Wolf Pack holds off UH
to clinch WAC series

Hawaii softball coach Bob Coolen remained two wins away from 500 last night after the Rainbow Wahine fell to Nevada for the second straight game. Freshman right-hander Jordan McPherson tossed a five-hitter as the Wolf Pack held off Hawaii 3-1 at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium, claiming the Western Athletic Conference series 2-1.

Hawaii takes a 14-13 record into the Bank of Hawaii Invitational, which begins tomorrow. The Wahine have six games over the four-day event to get the two wins Coolen needs to reach his career milestone, but the only number the 14th-year coach was concerned with was five.

Against Nevada last night, the Wahine committed five errors and, until the bottom of the fourth -- when they had three hits -- Hawaii had more errors than luck against McPherson.

"I don't know if it was complacency, that we'd already beaten them twice," said Coolen, whose team beat Nevada in last week's tournament as well as Monday's doubleheader opener.

"But these are the games that count more, the ones in conference. We've already dug ourselves a really big hole (in the standings).

"I couldn't care less about the 500th win. I'd rather have a team dynamic that felt good about the way we played. We didn't hit the ball. Defensively, that's where they played and we didn't. Splitting with them is no consolation, and being 1-2 in the WAC is definitely no consolation for us."

The Wolf Pack (10-14, 2-1) set the tone early. Leadoff hitter Cindy Elkins walked to open the game and eventually scored on Candice Rainwater's sacrifice fly to center, the first of two RBIs for the All-WAC first baseman.

Rainwater drove in her second run with a single in the third, scoring Jiliane Hartfiel and chasing Wahine starter Melissa Coogan (8-6). Only one of Nevada's runs was earned, that coming off reliever Paula Blanning in the fourth.

Freshman left fielder Kaulana Gould scored Hawaii's only run in the fourth when, with the bases loaded, Nevada second baseman Kristin Stith bobbled Noelle Izumi's grounder. It allowed Gould to come in and ruin McPherson's shutout bid.

Gould, who added a double in the fifth, said the team hadn't really discussed Coolen approaching the 500-win mark.

"But we'll get it for him, no problem about that," she said.

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