After squandering a six-run lead, the University of Hawaii softball team went to extra innings to pull out an 8-6 series clinching win against Cal State Fullerton in the second game of a Big West doubleheader on Saturday at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.
Cal State Fullerton turned on the power in a 7-2 win in Saturday’s first game. UH (23-16, 4-2 Big West) recovered quickly and broke away with a five-run first inning in the series finale and Rachel Lack’s home run in the top of the third gave UH a 6-0 lead.
The Titans closed the gap with a single run in the third and Shianne Brannan’s two-run homer in the fourth.
UH’s lead remained at 6-3 going into the bottom of the seventh and the Titans loaded the bases. After Eliza Crawford cut the deficit to 6-4 with a sacrifice fly, Bryanna Ybarra and Samantha Galarza followed with two-out singles to tie the game.
UH sophomore Kanani Aina Cabrales got out of the inning and UH answered in the top of the eighth.
Leisha Li’ili’i and Sarina Jaramillo led off with singles and Lindsey Willmon reached on a bunt. A throwing error on the play allowed pinch-runner Tayana Mata to come around with the go-ahead run. Lack followed with a single to score Jaramillo and give UH a two-run lead.
Aina Cabrales gave up a double in the bottom of the eighth, but finished off the complete-game victory. She gave up six runs on 10 hits, struck out two and walked one over eight innings to earn her second win in the series.
In Saturday’s first game, UH right-hander Brittany Hitchcock held the Titans scoreless through three innings before Fullerton took the lead on a two-run single by pinch-hitter Lexi Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth.
Courtney Rodriguez, who finished a single short of the cycle, launched a three-run homer in the fifth to give the Titans a 5-1 lead and Missy Taukeiaho added a solo homer in the sixth. Six of Cal State Fullerton’s 11 hits went for extra bases.
Cal State Fullerton junior Jasmine Antunez went the distance to earn the win and the Titans (25-14, 3-2) tied the series going into the Saturday’s finale. She gave up eight hits, walked two and struck out four.
Hitchcock gave up five runs on seven hits, struck out five and walked one in the loss. Heather Morales allowed two runs on four hits in two innings of relief.
UH opened the scoring with two out in the top of the fourth when Kristina Akiona singled to right to send Sarina Jaramillo around to third. A throw back to first attempting to pick off Akiona was wild allowing Jaramillo to score.
Cal State Fullerton put runners on second and third in the bottom of the inning and Gonzalez bounced a single through the middle to give the Titans a 2-1 lead and ending UH’s string of innings without allowing an earned run at 31 2/3.
The Titans pulled away in the bottom of the fifth after Samanatha Vandiver ran out an infield single and Missy Taukeiaho reached on an error. Rodriguez then launched a three-run to center field to give Fullerton a 5-1 cushion.
Li’ili’i led off the top of the sixth with her seventh home run of the season and 45th of her career, breaking a tie with Kate Robinson for third on UH’s all-time list.