Hawaii, known for home run hitting, showed it could win with power pitching and finesse on offense Friday night as UH edged Texas State 1-0 in eight innings at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
Stephanie Ricketts allowed just one hit and struck out 12, and the Rainbow Wahine manufactured a run in the bottom of the eighth to run its record to 3-0.
Ninth-place hitter Kaile Nakao lofted a flyball to left field, and Jasey Jensen tagged up from third and beat the throw home for the win. Per extra-inning rules, Jensen started the inning on second. She advanced to third on Jazmine Zamora’s sacrifice bunt, with Zamora safe on an error and setting the stage for Nakao.
With two wins Friday, the Wahine improved to 3-0 in the season-opening Oceanic Time Warner Paradise Classic and earned the top seed in Saturday’s bracket play. Hawaii plays Southern Utah at noon, following Texas State and UC Davis at 10 a.m. The winners and losers then play each other in the final games of the tournament.
A five-run third inning powered Hawaii to a 9-1 win over UC Davis in an earlier game.
UH sophomore Kaia Parnaby struck out seven to earn the win for the Rainbow Wahine. The game was called in the bottom of the sixth inning due to the eight-run mercy rule.
UH took the lead with a single run in the bottom of the first. The Wahine loaded the bases with one out and Jessica Iwata scored on Alex Aguirre’s fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop.
Parnaby escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third and the Wahine extended their lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the inning sparked by three newcomers.
After senior Jenna Rodriguez singled home Iwata, freshman Sharla Kliebenstein hit a shot down the third-base line for a two-run double. Jensen, a senior transfer from Utah, then tripled off the right-field fence to give UH a 5-0 lead. One out later, freshman Nakao added an RBI double into the left-center gap.
UC Davis broke through with an unearned run in the top of the sixth when Desiree Chavez scored on a throwing error by Iwata.
The Aggies committed three errors in the bottom of the inning and Aguirre scored UH’s seventh run when Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu’s grounder got through UH Davis third baseman Chandler Wagner. Kelly Majam drew a bases-loaded walk and Iwata ended the game with an RBI single into left field.