LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The University of Hawai’i softball team (15-14, 0-0 Big West) began their trip to California with a doubleheader sweep over Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and Loyola Marymount on Wednesday afternoon. Hawai’i came from behind in dramatic fashion in both games to defeat UMKC, 7-4 and LMU, 4-3. Loie Kesterson and Heather Morales both earned complete game wins while the UH offense pounded out 21 hits over two games–including eight extra-base hits–to fuel the sweep at Smith Field on the Loyola Marymount campus.
Hawai’i 7, UMKC 4
Box Score (html)
Hawai’i evened their overall record at 14-14 as the ‘Bows overcame a two run deficit in the sixth inning to knock off UMKC (10-23, 0-0 WAC), 7-4. The ‘Bows scored five runs in the top of the sixth to overtake the Kangaroos in UH’s first game of the day.
UH starter Loie Kesterson improved to 8-5 on the season with the complete game win. She gave up four runs on 11 hits with a walk and two strike outs. UMKC’s Kelly suffered the loss, giving up five runs on eight hits with two walks and five strike outs. Ramos threw the final 2.0 innings allowing two unearned runs on two hits with a walk and four strike outs.
The ‘Roos took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Bri Wyatt led the inning off with a bunt single to first. She then advanced to third on a pair of illegal pitches. After a groundout to short, Marlee Maples drove in Wyatt with a double down the third base line for the early, 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, UH leap-frogged the Kangaroos taking a 2-1 lead. Leisha Li’ili’i started the inning with a single to centerfield. Kayla Wartner then followed by launching a two-run home run over the centerfield fence, driving in pinch-runner Dori Ann Sugai. It was Wartner’s second home run of the season and 19th homer of the junior’s career.
UMKC knotted the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Aly Zembruski to drive in pinch-runner Abby Warkentine from third. The ‘Roos then jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run double by Katie Kelley.
Hawai’i see-sawed back into the lead for good in the top of the sixth inning on a five-run rally. LI’ili’i started the rally with a double to centerfield. Li’ili’i went to third on a passed ball and then scored on a ball four, passed ball with Wartner at the plate that resulted with Wartner at first and Li`ili`i crossing the plate. Sharla Kliebenstein then drilled her first home run of the season over the left-centerfield fence to give UH a 5-4 lead. UMKC then lifted starter Kelley for Cinda Ramos. Sarina Jaramillo kept things going with a single up the middle. Then after a strike out, pinch-hitter Kristina Akiona drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Kaile Nakao re-entered the game to run for Akiona and Lindsey Willmon then hit a fly ball to left for the second out, but on the play, the throw home got away from the catcher to allow both Jaramillo and Nakao to move into scoring position. Jazmine Zamora then struck out swinging, but hustled to first and was safe on an errant throw to first which allowed both Jaramillo and Nakao to score to give UH a 7-4 lead.
Kesterson and the UH defense then held UMKC off the scoreboard in the final two innings to preserve the win. It marked Kesterson’s third win in her last four starts.
Hawai’i 4, Loyola Marymount 3
Box Score (html)
The Lions scored first, posting two runs in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Nicole Kaiser that allowed Sterling Shuster to score and an RBI fielder’s choice by Breeanna Sandoval to score Alex Finie.
Hawai’i cut their deficit in half on a solo home run by Keiki Carlos in the top of the fourth. It marked Carlos’ sixth round-tripper of the season and her 13th home run of the sophomore’s career.
In the top of the fifth, UH erupted for three more runs to overtake the Lions, 4-2. Lindsey Willmon started things off with a solo home run over the right-centerfield fence with one out. It was the sophomore’s seventh homer of the season. Zamora kept things going with a single up the middle and was followed by Carlos who drew a walk that put runners at first and second. Li`ili`i then came through with an RBI-single to right to score the speedy Zamora from second and Wartner followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Carlos from third to give UH a 4-2 lead. UH went on to load the bases with two outs on a Kliebenstein walk and a Jaramillo hit to center but LMU escaped by getting a groundout to third to end the inning and thwart the ‘Bows’ rally.
The Lions got one run back in the bottom of the sixth on a lead-off, solo home run by Meghan Harman. But UH’s pitcher Morales settled down to get a pair of strike outs and a fly out to center to get out of the inning. Morales then retired the Lions in order in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win for the ‘Bows.
Morales raised her record to 7-6 on the season, giving up three runs on four hits with four walks and four strike outs. It was Morales’ first win since defeating St. Mary’s on Feb. 23.
LMU’s Rachel Farrington suffered the loss, dropping her record to 5-6. She threw five complete inning, giving up four runs on nine hits with two walks and six strike outs. Stephanie Crist tossed the final two innings, allowing just two hits with a walk and two strike outs.
Hawai’i remains on the road in California to take on UC Riverside in both team’s Big West Conference opener. The two teams will square off in a single game on Friday March 28 at 3:00 p.m. and a doubleheader on Saturday, March 29 starting at 12:00 p.m.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*