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Western Illinois fends off Rainbow Wahine rally

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Western Illinois right-hander Kacyee Hart held off a Hawaii rally and the Leathernecks handed the Rainbow Wahine softball team a 3-2 loss on the opening night of the Hawaii Pacific Health Rainbow Wahine Classic on Wednesday.

WIU built a 3-0 lead in the sixth and UH scratched out single runs in the sixth and the seventh. But with the tying run on second, Hart ended the game with her sixth strikeout for WIU (6-5). She held UH to four singles while improving to 3-2.

Kanani Aina Cabrales gave up two runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings and took the loss for UH (17-10).

The Wahine face Virginia Tech at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. The Hokies opened the tournament with a 6-1 win over St. Bonaventure.

The Leathernecks of the Summitt League manufactured the game’s first run in the top of the fourth. Tierny Bottino led off the inning with her second double of the game and Holly Hoelting was hit by a pitch. Nina Maggio then hit a fly ball to center and Bottino tagged up to advance to third. The back runner then got caught in a rundown, giving Bottino time to score.

Sammy Marshall reached on a bunt single with one out. UH second baseman Tayana Mata made a diving snag of Teagan Walsh’s grounder but Walsh beat the flip to first and Marshall went to third. Kelsey Marlow then singled to left on the next pitch to give WIU a 2-0 lead.

Hart kept the Wahine offense off balance in limiting UH to three singles through five innings. UH broke through in the sixth when Kayla Wartner scored on a wild pitch.

The Wahine then mounted a two-out rally in the seventh when Rachel Lack was hit by a pitch, advanced when Leisha Li’ili’i walked and scored on an error on Kristina Akiona’s grounder to second to bring UH within a run. But Hart got Wartner swinging to end the game.

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