HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai'i softball team opens its 2017 season hosting the Paradise Classic at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium from Thursday, February 9-Saturday, February 11. Coming to Honolulu to kick off their seasons are Boise State, Oregon State, Sacramento State and UAB (Alabama Birmingham).
The Rainbow Wahine return 13 letterwinners and welcome in 10 newcomers to the 2017 squad. The 'Bows look to improve upon their 24-30 overall record and 8-13 mark in the Big West.
Head coach Bob Coolen is entering his 28th overall season at the University of Hawai'i and his 26th season as the head coach of the Rainbow Wahine program. He is UH's all-time winningest softball coach in the 32-year history of the program with a 921-548-1 record. He enters the 2017 season just seven wins away from reaching the 1,000 career-win milestone with a 993-641-1 career record.
Leading the charge for the Rainbow Wahine are 2016 Big West Freshman of the Year Nicole Lopez and BWC all-Freshman utility player Sarah Muzik. Lopez, who started all 54 games at third base, led Hawai'i with a .287 batting average and was tied with Muzik with a team-high 50 hits. Lopez was tied for the team lead with 23 RBI and was second with five home runs. Muzik scored a team-high 29 runs with three doubles, two triples and a team-high five stolen bases.
Hawai'i is carrying the largest pitching staff since head coach Bob Coolen took over the reins of the program in 1992 with six pitchers in the mix. UH returns its two starting pitchers from last season, two-time all-BWC second teamer Brittany Hitchcock and senior Kanani Aina Cabrales. Hitchcock recorded a 13-15 overall record and a 7-7 mark in conference. Overall, she posted a 2.18 ERA in 177.0 innings pitched with 19 complete games and four shutouts. She finished the season ranked No. 1 in the NCAA with fewest walks per seven innings (0.59) with just 15 walks to 103 strikeouts. Aina Cabrales appeared in 28 games last year with an 8-11 overall record. She tallied a 3.45 ERA in 134.0 innings pitched with 38 walks to 77 strikeouts. Junior transfer Dana Thomson will also see time in the starting rotation with Jennifer Iseri, Naomi Monahan and Heather Morales all ready to come in depending on the situation.
Paradise Classic Information
Who: Hawai'i (0-0, 0-0 Big West), Boise State (0-0, 0-0 Mountain West), Oregon State (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12), Sacramento State (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky), UAB Blazers (0-0, 0-0 Conference USA)
When: February 9-11, 2017
Where: Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium (1,200) – Honolulu, HI
Live stats: Available at HawaiiAthletics.com
PARADISE CLASSIC SCHEDULE
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017
12:00 pm Oregon State vs. UAB
2:30 pm Oregon St. vs. Sacramento St.
5:00 pm Hawai'i vs. Sacramento St.
7:00 pm Hawai'i vs. Boise St.
Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
12:00 pm Sacramento St. vs. UAB
2:30 pm Boise St. vs. UAB
5:00 pm Boise St. vs. Sacramento St.
7:00 pm Hawai'i vs. Oregon St.
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017
9:00 am Oregon St. vs. Sacramento St.
11:00 am Oregon St. UAB
1:00 pm Boise St. vs. Sacramento St.
3:00 pm Hawai'i vs Boise St.
5:00 pm Hawai'i vs. UAB