FULLERTON, Calif.—The University of Hawai'i softball team (25-18, 4-8 Big West) was snake-bitten on Saturday afternoon falling twice on walk-off wins to Cal State Fullerton (26-19, 9-3 Big West). In the first game of the doubleheader, the Titans scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to edge out the 'Bows, 4-3. Then in the series finale, CSF strung together four-straight hits in the seventh to defeat Hawai'i 1-0 to complete the series sweep at the Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.
Cal State Fullerton 4, Hawai'i 3
Hawai'i looked to have something brewing in the top of the first with Danielle Garcielita leading the game off with a walk and later Nicole Lopez recorded her team-leading 10th double of the season to put both runners into scoring position. But the Titans got a strikeout and a flyout to centerfield to thwart the UH rally.
The Rainbow Wahine took their first lead of the series when Nicole Lopez led off the fourth inning by launching her team-leading 12th home run of the year over the leftfield fence. Heather Morales almost gave the 'Bows a 2-0 lead, but Titans' leftfielder Samantha Vandiver made a home run-saving snag at the fence.
Cal State Fullerton answered right back in the bottom of the fourth getting back-to-back solo home runs by Ariana Williams and Alexis Gonzalez with one out in the bottom of the fourth to leap-frog the 'Bows for a 2-1 lead. The inning continued with Shianne Brannan getting hit by a pitch which ended UH starting pitcher Kanani Aina Cabrales' outing. Dana Thomsen came into the game in relief of Aina Cabrales and gave up one hit in the fourth but got the two outs to get out of the frame.
Heather Cameron led off the fifth inning with a single through leftside of the infield and scooted to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jordian Hicks. Sarah Muzik followed with an RBI single up the middle to drive in Cameron from second to tie the game at 2-2.
In the top of the seventh, Hawai'i broke the tie and took a 3-2 lead. Garcielta and Muzik both reached on one out infield singles. Morales then came to the plate and hit a chopper up the middle for a base hit allowing Muzik to score from second. Hawai'i went on to load the bases as Callee Heen was plunked for the second time in the game. But the Titans then inserted pitcher Kelsey Kessler who got a strikeout to end the rally.
In the bottom of the seventh however, the Titans put two runners on with one out. Vandiver then hit a ground out to third to push both runners into scoring position for Williams who hit a full-count double to rightfield to drive in both runs for the win, 4-3. On the play, UH rightfielder Ulu Matagiese on a full sprint looked like she made the catch, but upon hitting the wall in right, the ball popped out to give the Titans the game and the series.
UH's Thomsen suffered the loss in relief. She gave up two runs on six hits with a strikeout in 3.1 innings pitched. Thomsen fell to 7-6 overall. Starter Aina Cabrales also threw 3.1 innings, allowing two runs with a strikeout with no decision.
The Titans' Kessler got the win after facing just one batter in the top of the seventh. She got a strikeout to end the frame before CSF got the 2 runs in the bottom of the seventh. She improved to 14-6 overall. Starter Cerissa Rivers threw the first four innings, allowing one run on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Sydney Golden threw the next 2.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
Cal State Fullerton 1, Hawai'i 0
The series finale was a pitchers' duel between UH's Brittany Hitchcock and Fullerton's Kessler. It was the Titans coming through with four-straight clutch hits in the last inning to notch their second-straight walk-off win of the day.
Hitchcock fired a complete game in the loss, allowing the one run on eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks. She fell to 16-9 overall and 4-3 in conference.
Kessler earned her third win of the series tossing a complete game as well. It was her sixth shutout of the season and second of the series after winning Friday's opener, 5-0. Kessler improved to 15-6 overall. She spaced five hits with two walks and six strikeouts
In the top of the seventh, UH's Jennifer Iseri led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Heather Cameron. After a flyout to center, the hot-hitting Garcielita was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second with two outs. Muzik then ripped a single up the middle, but on the play, Iseri rounded third and tried to score but was gunned out at the plate on a good throw from the centerfielder to the catcher to preserve the scoreless game.
The Titans then rallied for the win. The bottom of the seventh started with a groundout to short. But then Shianne Brannan, Zoe Richard and Kylie Padilla all got singles to load the bases for pinch hitter Mikaela Francis who promptly came through with a hit up the middle to drive in Brannan for the winning run.
The Rainbow Wahine will return to host their third Big West Conference series of the year. UH will take on UC Santa Barbara in a single game on Friday night at 6:00 pm followed by a Saturday doubleheader with the first pitch slated for 2:00 p.m. Saturday is Military Appreciation Day at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium and the Navy Band will be on hand to play the National Anthem with the color guard. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Lieutenant Colonel Kate M. H. Conkey of the U.S. Army. The Rainbow Wahine will be wearing special Under Armour military fatigue jerseys with patches representing Hawai'i units across all branches of the military.
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