RAINBOW WAHINE SOFTBALL
Wahine open WAC with series sweep
The Rainbow Wahine softball team takes 2 from the Nevada Wolf Pack
The 23rd-ranked Hawaii softball team pulled out two comeback wins against Nevada last night to complete a sweep of its opening series of the Western Athletic Conference season.
The new National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll comes out today and the Rainbow Wahine (30-7, 3-0 WAC) could be moving up entering their weekend WAC series against Louisiana Tech.
HAWAII5 - 6|
NEVADA4 - 2
NEXT UP vs. Louisiana Tech on Friday
After beating Nevada 9-0 in Monday's opener, the Rainbow Wahine rallied from a 4-0 deficit to win the first game, 5-4, on Kathryn Grimes' RBI single to left in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jessica Morton pitched five innings of shutout relief to earn the win.
Hawaii came back from a 2-0 hole in the second game to cap the sweep with a 6-2 win. Kate Robinson tossed a complete game to earn her second victory of the series.
Nevada, which played in the Bank of Hawaii Invitational last week, returns home at 7-22 and 0-3 in the WAC.
UH concludes its homestand with the series against LaTech. Friday's single game starts at 6 p.m., and Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled for 2 p.m.
After blowing by Nevada in their first three meetings, the Hawaii softball team showed it can play from behind as well.
The Rainbow Wahine battled back from early deficits in both games of last night's doubleheader to sweep the Wolf Pack in their first Western Athletic Conference series of the season.
UH (30-7, 3-0) is two wins shy of last season's total and will take a six-game winning streak into a series with Louisiana Tech this weekend.
The Wahine outscored Nevada 33-3 in two nonconference games in last week's Bank of Hawaii Invitational and Monday's 9-0 series opener. Both of last night's games were decidedly closer with UH rallying for a 5-4 win in the opener and a 6-2 victory in the nightcap.
"It was a matter of this team, as I just told them, is a very special team," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "There's no let-up, there's no give-up. Against a team you've played five times, it's tough to do what we did. Very difficult."
Freshman catcher Kathryn Grimes' RBI single to left field in the bottom of the seventh capped UH's comeback from a four-run deficit in the first game of last night's doubleheader.
Jessica Morton (7-1) threw five innings of shutout relief to pick up the win.
UH trailed 2-0 after the first inning of the second game as well, before battling back. Tyleen Tausaga's two-run single in the third gave UH the lead for good and pitcher Kate Robinson shut out the Wolf Pack after a shaky first inning to post her second win of the series.
The two-day break prior to the LaTech series probably feels like a vacation for the Wahine, who played 23 games in the first 20 days of March.
"(Robinson's) pitching on adrenaline right now, she hasn't pitched this much in a long time," Coolen said. "We're doing well with what we have out there."
Nevada (7-22) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings in the first game before UH rallied, and the Wolf Pack led 2-0 early in the nightcap.
Nevada's Sam Bias opened the scoring in the top of the first inning, coming home on Kelsey Starr's single off the glove of first baseman Kate Robinson. Brittany Puzey scored later in the inning on a groundout, and extended the Wolf Pack lead in the third with a two-run homer to left.
Morton relieved UH starter Justine Smethurst after Puzey's homer, and struck out seven over the next five innings.
Hawaii battled back to tie the game with two-run rallies in the third and fourth, with all of the runs scoring with two out. A Nevada throwing error allowed two Wahine runs to cross the plate in the third and Kaulana Gould knotted the game with a bases-loaded double into the right-center field gap.
Valana Manuma opened the seventh with a hard grounder that took a bad hop past Bias at shortstop and rolled to the fence for a double. After a walk to Alana Power, Grimes lined a 2-1 pitch into left field and Manuma raced home to end the game.
"We've all been playing really well and different people have stepped up at different times and it was nice to finally contribute to the team," said Grimes, UH's ninth-place hitter.
"Anyone can step up and win a ballgame for us," Coolen said.
The second game started much like the first with Nevada's Kym Silagyi giving the Wolf Pack the lead with a two-run double in the top of the first.
Robinson, who earned the win and hit two homers on Monday, handcuffed the Pack in retiring 14 straight hitters after Silagyi's hit until giving up a double in the sixth. She finished with eight strikeouts in improving to 8-0.
UH caught and passed the Pack in a three-run third. Grimes started the rally with a single to center and eventually scored on a bases-loaded walk. Tausaga later pushed the Wahine ahead with a one-out, two-run single to left-center.
Hawaii added two more runs in the fifth and another insurance run in the sixth.