HONOLULU-The University of Hawai'i softball team (19-15, 0-1 Big West) fell to UC Riverside, 2-1 to open the Big West season. It was a pitcher's duel between UH's Kanani Aina Cabrales and UCR's Chelsea Ponce with both teams capitalizing on defensive miscues to score their runs. Aina Cabrales suffered the loss, dropping her record to 9-10 on the season. The Highlanders improved to 29-7 overall and 1-0 in conference with Ponce moving to 21-3 overall.
Aina Cabrales fired a complete game, giving up two unearned runs on three hits. She faced 27 batters in the game and had three walks.
The 'Bows got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third inning. Keiki Carlos reached first on a throwing error on the shortstop which bounced out of the field of play to allow Carlos to advance to second. She moved to third on a ground out to short and then scored on a grounder to second by Heather Morales to take an early 1-0 lead.
UC Riverside tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning. After getting the first two outs on a pair of groundouts, Taylor Wright drew her second walk of the game. She moved to second on a passed ball then scored on a single by pinch-hitter Natalie Sanchez who entered the at-bat with a ball already on the board. The 'Bows got out of the inning as Kayla Wartner gunned out Stephanie Tickmyer on a steal attempt at second.
In the top of the seventh inning, Rebecca Faulkner led off with a single up the middle. Kris DeAnda then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but on the play a throwing error on the third baseman allowed Falkner to hustle to third leaving runners at the corners. Wright then lifted a sacrifice fly to left to drive pinch runner Samantha Hernandez from third to take a 2-1 lead with half an inning to play.
Hawai'i had runners on in every inning but were unable to push any across the plate except for the lone run scored by Carlos. UH left a total of 10 runners on base for the game-including leaving the bases full of 'Bows with two outs in the sixth inning.
Ponce gave up one unearned run in the win. She spaced five hits in seven innings with five walks and four strike outs.
The win by the Highlanders snapped UH's 12-game win streak against UCR. It was UC Riverside's first win against UH since they defeated the 'Bows 4-3 on Feb. 20, 2003.
The two teams will conclude their three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 28 with the first pitch slated for 4:00 p.m.