HONOLULU—The University of Hawai'i softball team (22-10, 1-0 Big West) opened their Big West Conference season with a 9-1 six inning, mercy-rule win over UC Davis (15-18, 0-1 BWC) on Friday night at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Hawai'i was propelled by clutch hitting throughout the game, scoring all nine runs with two outs and scored in every inning but the first. The win was UH's seventh-straight, and it snapped UC Davis' seven game win streak. Hawai'i has now won 10 of its last 11 games.
UH's starting pitcher Brittany Hitchcock earned the complete game win to improve to 13-6 overall and 1-0 in conference with her 16th complete game of the season. She allowed just one unearned run in the first inning and scattered five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in the game.
The Aggies took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With runners at first and third, Caroline Figueroa hit a grounder to short but the throw to first sailed over the first baseman allowing the runner at third, Christa Castello to score.
UC Davis threatened to break the game open in the second when they loaded the bases with one out. But the 'Bows got a fielder's choice groundout to second baseman Sarah Muzik who fired home to get the lead runner for the second out. UCD then hit a one-hopper to third baseman Nicole Lopez who gunned out the batter running to first to thwart the Aggie rally.
Hawai'i's Angelique Ramos led off the bottom of the second with a looping hit to centerfield. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chardonnay Pantastico. UH then got back-to-back doubles by Jordan Hicks and Danielle Garcielita, first to left-centerfield and then down the third base line to tally two more runs to take a 2-1 lead over UC Davis.
The Rainbow Wahine extended its lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the third on a Heather Cameron grand slam. Heather Morales started the rally with a sharp single up the middle. Callee Heen was then plunked and Ramos hit a single to center to load the bases. After a flyout to center, Cameron launched her third career home run to clear the bases to give UH the five run lead.
Hawai'i added another run in the bottom of the fourth. Garcielita led off the frame by legging out an infield hit to short. She moved to second on a comebacker to the pitcher hit by Muzik. After a flyout to right, Morales drilled an opposite-field double off the right-centerfield fence to score Garcielita for a 7-1 lead.
The 'Bows' lead increased to 8-1 as Hicks picked up an RBI driving in Cameron who had reached on a two-out double in the fifth.
Lopez then ended the game with a solo home run to left for the eight-run mercy-rule win, 9-1. It was Lopez's team-leading eighth homer of the season and the 13th of the sophomore's career. It was Hawai'i's second mercy-rule win of the season.
On offense, UC Davis did not go without scoring opportunities, having at least one runner reach second base in every inning. The Aggies ended the game with 10 runners left on base.
Andrea Reynolds threw the first two and two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits. Sara Cadona came in relief and threw the final two-plus innings, allowing two runs on four hits.
The two teams will square off in a series ending doubleheader on Saturday, April 1. First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m.