Rainbow Wahine miss title by a hair
UH loses two of three to Nevada in the WAC championship series
FRESNO, Calif. » The Hawaii softball team's run at the Western Athletic Conference tournament title fell one win short yesterday.
The Rainbow Wahine moved within a whisker of the crown by beating Nevada 1-0 in the first game of a best-of-three championship series at Bulldog Diamond. But the Wolf Pack won the next two, 4-2 and 7-0, to capture their first league championship.
"We just couldn't get it done," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "The first game went well -- we were one game away and just couldn't close the door."
Nevada (33-31) also claims the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA regionals. Coolen said prior to the WAC tournament that the Rainbow Wahine (32-22) would have to win it to reach the postseason.
They nearly pulled it off, winning their first three games, including a victory over top-seeded Fresno State on Friday.
Hawaii freshman Justine Smethurst held Nevada to two hits and the Wahine capitalized on two Wolf Pack errors in the sixth inning to win the opener.
Brandi Peiler reached second base when her fly ball to left field fell in. With two out, Kaulana Gould grounded to short, but the throw to first was dropped and Peiler raced around third and beat the throw to the plate to score the game's lone run.
UH took a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning of the second game, but Nevada rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning to force a decisive third game.
The Wolf Pack then rocked Smethurst for four runs in the first three innings to run away in the final.
Gould, Peiler, Tyleen Tausaga, Kristi Yoshizawa and Kate Robinson represented the Wahine on the all-tournament team. Nevada pitcher Jordan McPherson, who threw every pitch for the Wolf Pack this week, was the MVP. She had 34 strikeouts and didn't give up an earned run in 41 innings in the tournament.