Following their first week off since Big West play began on March 19th, the University of Hawai’i (11-9, 10-5 Big West) returns to Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium on Friday to host Long Beach State (22-6, 15-2 Big West) in a No. 2 vs. No. 3 conference standings matchup.
The ‘Bows last saw action against UC Riverside in a three-game series on April 16th and 17th, winning the series with a two to one advantage, scoring 17 runs over the three games. As a result, UH kept their spot in the conference standings at No. 3 with a 10-5 Big West record.
Following the series win against the Highlanders, freshman pitcher Jetta Nannen received her first conference honor as she was named freshman pitcher of the week. Nannen picked up a decision in each of the three games for a 2-1 record while striking out nine. On top of her pitching performance, she added a double, and three runs scored in the series.
Freshman utility player Maya Nakamura continues to be a force in the lineup as she ranks in the top-10 of various offensive categories during conference play. She ranks No. 3 in walks with 10, No. 5 in on-base percentage at .509, and No. 9 in slugging percentage at .619.
Senior left fielder Bree Soma started the season on a solid note, and her production hasn’t faded. The bottom of the lineup slugger ranks No. 5 in the Big West with 15 RBIs against conference opponents and sits at No. 10 in slugging percentage with a .600 average.
Pitching and defense have been a catalyst for UH in 2021 as the staff ranks No. 3 in the conference with an ERA of 3.18 and No. 2 in fielding percentage at .963. Nannen is a mainstay as the squad’s No. 1 starter, ranking No. 5 in the Big West with a 2.12 ERA, while opponents are batting .245 against her this season.
The series with the Beach will begin a three-week stretch for the ‘Bows, where they will take on the other three teams sitting in the top four spots of the standings. After LBSU, they’ll head to No. 1 Cal State Fullerton and come back to wrap up the regular season against No. 4 UC Davis. In 2019, UH went a combined 3-6 against the threesome but took the series from LBSU two games to one.
In 2019, when UH took the series against LBSU, it was significant as it was the first time the Bows overcame the Beach since rejoining the Big West in 2013. Before 2019 it was 1995 when UH last bested the Beach in a conference series.