UH softball KO’d from WAC Tourney in pair of heartbreakers

FRESNO, Calif. — The University of Hawai‘i softball team (37-18, 14-7 WAC) was eliminated from the WAC Tournament on Thursday night, falling short against Fresno State, 2-1.

Sophomore pitcher Kaia Parnaby (12-6) suffered the complete-game loss.

Bulldogs leadoff hitter Haley Gilleland led the game off with a triple to the right-center field gap. She was immediately driven in on a sacrifice fly to right field by Andrea Ortega for the early 1-0 lead.

Fresno State added another run in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by Courtney Moore to right field for a 2-0 lead.

Hawai‘i cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth. Jessica Iwata and Jenna Rodriguez started the inning with back-to-back singles. But Melissa Gonzalez hit a low liner to second that the second baseman backhanded on the fly and flipped to the shortstop at second to double off Iwata. Alex Aguirre kept the inning alive with a single to center field and Sharla Kliebenstein followed with another single to center to give UH their first run of the game. UH trailed 2-1 after six innings.

The ‘Bows out-hit the Bulldogs — nine to five — and had runners on in every inning but the fifth, but were unable to capitalize, leaving eight runners on base to Fresno State’s four. Hawai‘i’s Gonzalez and Aguirre each went 2 for 3.

Fresno State’s Michelle Moses earned the win, giving up the one run on nine hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

Earlier in the day, UH had its seven-game win streak snapped by New Mexico State with a two-run walk-off home run, losing 5-4.

The ‘Bows got on the scoreboard first, posting one run in the top of the third inning. Dara Pagaduan reached on a fielding error with two outs. Kelly Majam followed by drilling a single through the right side of the infield to put runners on first and second. Jasey Jensen then came through with an RBI single to center to score Pagaduan from second for the first run of the game, and an early 1-0 lead.

The Aggies knotted the score at 1-1 on Valerie Swedberg’s solo home run. Majam chased it down and caught it just over the fence, but the ball popped out of her glove as she collided hard with the right-center field fence as she flipped over.

Hawai‘i grabbed a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning. Pagaduan led off by beating out a single back to the pitcher. A throwing error on the shortstop allowed Majam to reach safely and move Pagaduan to third. A ground out by Jensen moved both runners into scoring position for Jessica Iwata, who drilled a single to center to score both Pagaduan and Majam. Iwata advanced on the throw home and Gonzalez brought her home with a single to left to give UH a 4-1 lead.

But the Aggies got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth. Ashley Maroda reached on a throwing error on the shortstop. Pinch runner Shaleese Javillo then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt to first. A walk to Brittany Clifton put runners at first and second. After a fielder’s choice, Kylie Randall launched a double to the left-center gap to score both Clifton and Tehana Ka‘aihue.

In the bottom of the seventh, Tiare Jennings walked to start the inning and Hoku Nohara ended the game on a two-run blast to left field to give the Aggies the 5-4 win.

Stephanie Ricketts started the game and threw the first 3.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Rodriguez suffered the loss, giving up four runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

NMSU’s Kelsey Schueler (4-3) earned the win, throwing the final 2.1 innings. She did not allow any runs or hits. Alex Newman got the start and threw the first 4.2 innings. She gave up four runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout.

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