LAS VEGAS, Nev.—The University of Hawai’i softball team opens its 2018 schedule on the road at the Marucci Desert Classic (hosted by UNLV) from Feb. 15-19. During the five day tournament, the Rainbow Wahine will take on BYU, Seattle, New Mexico, Utah State, Idaho State, Boise State, and host UNLV. The BYU and UNLV games will be played at the Rebels’ home venue, the Eller Media Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. Games 2-6 will be held at the Stephanie Lynn Craig Softball Complex in Henderson, Nev.
It is the first time has opened their season on the road since 2002 when the ‘Bows began their campaign at Long Beach State. It marks the 12th time in program history that Hawai’i will begin their season on the road. It is the fourth time ever that UH has started the year at UNLV’s Desert Classic Tournament.
Hawai’i is coming off an exhibition split doubleheader played this past Sunday, Feb. 11 against Josai University from Saitama, Japan. UH fell in the opener in eight innings 6-5, but the ‘Bows bounced back to take the second game 7-5.
Leading the Rainbow Wahine return 15 letterwinners and seven starters from last year’s squad which posted a 29-23 overall record and finished in seventh place in the Big West with a, 8-13 conference mark. Amongst the returnees that will lead UH this year is senior pitcher Brittany Hitchcock who posted many career bests last season, including a 19-12 record, with 35 appearances, 27 complete games, 204.2 innings pitched and just 28 walks to 169 strikeouts. She recorded a career-low 1.85 ERA overall while holding opponents to a .219 batting average and earned her third all-Big West honor (first team)
Junior third baseman Nicole Lopez led Hawai’i with a .331 batting average with a team-high 55 base hits, 27 runs scored, 11 doubles and 12 home runs. She had 32 RBI en route to earning first team all-Big West honors.
Sophomore shortstop Angelique “Cheeks” Ramos was the second straight Rainbow Wahine to be voted BWC Freshman of the Year, while she also earned all-BWC second team and honorable mention honors. Overall, Ramos batted .310 with six home runs, 17 RBI, 40 hits and a .473 slugging percentage in 49 games. During league play Ramos was an even more consistent threat as she batted .353 with three home runs, 18 hits, four RBI and a .569 slugging percentage.
Joining Ramos on the all-BWC Freshman Team were Callee Heen and Chardonnay Pantastico. Heen
was solid all last season starting all 52 games as a freshman, splitting time between catcher and designated player. She led UH with 15 walks and was second on the team with nine home runs and third with 30 RBI. Overall she hit .275 (39-for-142) with six doubles, and a triple. Pantastico finished the season strong, finishing second on the team with a .333 batting average (14-for-42) in the Big West season with a double, two home runs, seven RBI and nine runs scored. Overall the rightfielder hit .233 (20-for-86) in 42 games played. She scored 14 runs with two doubles and three home runs.
Senior centerfielder Danielle Garcielita also earned BWC honorable mention honors last year. The leadoff hitter and centerfielder started 49 games for the ‘Bows. She finished the season second on the team with a .323 batting average (51-for-158), 26 runs scored and 10 walks. She was tied for the team lead with Sarah Muzik with seven stolen bases and on defense, Garcielita had a 1.000 fielding percentage. The junior transfer from North Carolina also posted four doubles a triple and nine RBI. In Big West games, Garcielita hit .328 with 10 runs scored, two doubles and a triple.
Marucci Desert Classic (hosted by UNLV)
Teams: BYU (1-4 0-0 Mountain West), Seattle (3-2, 0-0 WAC), New Mexico (1-1, 0-0 MWC), Utah State (2-3, 0-0 MWC), Idaho State (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky). Boise State (3-3, 0-0 MWC), and UNLV (4-1, 0-0 MWC)
Thurs., Feb. 15 at 4:00 pm HT – UH vs. BYU (Eller Media Stadium – Las Vegas, Nev.)
Fri., Feb. 16 at 1:45 pm HT – UH vs. Seattle (Stephanie Lynn Craig Softball Complex – Field 1 – Henderson, Nev.)
Fri., Feb. 16 at 4:00 pm HT – UH vs. New Mexico (SLC1 – Henderson, Nev.)
Sat., Feb. 17 at 11:30 am HT – UH vs. Utah State (SLC1 – Henderson, Nev.)
Sat., Feb. 17 at 4:00 pm HT – UH vs. Idaho State (SLC 1 – Henderson, Nev.)
Sun., Feb. 18 at 9:15 am HT – UH vs. Boise State (SLC 3 – Henderson, Nev.)
Mon., Feb. 19 at 12:00 pm HT – UH vs. UNLV (EMS – Las Vegas, Nev.)
Livestats: Live in-game stats will be available for some of the tourney games. Check the HawaiiAthletics.com softball schedule for games that will be available.