Rainbow Wahine softball team gets road win at UC-Riverside
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The University of Hawai'i softball team (16-14, 1-0 Big West) opened their Big West Conference season with a 7-4 win at UC Riverside (19-15, 0-1 Big West). UH pitcher Loie Kesterson earned the complete-game win while Jazmine Zamora and Kayla Wartner both launched solo home runs to lead the 'Bows to the victory.
Zamora started things off with a solo home run with one out in the top of the first inning. It was the senior second baseman's second round-tripper of the season and eighth of her career. UCR's starting pitcher Alyssa Razo then walked Keiki Carlos, Leisha Li'ili'i, and Kayla Wartner in a row to load the bases. Sharla Kliebenstein then drew the fourth straight walk to force Carlos across the plate. Sarina Jaramillo then drove in Li'ili'i with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give UH a 3-0 lead after their first at bat.
The Highlanders got one run back in the bottom of the second on an RBI double by Taylor Wright to drive in Dionne Atkinson who had singled earlier in the frame.
The Rainbow Wahine extended their lead to 5-1 with two more runs in the top of the fourth. Kliebenstein led the inning off with a double to the left-centerfield gap. Jaramillo then reached on a fielder's choice to short, but on the play, a throwing error on the shortstop allowed Kliebenstein to reach third safely, leaving runners at the corners for the 'Bows. Ulu Matagiese then drove in Kliebenstein with an RBI single to left. After a strike out, Lindsey Willmon drove in Jaramillo with an opposite-field sacrifice fly to right to give UH a four run lead.
Hawai'i' s Kayla Wartner then hit a two-out, solo home run in the top of the fifth to give UH a 6-1 lead Wartner's blast sailed over the right-centerfield fence. It was her third homer of the season and her 20th of the junior's career.
UC Riverside scored a run in the bottom of the fifth with two outs. Karina Romero drove in Wright from third with an RBI-single to cut their deficit to 6-2. The Highlanders then added another run when Marissa Ercolano launched a solo homer to left in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 6-3.
Hawai'i got one run back in the top of the seventh to go up 7-3. Zamora and Carlos led the inning off with back-to-back singles and Li`ili`i then drove in Zamora with the third straight single of the inning.
Kesterson (9-5, 1-0 BWC) gave up three runs on eight hits with a walk and two strike outs in her second-straight complete game win.
Razo allowed seven runs on eight hits with four walks and seven strike outs in the loss (10-8, 0-1 BWC).
The Rainbow Wahine and the Highlanders will square off in the series-ending doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. (PT).