HONOLULU—The University of Hawai’i softball team (19-16, 4-2 Big West) split Saturday’s doubleheader with Cal State Fullerton thus falling in the series 2-1 to the Titans. Hawai’i came back to win the first game on a walk-off single by Lindsey Willmon that scored Sharla Kliebenstein for a 6-5 win to start the day. But in the second game, the Titans bounced back to defeat the Rainbow Wahine 12-3 in five innings. Freshman Heather Morales earned the win for UH while Loie Kesterson suffered the loss in the series finale.
Hawai`i 6, Cal State Fullerton 5
Box Score (html)
Cal State Fullerton started the game by getting their first two runners on base on a sharp base hit back up the middle and a walk. But UH starter Heather Morales then settled down. She caught a pop up on a bunt attempt for the first out, then got a pair of swinging strike outs to thwart the Titan threat.
In the bottom of the first, Lindsey Willmon led UH off with a solo blast over the right-centerfield fence. It was the third time this season that Willmon has led UH off with a home run and it marked her eighth round-tripper of the season. Jazmine Zamora was then plunked but CSF then got two outs on a line-out to third and a pop up to second. But the ‘Bows got back-to-back walks to load the bases. Ulu Matagiese then was beaned to force Zamora home for the 2-0 lead.
Hawai`i loaded the bases again, but this time with two outs in the bottom of the second, but the Titans got a fly out to left to end the rally.
Cal State Fullerton posted one run in the top of the fourth. Gabby Aragon led the top of the fourth off with a solo home run to centerfield. The Titans’ Samantha Galarza followed with a single up the middle, but then Morales settled down to end the inning on a fielder’s choice from third-to-second and then a pair of infield pop-outs to head to the bottom of the fourth with a 2-1 lead.
The ‘Bows got the run back in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. Keiki Carlos led the frame off with a double down the third base line. She moved to third on a wild pitch and then came home on a sacrifice fly by Leisha Li`ili`i to leftfield.
But the Titans knotted the score at 5-5 on a two-out solo home run by Melissa Sechrest over the centerfield fence. Later in the inning Gabby Aragon hit a line shot that ricocheted off of Morales in the pitching circle. It would’ve been a single, but she had been pinch run for in the sixth inning and was not re-entered back into the game. UH head coach Bob Coolen informed the home plate umpire and Aragon was called out as an illegal batter to end the inning.
Hawai`i however battled back to take the win in the bottom of the seventh with a walk-off single by Willmon to bookend her RBI in the game. Sharla Kliebenstein reached first safely on a fielding error on the third baseman. Kristina Akiona was then called out on interference when her momentum off a bunt attempt put her in line with the throw from the catcher trying to cut down Kliebenstein who was attempting to steal. Kliebenstein did reach second on a successful steal but Morales flew out to left for the second out. Sarina Jaramillo then dropped a bunt single to third to put runners at the corners. Jaramillo stole second to eliminate the force out at second and Willmon then came through with the walk-off single up the middle to score Kliebenstein.
Morales improved to 9-6 overall and 2-0 in conference action. She gave up five runs on 12 hits with a walk and two strike outs.
For the Titans, starter Jasmine Antunez lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on one hit with two walks before being lifted for Washington. Washington suffered the loss, dropping her record to 7-5. She threw six plus innings, giving up four runs on six hits with a walk and a strike out.
Cal State Fullerton 12, Hawai’i 3 (5 innings)
Box Score (html)
The Titans got on the scoreboard first in the top of the first, posting one run to start the game. Taukeiaho led off with a double hit off the rightfield fence just inside the foul pole. She moved to third on a ground out to the rightside. Sechrest then drove in Taukeiaho from third on a single to left.
Cal State Fullerton then erupted for 11 runs on nine hits and two errors in the top of the third. Hawai`i was unable to get the first out until after the Titans had scored seven runs and brought 11 batters came to the plate.
Hawai`i got two runs back in the bottom of the third on back-to-back home runs by Willmon and Zamora to bring UH to a 12-2 deficit. Willmon’s homer was just inside the leftfield foul pole while Zamora’s was to centerfield. For Willmon, it was her second home run of the day and the ninth of the season. For Zamora, it was her third this season and ninth of the senior’s career.
Kesterson dropped to 9-6 overall and evened her record at 2-2 in conference. She gave up eight runs on 10 hits with three strike outs in 4.2 innings pitched. Keiki Carlos made a brief appearance in the third inning, but faced just five batters and was able to get one. She gave up four runs on two hits with a walk.
Cal State Fullerton’s Monique Welsey kept UH at bay, holding the ‘Bows to just thre runs on six hits with three strike outs.
Hawai’i now hits the road to take on league-leader Long Beach State who is currently 28-9 overall and 5-0 in the Big West. The series will start with a doubleheader on April 12 and end with a single game on April 13. Both days will start at 1:00 pm (PT).
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*