The University of Hawaii softball team scratched out a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to edge UTEP 3-2 on Friday in the Bank of Hawaii Invitational at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The Rainbow Wahine (8-4) trailed 2-1 going into the seventh and tied the game on Lindsey Willmon’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly to center with one out. After a walk loaded the bases again, Keiki Carlos was hit by a pitch to force in Ulu Matagiese with the winning run.
The rally gave Kanani Aina Cabrales the win in relief of starter Brittany Hitchcock. UTEP right-hander Kaitlin Fifield took the loss despite keeping the Wahine off balance for much of the game and limiting UH to four singles.
UTEP leadoff hitter Tahla Wade reached on a two-base throwing error to open the game and scored the game’s first run on Kawehiokalani Netane’s one-out single to left. The Miners loaded the bases and Taylor Sargent’s sacrifice fly to center gave UTEP a 2-0 lead.
UH loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and Heather Morales was hit by a pitch to score Kayla Wartner. But the Miners escaped without further damage and Fifield allowed just one hit over the next four innings to protect UTEP’s 2-1 lead.
Hitchcock got some defensive help to keep the Miners from extending the lead. With a runner on third and two out in the fourth, a sharp grounder ricocheted off of first baseman Leisha Li’ili’i to shortstop Sarina Jaramillo who threw back to Li’ili’i for the third out.
Wade led off the top of the fifth with shot to the right -center gap, but UH second baseman Tayana Mata took the relay from Lindsey Willmon and threw her out at third.
UH erased another UTEP baserunner in the top of the seventh when Hope Moreno singled to left and rounded first. Jaramillo took the throw from left and threw to Wartner who snuck in behind Moreno and tagged her for the out.
Rachel Lack reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the seventh and Sarina Jaramillo followed with a sacrifice bunt. The Miners tried to catch Lack at second but the throw was late and Matagiese was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Mata grounded back to Fifield who threw home for the first out of the inning. Willmon then lifted a liner to center and Kiani Wong beat the throw to the plate to score the tying run. After Wartner drew a four-pitch walk, Carlos was hit on a 1-1 pitch to end the game.
The Wahine next face No. 19 UCF and No. 16 Washington in a doubleheader scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
In the tournament’s opening game, ‘Iolani graduate Kimberlee Souza hit a solo home run to left with two out in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Washington the lead and the Huskies held on for a 4-3 win over UCF.