The University of Hawai’i softball team (25-15, 4-5 Big West) travels to California this weekend for a three-game conference series at Cal State Fullerton (23-18, 6-3 Big West). Last week the Rainbow Wahine won their series against UC Riverside, 2-1 while the Titans swept UC Davis on the road to move into second place in the BWC standings.
Behind a pair of strong outings by reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week, Brittany Hitchcock, UH won the first and third games of the series to secure the series win over the Highlanders. The right-handed junior yielded seven hits and zero walks over her 14.0 innings of work. Hitchcock also struck out 11 while holding the Highlanders to a .146 batting average. The two shutouts raised Hitchcock’s total to a career-high eight this season. Overall, Hitchcock improved to 16-7 on the year with a 1.73 ERA in 149.1 innings pitched. She has walked just 21 batters all season and struck out 133.
Sophomore second baseman Sarah Muzik leads the Rainbow Wahine offense with a .341 batting average. She also leads UH with seven stolen bases and is tied with a team-high 43 hits with fellow sophomore Nicole Lopez. Muzik Is also third on the team with 19 runs scored. She also has four doubles, a triple and 13 RBI. She is one of five ‘Bows to have started all 40 games along with Lopez, Heather Morales, Danielle Garcielita and Callee Heen.
Lopez continues to lead the league in home runs with 11 round-trippers which ranks her at No. 28 in the NCAA DI. Overall, she is right behind Muzik hitting .339 (43-for-127) and Lopez leads the ‘bows with nine doubles and a .669 slugging percentage. She is tied for the team lead with Garcielita with 22 runs scored and with Morales with 28 RBI.
Moving up the stat sheet has been rookie shortstop Angelique Ramos who hit an even .500 last week against the Highlanders (3-for-6) with a double and a home run. She also is leading Hawai’i Big West games with a .391 batting average (9-for-23) with a double and three home runs and two RBI.
Last week’s two wins raised Hawai’i’s record to 25-15 overall. The 25 wins is one more that UH won all of last season. The Rainbow Wahine have already surpassed last season’s home run and stolen base marks as well as UH had launched 36 homers to just 25 last year and have swiped 31-of-37 bases to last year’s 23-of-31 in stolen bases.
Defending BWC Champs Cal State Fullerton comes into this weekend with the Titans on a roll winning four of their last five games. The Titans will face UCLA in a mid-week game before the three game series vs. Hawai’ which begins on Friday, April 21. Senior Delynn Rippy leads CSF with a .364 batting average, 51 hits, 24 runs scored. Lexi Gonzalez leads Cal State Fullerton with 31 RBI, eight doubles and five home runs.
In the pitching circle, senior hurler Kelsey Kessler has seen the bulk of the action, with a 1.75 ERA in 123.2 innings pitched. She has issued just 33 walks with 113 strikeouts and an overall record of 12-6 in 24 appearances. Cerissa Rivera is second on the team with a 1.94 ERA in 57.2 IP and a 4-2 record while Sydney Golden is 4-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 56.0 innings of work.
Who: Hawai’i (25-15, 4-5 Big West) vs. Cal State Fullerton (23-18, 6-3 Big West)
When: Friday, April 21 at 3:00 pm (HT); Saturday, April 22 at 11:00 am (doubleheader)
Where: Anderson Family Field (1,000 main field/500 south field) – Fullerton, Calif.
Live audio stream: Live audio stream will be available at fullertontitans.com
Live stats: Live in-game stats will be available at fullertontitans.com
Series History: Cal State Fullerton has a commanding 52-16 record against the Rainbow Wahine. Last season the Titans swept the ‘Bows in Honolulu en route to winning the Big West title.
Coaches: UH head coach Bob Coolen is in his 26th season at the helm of the Rainbow Wahine program. He has a 945-558-1 record at UH and a 1,019-655-1 career record. CSF’s Kelly Ford is in her fifth season with the Titans with a career-record of 160-105-1.