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UH softball team sweeps UC Santa Barbara on senior day

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:20 a.m. HST, May 5, 2013

The University of Hawaii softball team hit nine home runs in a senior day sweep of  UC Santa Barbara in Saturday's Big West doubleheader.

The Rainbow Wahine launched five homers in an 11-9 victory in the first game and hammered four more in an 8-0 win in their final home game of the season.

UH senior Jessica Iwata homered in both games, ending the day with a blast to center field in her final at-bat at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

UH pitcher Kaia Parnaby gave up nine runs on 15 hits and finished with two strikeouts while earning a complete-game win in the opener. She improved to 35-5 and tied the Big West single-season wins record.

Freshman Loie Kesteron held UCSB to four hits and earned a complete-game win in the finale.

The Rainbow Wahine improved to 40-11 overall and 17-4 in Big West play to remain atop the conference standings. They close the regular season with a series at Pacific next week.

UCSB pulled out a 4-1 in nine innings in Friday's series opener and the Wahine and Gauchos (29-23, 10-11) combined for 12 runs and four homers in the first three innings of Saturday's first game.

Keilani Jennings delivered the first blow for UCSB with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and the Gauchos took a 3-0 lead.

UH answered in the second with Sharla Kliebenstein tying the game with a three-run homer and Kelly Majam giving the Wahine a 4-3 lead with a solo homer to center.

The Gauchos rallied for three runs in the third, two scoring after Jennings got caught in a rundown between third and home. As she ran back toward third, Jennings dodged an attempted tag by Parnaby and the throw to the plate hit her in the back. Kathryn Pilpil followed Jennings to the plate as UH chased down the loose ball and slid under the tag to give the Gauchos a 6-4 lead.

The lead lasted only moments as Leisha Li'ili'i led off the third with a looping single and Jazmine Zamora, who went 4-for-4, lined the next pitch out to left-center for a tying home run.

Kayla Wartner gave UH a 7-6 lead with a home run to center field on the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth inning.

Majam and Wartner combined to drive in three runs with back-to-back doubles with two out in the fifth that stretched the lead to 10-6.

UCSB closed to within a run in the sixth when Jennings hit her second homer of the game, a three-run shot to right-center. But Parnaby held the Gauchos down in the seventh to close out the win.

UH's power surge extended into the second game. Kliebenstein launched a three-run homer in the second inning and Wartner led off the third with a shot into the UH tennis courts beyond center field. Zamora's three-run homer later in the inning gave the Wahine a 7-0 lead.

Iwata brought the eight-run rule into effect with her homer with two out in the fifth.

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