UH softball takes down CSUN in extra innings 2-1
The University of Hawaii softball team (31-13, 12-4 Big West) held off CSUN in the series opener, 2-1 in eight innings.
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—The University of Hawaii softball team (31-13, 12-4 Big West) held off CSUN in the series opener, 2-1 in eight innings. The game was a pitchers' duel between Hawaii's Brittany Hitchcock and CSUN's Jillian James as both teams were scoreless through the first seven innings. In the eighth inning, Hawaii scored two runs, and then on defense Hitchcock stayed strong in the circle, getting a strike out with two outs and the bases loaded to end the game on Friday afternoon at the Matador Diamond in Northridge, Calif.
Hitchcock earned the complete game victory throwing all eight innings. She allowed just one unearned run while scattering eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. She improves to 18-7 overall and 10-2 in conference.
The Matadors threatened to score in the fifth. Jaymi Stewart led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to the right-centerfield gap. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt to third by Kira Cauley. CSUN went on to load the bases on two outs, but the 'Bows escaped damage getting a groundout to third to extinguish the CSUN rally.
CSUN's pitcher, James, had things rolling in the middle of the game, retiring nine-straight Rainbow Wahine batters between the third and sixth innings.
Fast forward to the top of the eighth. Hawaii was able to mount a rally. Heather Cameron led off with a single to shortstop. Sissy Pantastico laid down a bunt which turned to a single, but on the play a throwing error to first allowed Cameron to hustle to third. After a pop-out to short, Nicole Lopez came through in the clutch with an RBI-single to centerfield to drive in Cameron from third. Alyssa Sojka kept things going with a shallow single up the middle to load the bases. Callee Heen then hit into a fielder's choice to second, but the throw home was not in time as Pantastico slid in safely in front of the force play for what proved to be the winning run. The bases were still loaded, but the Matadors escaped further damage with a pair of fielder's choice outs to end the rally.
CSUN was not done yet however. In the bottom of the eighth, Cauley led off with a single. She was erased at second on a fielder's choice off the bat of Makenzie Babbitt from first to second. A single by Megan Stevens put runners at first and second with one out. Kiarra Crockett-Pope then lifted a fly ball to right, but the ball went in and out of the glove for an error, which allowed Babbitt to score from second. UH was able to get the second out on a fielder's choice from shortstop to third to eliminate the lead runner. A CSUN single up the middle kept the rally alive and loaded the bases. UH's Hitchcock was able to get a nine-pitch, swinging strikeout to end the rally and the game with UH in front, 2-1.
This was Hawai'i's second straight, eight inning win. UH is now 2-1 in extra inning games this year. Last week, the 'Bows defeated UC Riverside in the series finale on a three-run, walk-off home run by Heen for a 4-1 win in eight innings. UH is now 24-0 when holding opponents to two runs or less.
Hawaii's defense was solid getting 19 groundouts and just three flyouts in the game. The infield was busy with Cheeks Ramos getting eight assists at shortstop. Six assists were credited to Sojka at second and four to Lopez at third with Heen recording 16 putouts at first for the game.
The same two teams will square off in a doubleheader on Saturday, May 4 beginning at 10:00 a.m. HT at the Matador Diamond in Northridge, Calif.