The University of Hawaii softball team closed the Easton Desert Classic by splitting a doubleheader on Sunday in Las Vegas. The Rainbow Wahine fell to Nevada 11-2 then bounced back with an 11-7 win over Utah.
The Rainbow Wahine return home at 7-4 overall after going 4-2 during their stay in Las Vegas.
In Sunday’s first game, Nevada took command with a nine-run second inning off of UH starter Heather Morales. UH scored on solo home runs by Kristina Akiona and Keiki Carlos, but the Wolf Pack added two more runs in the fifth to bring the eight-run rule into effect.
UH fell behind again in the second game when Utah scored three runs in the bottom off the second. But the Wahine answered with four in the third, highlighted by Alyssa Villalpando’s three-run homer, and Utah tied the game in the bottom of the inning.
Sharla Kliebenstein’s RBI double in the fifth inning broke the tie and UH pulled away with six runs in the top of the seventh. Lindsey Willmon’s three-run shot was her second home run of the game and Kayla Wartner followed with her first homer of the season.
Utah posted a three-run homer by Marissa Mendenhall in the bottom of the seventh, but sophomore Loie Kesterson closed out a complete-game performance to earn her third win of the tournament. Kesterson (3-2) gave up seven runs on six hits, struck out three and walked two.
UH hosts the Bank of Hawaii Invitational starting Thursday. The four-day tournament also features North Carolina, San Jose State and St. Mary’s.