HONOLULU-The University of Hawai'i softball team (18-13, 0-0 Big West) edged out Columbia, 4-3 on a walk-off walk in the bottom of the eighth inning to win the final game of the Hawai'i Pacific Health Rainbow Wahine Classic on Sunday. Brittany Hitchcock earned the complete game win to improve to 9-5 on the season.
Hitchcock fired a career-high eight innings, giving up three runs on four hits with a walk and three strike outs.
Hawai'i scored a run in the second and third inning. Heather Morales led the inning off with a hard hit single to third and was followed by Leisha Li'ili'i who drove an opposite-field single through the leftside of the infield to put runners at first and third. Ulu Matagiese then hit into an unsuccessful fielder's choice to third to load the bases with no outs. After a strike out, Kristina Akiona drove in pinch runner Sarah McAndrew with a sacrifice fly to right for the early 1-0 lead.
UH added another run in the third inning on an RBI single by Li'ili'i which drove in Sarina Jaramillo from second to give UH a 2-0 lead.
However, in the top of the fourth, Columbia posted three runs to take the lead on an RBI single by Kerry Cook and a two-run hit to the right-centerfield gap by Taylor Troutt.
Hawai'i loaded the bases again in the fifth inning on two outs. Jaramillo led off the two-out rally with a double over the leftfielder. Morales then picked up her third hit of the day with a single up the middle. Columbia then walked Li'ili'i to load the bases. The Lions escaped though with a fly out to left to end the game.
After being retired in order in the sixth, UH was able to tie the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning. Carlos led off with a walk and hustled to third on a single to rightfield. The throw into home from right bounced off the catcher and ricocheted to the third baseline backstop which allowed Carlos to sprint home to tie the game.
With international tie-breaking rules in place, Columbia started with their leadoff batter on second base. Kayla Shimode then laid down a sacrifice bunt to push Cook to third. But UH was able to get a ground out to second and a fly out to right to end the rally.
In the home half of the inning, Li'ili'i started on second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rachel Lack. Lindsey Willmon was then plunked and Akiona hit a grounder to third. But on the play, the third baseman looked the runner back to third which allowed Akiona to sprint safely to first to load the bases. Tayana Mata then drove in the winning run on a five-pitch walk to end the game with UH winning, 4-3.
After winning eight of nine games over the previous two weeks, UH started their sixth and final tournament 0-4 before snapping with skid with today's win over the Lions.
Hawai'i has one day off before facing Columbia in a double-header on Tuesday, March 17 at 6:00 pm. UH will then have 10 days before opening their Big West season at home against UC Riverside on Friday, March 27.