UH softball team splits doubleheader; ends losing streak

The University of Hawaii softball team (20-23, 5-9 Big West) split Saturday's doubleheader at UC Santa Barbara in a pair of wild extra-inning games. The Gauchos came back to win the opener, 9-8 in eight innings, but Hawaii prevailed in the second game, 9-8 in nine innings at Campus Diamond.

Santa Barbara 9, Hawaii 8 (8 innings)

Hawaii opened the series with a 9-8 loss in an eight-inning slugfest to the Gauchos. The two teams combined for 24 hits with UH getting 10 of those hits-including doubles by Jazmine Zamora and Kayla Wartner and home runs by Keiki Carlos and Lindsey Willmon-but it was not enough as UC Santa Barbara got a two-run,  walk-off home run from MeShalon Moore to end the game.

The 'Bows scored one run in the top of the first to start the game. Wartner started things with a one-out single up the middle. She moved to second on a walk to Carlos and advanced to third on a fielder's choice to second. On the play an error on the catcher allowed Wartner to score to give UH a 1-0 lead.

The Gauchos responded in the bottom of the second with four runs of their own. With one out, UCSB got back-to-back doubles by DeJanee Moore and Lauren Boser to start their rally. An RBI single by Emily Brucelas drove in the first run and Stacey Cavazos got beaned to then load the bases. The Gauchos then got an RBI single from Kristen Clark, an RBI-walk to Arianna Palomares, and another RBI single by Shelby Wisdom for the 4-1 lead.

Hawai'i however knotted the score at 4-4 on a three-run blast to leftfield in the top of the third by Carlos. For Carlos, it was her seventh home run of the season and 14th of her career.

The Rainbow Wahine then took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Leisha Li''ili'I that drove in Zamora who had singles earlier in the inning.

UCSB got the run back in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 5-5, with Kathryn Pilpil scoring an unearned run of an error on the second baseman.

Hawai'i would battle back to post two runs in the top of the sixth on a 2-RBI double by Wartner to drive in Kristina Akiona and Zamora to take a 7-5 lead.

But the Gauchos would force extra innings when Brucelas hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

UCSB would then get the walk-off, two-run  home run by Moore to end the game.

Kesterson fell to 10-12 on the season, throwing 7.1 innings. She gave up nine runs on 14 hits with three walks and four strike outs.

Wisdom earned the win, raising her record to 17-12 on the season. She threw 8.0 innings, allowing eight runs on 10 hits with three walks and three strike outs.

The loss was Hawai'i's eighth-straight, the most since UH were defeated in eight-straight games in 1993.

Hawai'i 9, UC Santa Barbara 8 (9 innings)

Hawai'i jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Heather Morales started things with a single to left. Pinch runner Ulu Matagiese then went to second on a wild pitch. After a swinging strike out, Sarina Jaramillo and Willmon hit back-to-back doubles to the right-centerfield gap-both driving in a run. Akiona then drove in the third run of the inning with a single up the middle on which Willmon came home.

UCSB got a run back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Stacey Cavazos to score D. Moore from third.

The Rainbow Wahine countered with a run of their own in the top of the third. Jaramillo picked up her second RBI of the game with a single through the leftside of the infield to drive in pinch-runner Dori Ann Sugai.

The Gauchos answered with a run in the bottom of the third. M. Moore drilled a two-out triple to the right-centerfield gap and Pilpil drove her in with an infield single to make the score, 4-2.

Hawai'i extended their lead to 6-2 in the top of the fourth. Zamora began the rally with a single to center and moved to second when Wartner drew a walk. Carlos then hit a grounder to first, but the first baseman tried to erase the runner at second and the throw was wild which allowed Zamora to score. After a pop-up to short, Morales drove in Wartner with an opposite-field double to right.

UH then extended their lead to 8-2 in the top of the seventh when Li''ili'i launched a two-run blast over the right-field fence.

But the six-run lead was not enough as the Gauchos rallied to score six runs in the bottom of the sixth to force another extra inning game. Cavazos led the inning off with a bunt single to third. A sacrifice bunt by Kristen Clark moved Cavazos to second. Palomare then drove in Cavazos with an RIB single up the middle. UCSB then got to singles to load the bases. A walk to Pilpil forced Palomares across the plate and then D. Moore then hit an infield single to short to drive in pinch runner Jaqueline Hinojosa and a sacrifice fly to center by Lauren Boser scored Moore. Then, with two outs, Brucelas came through with her third hit of the game, a single that drove in both Pilpil and Moore to knot the game at 8-8.

Both UH and UCSB did not score in the eighth. But in the top of the ninth, with two outs, LI''ili'i came through in the clutch with a solo home run to give the 'Bows a 9-8 lead. It was her team-leading 14th home run of the season and the 37th of the junior's career. She is now alone at No. 5 in the UH career record book moving past Amanda Tauali'i's 35 career homers. The 14 roundtrippers for LI'ili'i is also a career-high after hitting 10 as a freshman and 13 as a sophomore.

Pilpil led UCSB's bottom of the ninth with a walk, but Morales then settled down to get her first two strike outs of the game-one swinging and one looking. The game ended on a groundout to first.

Morales fired a career-high nine innings in the complete-game win. She gave up eight runs on 15 hits with four walks and two strike outs and improve her record to 10-8 overall and 3-2 in conference.

Wisdom suffered the loss, dropping her record to 17-13 in six innings of work. She gave up seven runs on 12 hits with two walks and four strike outs. Andriana Collins threw three innings, giving up two runs on four hits but did not figure in the decision.

The two teams will square off in the series finale on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 12:00 p.m.