After posting its fourth straight shutout to open the day, the University of Hawaii softball team couldn’t hold off an Ole Miss rally and the Rebels claimed the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic title with a 6-5 win in eight innings today at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
Ole Miss first baseman Alex Schneider hit a tying three-run homer in the top of the seventh and the Rebels (4-1) took the lead on Ashton Lampton’s pinch-hit single the eighth. Ole Miss reliever Kayla Landwehrmier stranded a UH runner on third in the bottom of the inning to earn the win and hand UH its first loss of the season.
The Rainbow Wahine (4-1) advanced to the tournament championship game with a 5-0 win over UMKC. Kanani Aina Cabrales (2-0) allowed two hits, struck out three and walked one in her second shutout in as many days and UH’s fourth straight to start the season.
Heather Morales opened the scoring with her second home run of the tournament, a shot to right-center to lead off the bottom of the second. Sarah Muzik added another run in the third when she stole third and came around on an errant throw. Ulu Matagiese’s two-out single to right in the sixth scored UH’s final two runs.
In the title game, UH’s streak of scoreless innings reached 30 — aided by Muzik’s diving catch with the bases loaded to end the second — before Ole Miss scratched out two runs in the top of the third inning to take the lead.
After back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, Natalie Martinez advanced the runners with a bunt. Haley Lunderman continued around third and got tangled up with UH third baseman Nicole Lopez. Lunderman was awarded home on an obstruction call for the first run surrendered by the Wahine in 2016. Schneider then dropped another bunt to score Miranda Strother from third and give Ole Miss a 2-0 lead.
UH answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, starting with Ulu Matagiese’s RBI single to score Breanna Ojala. The Wahine loaded the bases with one out and Keiki Carlos’ slow roller up the first-base line allowed Matagiese to score the tying run. Morales then lined a two-run single into left-center to give UH a 4-2 lead.
UH added another run in the sixth on Rachel Lack’s sacrifice fly to center to score Keiki Carlos. Hailey Lunderman led off the top of the seventh with a double and Miranda Strother was hit by a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate. With one out, Schneider fell behind in the count before launching a blast to left field to tie the game.
UH had the go-ahead run at third with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Ojala was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a grounder back to the pitcher and Ole Miss survived to send the game into extra innings.
With a runner on third, Lampton lined a single to center to give Ole Miss the lead and Landwehrmeir held off UH in the bottom of the inning, closing out the game when Lack’s fly ball to center was caught just in front of the fence.
UH sophomore Brittany Hitchcock went the distance and took her first loss of the season. She gave up 12 hits, struck out four and walked none.