The University of Hawai’i softball team held off San Jose State, 6-3 to win the final game of the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament on Sunday at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Kanani Aina Cabrales earned her third win of the tourney, throwing 4.2 innings of relief for the ‘Bows.
Aina Cabrales fired 4.2 innings allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and three strike outs. She came into the game with the bases loaded and one out. The first batter she faced hit a shallow fly ball to right which Keiki Carlos caught for the out. She gunned it home on a line and the runner on third got caught in a rundown which went 9-to-2-to-5-to-1 with Aina Cabrales tagging the runner out to end the inning. She showed her mettle as she was able to escape three, bases loaded jams to still win the game. Aina Cabrales figured in all four of UH’s decisions, going 3-1 in the tournament.
Hawai`i started the game by loading the bases with no outs, but was able to get just one run when Morales got plunked to drive in Lindsey Willmon from third.
The Spartans knotted the game at 1-1 in the top of the third on a bases loaded walk to Jesse Hufstetler.
The Rainbow Wahine recaptured the lead in the bottom of the third when Leisha Li’ili’i unleashed a line-shot, two-run home run to rightfield. It was Li’ili’i’s second home run of the tournament and the fourth of the season. She now needs two home runs to catch former Rainbow Wahine great Kate Robinson who is ranked No. 3 in the UH career home run record book. Hawai’i led 3-1 after three complete innings.
The Spartans, however, would rally to score two runs in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Emma Entzminger and an RBI-single by Michelle Cox to knot the score at 3-3.
The ‘Bows would break the tie in the fourth inning to go ahead, 6-3. Rachel Lack led the inning off with a walk and then came all the way around to score on a Sarina Jaramillo double drilled down the left-field line. Tayana Mata then executed a perfect bunt which she beat out for the hit but a late, errant throw by the pitcher ricocheted off the covering second baseman which allowed Jaramillo to score. Later with two outs, and runners at the corners, Carlos got into a run down between first and second as Mata raced home to score from third with Carlos sliding safely back into first for UH’s third run of the inning.
Aina Cabrales retired eight batters in a row between the fourth and one out in the seventh, but then San Jose State mounted a late rally. Jessica Madrid laced a double to the left-centerfield gap. Jessie Hufstetler followed with a walk and Shanon-Rena Estrada got a hit up the middle to load the bases full of Spartans and just one out. Aina Cabrales got the second out on a pop-out to short and then got the final out on a pop-out to second to end the game and preserve the 6-3 win.
UH’s Morales got the start in the circle, throwing the first 2.1 innings. She gave up one run on two hits with two walks and a strike out.
San Jose State’s Allison Lang threw a complete game in the loss, she allowed six runs on seven hits with two walks and three strike outs.
The game against San Jose State was a re-match from Friday night’s game in which the ‘Bows routed the Spartans, 14-1 in five innings.
California won the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record, UH came in second at 3-1. San Jose State was 2-3 and Longwood was 0-5.
Hawai’i’s 37-day homestand continues this week with the Outrigger Resorts Spring Fling Tournament with Longwood, Utah, East Carolina and Oregon State, March 4-8. Hawai’i is in the middle of their schedule in which they will play 19 games in 20 days.
2015 Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha All-Tournament Team
Jessie Hufstetler, San Jose State
Taylor Purdy, San Jose State
Danielle Henderson, Calfornia
Britt Vonk, Calfornia
Haleigh Kilby, Longwood
Carly Adams, Longwood
Ulu Matagiese, Hawai’i
Kanani Aina Cabrales, Hawai’i
Leisha Li’ili’i, Hawai’i
Kayla Wartner, Hawai’i
Most Valuable Player: Jazmyn Jackson, Calfornia
Most Valuable Pitcher: Stephanie Trzcinski, Calfornia