Callee Heen launched a solo home-run to cap off the Rainbow Wahine's series against Long Beach State with a win.
The University of Hawai'i softball team (21-10, 2-1 Big West Conference) split this evening’s doubleheader against Long Beach State (14-18, 1-2 BWC) at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The ‘Bows gave up ten hits in a 5–2 loss to LBSU in the first game.
Freshman pitcher Izzy Dino gave up two quick hits to put the ‘Bows at a 1–0 deficit. The Rainbow Wahine fired back with a sac-bunt and a sac-fly to tie the game at 1–1.
Dino’s evening ended in the fifth inning after allowing a two-run RBI-double by LBSU freshman center fielder Maddy Ruffin.
Sophomore lefty Emily Klee relieved Dino, but she also had trouble finding a rhythm. Senior designated player Lauren Lombardi connected with a single to load the bases. Junior first baseman Sydney McCollum’s sac-fly gave LBSU a 4–1 lead.
UH found themselves with only three hits and no runs through the second and sixth innings.
“I think we were a little bit too complacent,” senior left fielder Jennifer Iseri said. “We’ve got to remember that all these teams are good.”
The seventh inning, however, saw Hawai'i attempt a late rally after junior shortstop Sissy Pantastico crossed home plate to cut the lead to 5–2.
With runners on first and second, senior third baseman Nicole Lopez struck out swinging to end the game.
Bench contributions from Iseri and sophomore first baseman Madison Veldman helped UH bounce back with a 11–3 victory in the second game of the day.
Redshirt senior pitcher Brittany Hitchcock started on the mound, retiring the first three batters she faced. However, LBSU senior left fielder Jamie Wren doubled to center field in the second inning. Senior designated player Tierra Falo then emptied the dugout with a home run to give LBSU a 2–0 lead.
In the second inning, Iseri hit an RBI-double to the left center field to allow freshman right fielder Mikaela Gandia-Mak advanced to third and junior second baseman Cheeks Ramos to score. Veldman cleared the bases with a three-run home run to give Hawaii a 3–2 lead.
“Maddie (Veldman) has been working really hard,” head coach Bob Coolen said. “She was struggling there for a little while … but she's gotten much better.”
A combination of pitching and throwing errors by the LBSU defense saw the UH lead extend to 6–2. Ramos hit an RBI-single to drive home senior designated player Alyssa Sojka to score the seventh run of the inning.
“It was a whole different feeling in the dugout,” Coolen said. “They knew they struggled in the first game, but they bought into the slap and we just started hitting off of her.”
Iseri, who remained in the starting lineup after coming off the bench in the first game of the day, kept the pressure on the Long Beach State defense with an infield single. She would eventually go on to score with Pantastico off a Lopez sac-fly to increase the lead to 9–2. Iseri finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
“We can’t get down on ourselves,” Iseri said. “Even though they scored first, we just made it a point to come back and fight.”
LBSU prevented a run-rule victory for UH in the fifth inning when senior shortstop Nichole Fry’s RBI-double cut the lead to 10–3. But in the sixth inning, Heen, who also finished 2-for-3, ended the game early with a walk-off home run.
The Rainbow Wahine softball team will travel to play Cal Poly on Friday, April 5 at 2 p.m.