HONOLULU—The University of Hawaii softball team evened its record at 6-6 as it defeated Montana, 9-3 in the final game of the 2017 Bank of Hawaii Invitational. Starting pitcher Brittany Hitchcock bounced back to earn the complete game win while UH's young guns provided the offense, highlighted by Angelique Ramos'' first inning grand slam. Three freshmen accounted for eight of the team's nine RBI and the ninth run was driven in by a sophomore. As a team, Hawaii scored a season-high nine runs and matched their season high of 12 hits in the win.
With the win, head coach Bob Coolen is now just one win away from reaching the 1,000 career win milestone. He currently has a 999-647-1 career record in 31 years as a head coach. In 26 years, Coolen has a 927-549-1 record as the head coach of the Rainbow Wahine.
Hitchcock gave up three runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts to earn the win. She evened her record at 4-4 on the season.
The Grizzlies (5-9) scored first with Delene Colburn hitting a two-run home run with two outs in the first inning.
Hawaii answered right back in the bottom of the first. Danielle Garcielita and Sarah Muzik led the home half of the first inning with back -to-back singles up the middle. After two flyouts, Callee Heen drew a walk. Freshman shortstop Ramos then came to the plate and drilled a grand slam over the centerfield fence. It was Ramos' second home run as a Rainbow Wahine and it was UH's first grand slam since last season when Rachel Lack hit one against CSUN on April 8, 2016.
The Rainbow Wahine notched another run in the second inning to increase its lead over the Grizzlies to 5-1. Heather Cameron led off with a single through the rightside of the infield. Bree Soma then dropped a nice bunt single in front of the catcher to put the first two runners on board. A sacrifice bunt by Garcielita moved both runners into scoring position for sophomore second baseman Muzik, who hit a groundout to short to drive in Cameron from third.
Hawaii loaded the bases again in the third inning and came away with one run on an RBI single by freshman leftfielder, Soma who drove in Heen who had reached on a double earlier in the frame.
Freshman designated player, Heen, then lifted her team-leading third home run just over the right field fence. It was a two-run homer to bring her team-leading RBI total to 10.
Montana added a Sydney Stites solo home run in the sixth inning to cut their deficit to 8-3. But Hawaii got the run back with Ramos picking up her fifth RBI of the game with a single that drove in Morales from second.
Montana's Haley Young took the loss dropping her record to 1-1. She gave up six runs on six hits with a walk and a strikeout in two innings. Colleen Driscoll threw the next three innings allowing two runs on five hits and Sara Stephenson tossed the final frame. She gave up one run on one hit with a walk.
For the tournament, Heen led UH with a .417 batting average (5-for-12). She scored a team-high six runs. Combined, she hit for the cycle with a single, a double, a triple and two home runs for a jaw-dropping slugging percentage of 1.167. She also was walked twice and beaned twice for an on-base percentage of .563.
Hawaii has a few days off before beginning their most grueling part of their schedule in which they will play 19 games in 16 days, beginning with Seattle on March 3 to start the Coca-Cola Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament (March 3-5). Charleston Southern, Toledo and Seattle will all be competing in the four-team tourney.