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UH softball team wins Spring Fling title on walk-off home run

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:57 a.m. HST, Mar 17, 2013

Sharla Kliebenstein's home run in the bottom of the 12th inning gave the University of Hawaii softball team a 3-2 win over Syracuse in Saturday's championship game of the Chevron Spring Fling Tournament.

Kliebenstein's shot to lead off the 12th ended No. 20/23 UH's longest game of the season and gave senior pitcher Kaia Parnaby a record-breaking win in relief.

Parnaby set a new school record with 17 strikeouts over eight innings after entering the game in the fifth in relief of freshman Loie Kesterson.

Kesterson allowed one run on six hits through four innings before UH head coach Bob Coolen sent Parnaby into the game. Parnaby gave up a run in the fifth as Syracuse took a 2-0 lead, which was erased by Kelly Majam's two-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

Parnaby and Syracuse sophomore Lindsay Taylor preserved the tie into the 12th inning before Kliebenstein ended the game, and UH's three-week homestand, with her fourth home run of the season.

The tournament final was Syracuse's third game of the day. The Orange defeated Utah in today's first game and upset No. 4/5 California 8-1 to earn a spot in the championship.

UH (22-7) then advanced to the title game with a 5-1 win over No. 15/19 Baylor.

Parnaby gave up four hits, struck out eight and walked none in the complete-game win.

Baylor freshman Heather Stearns, who entered the game with a 0.87 earned run average, took the loss. She allowed five hits and struck out seven.

Parnaby and Stearns were in command early, allowing three hits between them through four innings.

UH, the visiting team as the lower seed in the bracket, broke through in the top of the fifth inning. Brynne Buchanan walked with two out and Majam followed with a home run to center field give UH a 2-0 lead.

The Wahine added three more runs in the sixth. After Jessica Iwata doubled to left center and Leisha Li'ili'i walked, Kliebenstein pushed a bunt back to  Stearns. The throw to first sailed high allowing Iwata to score. Jazmine Zamora then singled to left to score pinch-runner Dori Ann Sugai. UH loaded the bases and Majam drew a walk to extend the lead to 5-0.

Baylor got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Sarah Smith's RBI single with two out. Parnaby retired the Bears in order in the seventh and UH picked up its third win over a ranked opponent this season.

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Wahine win tourney with 12th-inning blast

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