HONOLULU—The University of Hawai’i softball team was fueled by a pair of two-run home runs launched by Callee Heen en route to a 5-1 win over UC Santa Barbara to open a three-game Big West series. UH starter Brittany Hitchcock improved to 17-9 overall and 5-3 in conference with her 26th complete game of the season on Friday night at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
Hitchcock scattered seven hits and allowed just one run in the first inning before shutting down the Gauchos for the rest of the game. She issued one walk with six strikeouts to lower her season ERA to 1.83.
The Gauchos got on the scoreboard first, posting a run in the top of the first. Kristen Clark reached on a one-out single up the middle. After a flyout to left and a base hit by Sierra Altmeyer, Alyssa Diaz stepped to the plate and drove in Clark with a single to leftfield giving the Gauchos the early 1-0 lead.
Hawai’i answered right back with a run of their own to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Sarah Muzik led off the home-half with an opposite field triple laced down the leftfield line. Chardonnay Pantastico then drove her in with an RBI single to left.
In the fourth inning, Heather Morales reached on a base hit to left and Heen followed with her first home run of the night over the rightfield fence. On the play, pinch runner Alia Monges scored as well. Hawai’i led 3-1 after four complete inning.
Morales reached first again on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning, and Heen then launched her second home run of the game to give the ‘Bows a 5-1 lead. Earlier in the at bat, Heen was plunked but the home plate umpire ruled that she leaned into the pitch and was forced back to the batter’s box. Heen made the most of her second chance the plate, getting all of the ball as her towering home run hit the roof of batting cages beyond the rightfield fence. It was the first time a Rainbow Wahine has hit two home runs in one game since Tayana Mata accomplished the feat on May 8 against UC Davis.
For Hawai’i, the win snapped a three-game losing streak and allowed the ‘Bows to rebound after a tough series at Cal State Fullerton in which they were swept—with two of the losses coming on walk-off hits by the Titans.
The Gauchos’ Veronika Gulvin fired a complete game in the loss. She fell to 18-11 overall after giving up five runs on six hits with no walks or strikeouts.
Both teams will square off in a series ending doubleheader on Saturday with the first pitch slated for 2:00 p.m. It will be Military Appreciation Day at the ballpark with the U.S. Navy band coming along with a full color guard and the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Lieutenant Colonel Kate M. H. Conkey of the U.S. Army.