BWC) was stunned by UC Santa Barbara, 4-1 in nine innings on Friday night at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. The Gauchos’ Sami Stark hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to down the ‘Bows. UH starter Kaia Parnaby suffered the loss, dropping her record to 34-5 on the season.
Parnaby threw a complete game in the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits with no walks and 14 strike outs. It marked the 11th time this season that Parnaby has fanned 10 or more batters at the plate and it was just the second time that she lost a game in conference play. She now has 315 strike outs this year and is nine short of tying former UH-standout Brooke Wilkins’ single-season program record of 324 set in 1994.
The Gauchos took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third. The lead off batter, Lauren Boser reached on a bunt single and later scored on a two-out RBI single by Arianna Palomares.
The ‘Bows tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth on a solo blast by Leisha Li`ili`i into the tennis courts beyond the right-centerfield fence. It was her 11th homer of the season and 21st of her young career.
The score remained tied at 1-1 until the top of the ninth when the Gauchos struck for the win. With one out, Kathryn Pilpil started their rally with a base hit up the middle past a diving Jessica Iwata at shortstop. UH got the second out of the inning on a fly out to left. But Boser hit an infield single to short and Stark followed with the clutch three-run shot over the left-centerfield fence to give UCSB a 4-1 lead. Parnaby got the final out of the inning with her 14th strike out of the game.
It was UH’s fourth extra inning game and first extra inning loss of the season. It marked the first time the ‘Bows have lost three straight games this season. UH remains in first place and still controls its own destiny but must win three of its final five games to win the Big West title outright. Long Beach State has a 14-7 conference record and plays UC Davis this week. Pacific is at 12-8 after dropping both ends of Friday’s doubleheader at Cal State Fullerton.
Heavy rains hit Manoa late in the afternoon that pushed back the start time to 6:35 p.m. Then the stadiums lights malfunctioned which pushed back the start time another 15 minutes with the first pitch coming at 6:50 p.m.
The Rainbow Wahine and the Gauchos square off in the series-ending doubleheader on Saturday, May 4 with the first pitch slated for 2:00 p.m. It will be Senior Day for five Rainbow Wahine—Tara Anguiano, Brynne Buchanan, Jessica Iwata, Kelly Majam, and Kaia Parnaby. It is also “Power in Pink” day at the park in recognition of breast cancer awareness.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*