RENO, Nev. (HawaiiNewsNow) —The No. 14/18 University of Hawai'i softball team (37-5, 11-3 WAC) won the series but split Saturday's doubleheader at Nevada. The 'Bows pulled away to win the first game, 6-2 but fell in the finale, 4-0 at Christina M. Hixon Softball Park in Reno, Nev.
Game 1: Hawai'i 6, Nevada 2
The Rainbow Wahine pulled away from the Wolf Pack in the seventh inning, scoring three runs on back-to-back home runs by Alexandra Aguirre and Leisha Liilii to defeat Nevada, 6-2. Hawai'i Kaia Parnaby (14-2, 3-2 WAC) earned her 14th complete game win this season, giving up two runs on seven hits with a walk and nine strike outs.
In the bottom of the second, Nevada threatened to score with a rally that began with Megan Fincher leading the inning off with a double to the right-centerfield gap. After a strike out, Bailey Brewer walked and Fincher scooted to third on a ball four wild pitch to leave the Wolf Pack with runners at the corners and just one out. But Parnaby settled down to strike out the last two batters to get out of the jam.
The Rainbow Wahine broke the scoreless game with two runs in the top of the fourth. Aguirre reached first on a walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. After a pop-out, Dara Pagaduan came through with a clutch single up the middle to score the speedy Aguirre from second. Pagaduan, who advanced to second on the throw, hustled to third on a wild pitch and then scored on an opposite-field single hit through the right-side of the infield by Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu to give UH a 2-0 lead.
The Wolf Pack answered right back in the bottom of the frame. Sara Parsons reached first on a throwing error by the shortstop and went to second on a wild pitch. She moved to third on a single to right by Fincher that left runners at the corners. Sam Puzey followed with an RBI-groundout to second that allowed Parsons to score, cutting their deficit to 2-1.
Hawai'i inch-wormed ahead with another run in the top of the fifth. Jessica Iwata singled through the leftside of the infield with one out but was erased at second on a fielder's choice that was hit to second by Aguirre. Li'ili'i then had a battle at the plate that resulted in a single down the rightfield line that allowed Aguirre to score her second run of the game to give UH a 3-1 lead.
But once again, the Wolf Pack responded with a solo home run to left by Chelsea Barilli that closed the score to 3-2 with UH leading going into the sixth inning.
After a scoreless sixth inning on both sides, UH's bats erupted in the seventh for three runs on back-to-back home runs off of relief pitcher, Karlyn Jones. After a strike out that started the inning, Iwata picked up her second single of the game with a shot to center. Aguirre then came up and gave the 'Bows some breathing room by launching her fourth home run of the season to centerfield. Li'ili'i followed with an opposite-field blast to left-centerfield to give UH a 6-2 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh. For Aguirre, it was her 23rd career homer while the rookie Li'ili'i drilled her ninth of the year.
Nevada's Brewer threw the first 3.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with three walks and a strike out. Jones came in relief to toss the final 3.2 innings. She gave up seven hits and four runs with no walks and five strike outs.
Game 2: Nevada 4, Hawai'i 0
The Rainbow Wahine fell to Nevada in the series finale, 4-0. Hawai'i out-hit Nevada 6-to-4 and had at least one runner on base in every inning except for the seventh, but the 'Bows were unable to produce any runs for just their second shutout this season. The loss dropped UH's record to 37-5 overall and 11-3 in conference and snapped UH's five-game win streak.
Stephanie Ricketts (23-3, 8-1 WAC) suffered her first WAC loss of the season and for the first time this season she did not finish a game she started. Her streak of 25-straight complete games was snapped as Parnaby came in to throw the final two innings. Ricketts threw 4.0 innings, giving up four runs with two walks and a strike out, while Parnaby closed the game with a walk in two scoreless innings pitched.
The Wolf Pack took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Parsons led the inning off with a double to the right-centerfield gap and Fincher followed with a single down the leftfield line to score Parsons.
Nevada extended their lead to 4-0 in the fourth. Parsons led the inning off with a walk and moved to third on a single to right by Fincher. Puzey then reached first on an error on the first baseman that allowed Parsons to score from third and move Fincher to third. Emily Seidel then walked to load the bases with no outs. Fincher then scored on a passed ball that left both runners in scoring position. After a foul out for the first out, Caylin Campbell hit a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Wiley for Nevada's third run of the inning.
Mallary Darby (8-14, 2-3 WAC) earned the complete-game shut out spacing six hits with no walks and seven strike outs.
The loss drops UH into second place a half-game behind WAC-leader Fresno State who swept New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M this week. It sets up a pivotal three-game series this coming week in Honolulu as the Bulldogs come to town with the title potentially on the line. The series opens with a single game on Friday, April 27 at 6:00 p.m. with Senior Night following Saturday's doubleheader that begins at 2:00 p.m. on April 28 at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. It will be the final home games for seniors Alex Aguirre, Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu, Shannon Lum, Dara Pagaduan, Rachel Paragas, and Stephanie Ricketts.