Softball ‘Bows back at home to host UC-Riverside in BWC series

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The University of Hawai’i softball team (23-14, 2-4 Big West) looks to rebound this week as they host a three-game Big West series against UC Riverside (20-15, 2-4 BWC). The two teams will square off in a single game on Friday, April 14 at 6:00 p.m. followed by a doubleheader on Saturday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m. There will be an autograph session immediately following both days’ games with free posters available. Saturday is also “Power in Pink” day at the park in recognition of breast cancer awareness. The Rainbow Wahine will be wearing special Under Armour pink jerseys in honor of the game.

Last week, the ‘Bows were swept in their three-game series at CSUN. In the opener, the Matadors overcame a 5-2 deficit, scoring four runs in the last three innings which ended with a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to down UH, 6-5.  CSUN then held off UH to win the second game, 6-2 to clinch the series. In the series finale, the Matadors edged out the Rainbow Wahine, 3-2 to complete the sweep.

Rookie designated player/catcher Callee Heen led UH on offense hitting a team-high .500 (4-for-8) with a double and a home run. She also led UH with a team-best 1.000 slugging percentage and .600 on-base percentage. Overall, Heen is hitting an even .300 (30-for-100) and has produced solid numbers across the board. She has recorded five doubles, one triple and six home runs. She leads the team with 11 walks and is fourth on the squad with 15 runs scored and third with 20 RBI.

Senior first baseman Heather Morales continued her hot hitting this past week, posting a .400 batting average (4-for-10) in the three games. Overall she leads Hawai’i with a .358 batting average (38-for-106), 28 RBI and a .410 on-base percentage. She is second on the team with seven doubles (tied with Heather Cameron), seven home runs and a .623 slugging percentage.

Sophomores Sarah Muzik and Nicole Lopez are both hitting at an identical .356 batting average (42-for-118). Lopez leads UH with nine doubles, 10 home runs and a .686 slugging percentage. She is second on the squad with 27 RBI and 21 scored. Lopez leads the Big West with 10 home runs, which also ranks her at No. 28 in the NCAA DI. Muzik has been steady all season hitting in the No. 2 slot. She has four doubles, one triple and 19 runs scored. She leads UH with seven stolen bases.

In the pitching circle, the UH staff is second in the league with a 2.30 ERA in 250.0 innings pitched. Junior Brittany Hitchcock is 14-7 with a 1.91 ERA in 135.1 innings pitched. She has fired 18 complete games in 21 starts and is ranked at No. 16 in the NCAA with six shutouts. She has allowed just 21 walks which ranks her at No. 30 in the NCAA for fewest walks allowed per seven innings. Hitchcock has already recorded a career-high 122 strikeouts this season.

Senior Kanani Aina Cabrales has a team-low 1.77 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched and is 2-3 overall. She has fired two complete games and has held opponents to a .214 batting average while walking 13 and striking out 17. Junior Dana Thomsen is 7-4 overall with a 2.33 ERA with three shutouts in 15 appearances. She has thrown 78.0 innings with 27 walks and 87 strikeouts.

UC Riverside comes to town tied with Hawai’i with a 2-4 conference record. Overall, the Highlanders as a team are hitting .280 and have three starters hitting over .300. UCR is led by Hannah Rodriguez who has a .372 batting average (35-for-94) with a team-high seven doubles. She has scored 21 runs with a homer and 13 RBI. Jenna Curtain is second on the squad with a .356 average with a team-high three triples. Madeline Richard leads the Highlanders with 20 stolen bases in 23 attempts and is hitting .336 (36-for-107). Her 36 base hits are a team-high. Brittany Garcia leads UCR with 27 runs scored, while Haley Harris leads the team with 21 RBI.

The Highlander pitching staff includes five who have earned decisions this season. UCR’s Anessa Cepeda leads the Highlanders with a 2.27 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched with a 6-1 record. But it is Tayler Misfeldt who has seen the most action with 81.1 innings under her belt this season. She is 8-4 overall with a 3.44 ERA. 24 walks and 52 strikeouts. Haley Marschall is 6-5 overall with a 3.90 ERA in 66.1 innings pitched.

Games 38-40

Who: Hawai’i (23-14, 2-4 Big West) vs. UC Riverside (20-15, 2-4 Big West)

When: Friday, April 14 at 6:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 15 (Doubleheader) at 2:00 p.m.

Where: Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium (1,200)  – Honolulu, O’ahu

Promotions: First Hawaiian Bank is the series sponsor and will provide great prizes for the winners of the popular “Ballpark Bingo.” T-shirts will be thrown into the stands during the fourth inning. The Rainbow Wahine will be having autograph sessions with free posters immediately following both days’ games. Saturday is also “Power in Pink” day in recognition of breast cancer awareness.

Livestats: Live in-game stats are available at the HawaiiAthletics.com softball schedule page.

Series History: Hawai’i holds a 21-4 all-time record against UC Riverside. Last season, the ‘Bows won the first two games at UCR before falling in the series finale.

Coaches: UH’s Bob Coolen is in his 26th season as the head coach. He has a career record of 1,016-655-1 and a 944-557-1 record at UH. UC Riverside’s Nikki Palmer is in her first season with the Highlanders after leading Utah Valley for three seasons. She is 20-15 at UCR and has a career record of 65-141.

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