HONOLULU-The University of Hawai'i softball swept its final two games of the Outrigger Resorts Spring Fling Tournament. UH bounced back to first defeat Utah, 5-1, then hit four home runs en route to an 11-3, six inning win over East Carolina on Sunday afternoon at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Hawai'i improved its record to 16-9 for the season and finished the tournament with a 4-1 record.
Hawai'i 5, Utah 1
Hawai'i rebounded after an 8-1 loss to the Utes the night before to win, 5-1 in the first game of the day. The 'Bows batted around the order and scored all five runs in the third inning. Brittany Hitchcock earned her third win of the tournament to improve her record to 7-3 overall. She gave up one run while scattering six hits with a walk.
Utah struck first, posting one run in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by Bower to score Mendenhall.
But the Rainbow Wahine battled back in the bottom of the third. The 'Bows loaded the bases with no outs and Kayla Wartner drilled a two-run double to the left-centerfield gap to score pinch runner Sarah McAndrew and Rachel Lack . Keiki Carlos followed with a rip up the middle to drive in Tayana Mata. Later, both Willmon and Morales hit RBI-singles to drive in Wartner and Carlos respectively for the 5-1 lead.
After a shake first two innings, the UH defense settled down to retire 14-straight batters between the second and sixth innings.
Miranda Viramontes took the loss for Utah, throwing two-and-a-third innings giving up five runs on five hits with two walks and three strike outs. Katie Donovan came in to throw the final 3.1 innings. She did not allow any runs and gave up just one hit with a walk and five strike outs.
Hawai'i 11, East Carolina 3 (6 innings)
The Pirates jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Casey Alcorn led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout to short. Alcorn then scored on an RBI-single up the middle by Megan Quick.
Hawai'i got on the scoreboard in the third inning to leap-frog the Pirates, 2-1. Tayana Mata led the frame off with a double to the right-centerfield gap. Wartner followed with a blast that sailed into the tennis courts in back of centerfield. It was team-leading seventh roundtripper of the season and the 31st homer of her career.
UH then started to pull away from East Carolina in the fourth. The 'Bows loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth and Keiki Carlos came through in the clutch, drilling a two-run single up the middle to score Lack and Mata. Lindsey Willmon followed with an opposite-field bomb over the rightfield fence. The three-run home run gave UH a 7-1 lead. It marked Willmon's fourth homer of the season and 15th of her career.
Hawai'i kept the pressure on the Pirates in the fifth inning. Sarina Jaramillo led the inning off with a single up the middle. UH then hit back-to-back home runs by Lack and Li'ili'i. Lack's third home run of the season was a two-run homer that drove in Jaramillo who reached earlier on a single. Li'ili'i's home run was a bomb over the rightfield fence. It was her fifth of the season and 43rd of her career. She is now just one home run shy of tying former UH great, Kate Robinson for No. 3 in the UH career home run record book.
In the sixth, Wartner drove in Lack all the way from first on a double drilled down the leftfield line to end the game with the 8-run mercy rule.
Kanani Aina Cabrales earned the win to raise her record to 8-6 overall. She came in relief to throw four innings. She allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and three strike outs. Hitchcock started the game, throwing the first two innings. She gave up one run on three hits with a walk and three strike outs.
Sarah Cristian took the loss for ECU, giving up seven runs on eight hits with a walk and two strike outs. Caroline Umphlett threw two innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and two strike outs.
Hawai'i punched out a season-high 15 hits, bettering its former high of 13 against Utah State in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 13 earlier this season. UH has won seven of their last eight games. For the tournament, Morales led UH hitting .462, going 6-for-13 at the plate with two home runs--including a grand slam--and a team-high nine RBI to earn tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Wartner also made the all-tourney team, hitting an even .400 (4-for-10) with a team-high five runs scored with a double, a home run and six RBI. Hitchcock earned Most Valuable Pitcher honors after posting a perfect 3-0 record with a 0.69 ERA in four appearances and 20.1 innings pitched. She gave up five runs--only two earned--with four walks and 13 strike outs.
Hawai'i will have Monday off before a single game on Tuesday, March 10 at 6:00 pm against East Carolina. Then the 'Bows will start the Hawaii Pacific Heath Rainbow Wahine Classic. St. Bonaventure, Virginia Tech, Western Illinois and Columbia will all be coming to town to battle for the tourney title.