HONOLULU—The University of Hawai’i softball team (20-13, 3-4 Big West) fell to UC San Diego (14-17, 4-3 BW) in the series opener, 4-1 on Friday night at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
It was a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings until the bottom of the fourth. Ka’ena Keliinoi led off the frame with a first pitch single to right-center. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt executed perfectly by Maya Nakamura. Haley Johnson then drilled a single to center which drove in Keliinoi who slid home safely for the early 1-0 lead.
The Tritons got on the board in the half inning. Hailey Mulligan reached on a strikeout swinging wild pitch. Morgan Eng then put down a bunt, but no one was covering first, so the throw off the sacrifice bunt bounced into rightfield allowing Mulligan to score from first. On the play, Eng raced around the bases but was thrown out on a relay from Annamaria Nuño to Nakamura to Izabella Martinez.
In the sixth, UCSD’s Alexa Demarse lifted a three-run home run to give the Tritons a 4-1 lead.
Hawai’i’s starter Brianna Lopez threw the first 5-1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. Reliever Chloe Borges tossed the final 1-2/3-innings. She did not allow a run but gave up two hits.
UC San Diego’s starter Jada Cecil earned the complete game win, allowing just on run on two hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.
Hawai’i and UC San Diego will conclude their three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 12:00 p.m. HT at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.