The University of Hawaii softball team rallied from a four-run deficit to beat UC Riverside 8-7 in the first game of Saturday’s Big West doubleheader in Riverside, Calif. The Rainbow Wahine then completed a series sweep with a 4-1 win in the finale at UCR’s Amy S. Harrison Softball Field.
Leisha Li’ili’i delivered tiebreaking hits in both games as UH improved to 18-14 overall and 3-0 in the conference.
Li’ili’i’s double with two out in the top of the seventh drove in Jazmine Zamora with the go-ahead run in Saturday’s first game and Heather Morales closed out a complete-game victory.
In the second game, Li’ili’i and Kayla Wartner led off the top of the sixth with back-to-back home runs in support of Loie Kesterson and UH went 5-0 on its California road trip.
UH jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first of Saturday’s opener, two runs scoring on Sharla Kliebenstein’s single. But UCR came back with two runs in the first and five in the second aided by five UH errors.
UH’s Lindsey Willmon drove in a run with a single in the fourth and the Wahine closed to 7-6 when Kliebenstein hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth.
Keiki Carlos led off the sixth with a single, went to third on Li’ili’i’s single and scored on an illegal pitch to tie the game.
The Wahine loaded the bases with one out, but a called third strike and a flyout preserved the tie for UCR.
Zamora singled with one out in the top of the seventh and advanced on another illegal pitch. With two out, Li’ili’i worked the count full and doubled to left center to score Zamora from second and give UH the lead.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh, Morales hit UCR leadoff batter Dionne Anderson, the Big West leader in stolen bases. Anderson promptly stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. But Morales got Karina Romero to fly out to right to end the game.
Morales (8-6) gave up eight hits, walked six and struck out three and was charged with just one earned run.
UH trailed 1-0 through three innings in the series finale and tied the game on Zamora’s RBI single with two out in the fifth.
The Wahine claimed the lead when Li’ili’i and Kayla Wartner led off the sixth with back-to-back home runs. Kliebenstein later walked, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball to give UH a 4-1 cushion.
Kesterson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and UCR put two runners on with one out in the seventh. But a line-out to third started a game-ending double play.
Kesterson allowed six hits, struck out two and walked one.