Wahine claim fifth consecutive win
UH’s Robinson shuts out San Jose State, drives in only run
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The Hawaii softball team returned from a two-week break with a 1-0 win over San Jose State last night at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
vs. SJSU today (DH)
Kate Robinson fired her third shutout in her last four appearances and drove in the game's lone run to lead the Rainbow Wahine (29-11, 5-1 Western Athletic Conference) to their fifth straight win.
The senior's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first was the difference and she stranded the tying run at second base in the sixth and seventh innings to preserve the win.
The series concludes today with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. at RWSS.
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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii second baseman Melissa Gonzalez handled a grounder yesterday as the Rainbow Wahine shut out the Spartans.
Hawaii's offense had a bit of trouble scraping off the rust following nearly two weeks without seeing live pitching.
Not that Kate Robinson has needed a whole lot of run support lately.
The senior fired her third shutout in her last four appearances and drove in the lone run of the night to lift the 20th-ranked Rainbow Wahine to a 1-0 win over San Jose State last night to open their Western Athletic Conference softball series.
"Great game on both sides of the venue and Kate was up to the task," Hawaii coach Bob Coolen said. "She pitched a great game."
UH, which hadn't played since sweeping a doubleheader at Louisiana Tech on March 29, ran its winning streak to five in improving to 29-11 overall and 5-1 in conference play.
The Rainbow Wahine and Spartans (21-23, 3-4) close out the series today with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. at RWSS.
Robinson, a national player of the year candidate, drove in Kaulana Gould with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first and protected the lead the rest of the way, giving up six singles while striking out six and walking none.
The Spartans advanced a runner to third in the fourth inning and put the tying run on second base with less than two out in both the sixth and seventh innings, but couldn't break through against Robinson (13-3).
"Presence on the mound is everything, she has presence on the mound," Coolen said. "It's not something every pitcher walks out there and has, it's an acquired trait and she has gained that the last two seasons."
"It can be pressure," Robinson said of her roles at the plate and in the field, "but I like being involved. I like to go out and make a difference in the game."
Robinson's performance was just enough to counter a four-hit outing from San Jose State starter Deanna Mauer (11-8). The junior left-hander had the Wahine off balance most of the night, shutting them out after the first inning. Brandi Peiler was the only UH player to pair hits, lining singles to left in her last two at-bats. But she was left at second both times.
Coolen said the Wahine appeared somewhat anxious at the plate coming off the layoff.
"I think the toughest part was seeing live pitching," Robinson said. "But I think tonight was good for us. We needed a good solid win."
Hawaii generated all of its offense in its first turn at bat. With one out, Gould doubled into the left-center gap, moved to third on Clare Warwick's single to right and scored on Robinson's sacrifice fly to deep center.
San Jose State mounted its most serious threat in the top of the sixth when Elizabeth Perez and Sarah Taylor led off the inning with singles with the heart of the Spartan lineup coming up. After a visit from Coolen, Robinson let the defense get her out of the jam.
SJSU's Kelli Fangonilo's drive to left was snagged by Peiler. UH third baseman Warwick then snared a liner from clean-up hitter Brittany McConnell, and Kayla Hayes grounded out to second to end the inning.
"We had good defense tonight and got out of the jam because of the defense," Robinson said.
"It was don't try to blow it by them, just make it move and put it in a spot where it's hard to hit."
The Spartans again threatened with one out in the seventh when Natasha Hawkins singled and advanced to second on a throwing error. Robinson then struck out Sarah Smith and got Kasey Igarta to pop out to end the game.
Hawaii will try to maintain its slim edge in the WAC standings today as the Wahine remained a game ahead of idle Nevada (7-2) in the loss column. Fresno State (4-3) lost some ground with a doubleheader split at Louisiana Tech yesterday.