Kristina Akiona’s home run in the bottom of the sixth inning powered the University of Hawaii softball team to a 2-0 season-opening win over Hampton tonight at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
Akiona’s two-run blast to left center with one out in the sixth helped freshman pitcher Heather Morales earn a complete-game victory in her collegiate debut in the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic.
Morales held Hampton to three hits, walked four and struck out three in the win. Hampton’s Jailynn Jackson held UH without a hit for 4 2/3 innings and finished with five walks and five strikeouts.
The tournament continues Friday with UH scheduled to face Delaware at 6 p.m. and UCLA at 8.
UCLA routed Delaware 10-0 in today’s first game.
Both Morales and Jackson were in control early and Hawaii left runners on second and third in the fourth inning and put two runners in scoring position again in the fifth when Kayla Wartner reached on a fielder’s choice and Jazmine Zamora singled to center for UH’s first hit of the season. Jackson then got Keiki Carlos to ground out to third to keep the game scoreless going into the sixth.
In the bottom of the inning, Morales drew a walk with one out and Jori Jasper replaced her as a pinch runner. Akiona, a sophomore shortstop, worked the count full before launching the seventh pitch of the at-bat into the tennis courts beyond center field for her second career home run.
Morales put the tying runs on base with back-to-back walks with one out in the top of the seventh, drawing a quick visit from UH head coach Bob Coolen.
Morales struck out McKalee Rouse but speedy Diamond Pond reached on an error to load the bases. Morales then got Margaret Wilkins to ground out to Akiona at shortstop to end the game.