Feb. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Hawaii Athletics

HONOLULU - The University of Hawai`i softball team opened its 25th season with a bang, stunning No. 10/6 Oklahoma with an 8-5, come-from-behind win on Thursday, the first day of the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Field. Clare Warwick led the 'Bows, going 4-for-4 at the plate with a double and a home run.

In the bottom of the first inning, UH threatened to score.  Warwick started a two-out rally with a double to the leftfield fence. Melissa Gonzalez and Audrey Andrade both drew walks to load the bases, but Oklahoma's pitcher, D.J. Mathis induced a ground out to third to squelch the rally.

After three scoreless innings, the Sooners struck first with a solo home run over the leftfield fence by Katie Norris. Then they extended their lead with a pair of RBI singles from Samantha Ricketts and Katie Norris.
 
The Rainbow Wahine then answered right back in the bottom half of the inning by erupting for five runs to leapfrog Oklahoma, 5-3. With one out, senior rightfielder Tanisha Milca started the scoring by cranked a two-run home run over the leftfield fence. The next batter, Malamaisaua Manuma, got beaned and Warwick followed with a single deep in the hole at short. The Sooners' Kirsten Allen then came in relief of Mathis, But the 'Bows were able to keep things alive, first Gonzalez hit a ground ball to second. The second baseman flipped to to the shortstop to get the middle runner at second, but Warwick slid in safely to allow the bases to be loaded. Andrade then hit a little squibber to the pitcher, but her toss home to get Manuma was late and the run scored. Next, Julie Franklin was hit by the pitch on her left foot, which drove in Warwick. Then, pinch runner, Alexandra Aguirre scored on a fielder's choice hit to the shortstop by Kanani Pu‘u-Warren.
 
Hawai`i started the bottom of the sixth with two straight singles by Milca and Manuma. The Sooners then went to the bullpen for Allee Allen. The first batter she faced was Warwick whop promptly drilled an opposite field, three run home run to push UH's lead to 8-3.
 
The Sooners fought until the end. Amber Flores launched a two-run bomb that sailed over the leftfield netting and into the tennis courts. That cut the Hawai‘i's lead to 8-5, but UH pitcher Courtney Baughman was able to retire the final two batters with a ground out to second and a strike out looking.

In the win, Baughman threw a complete game, giving up five runs on 10 hits with a walk and six strike outs.
 
Oklahoma's Mathis took the loss, throwing 4.1 innings. She gave up four runs on four hits with two walks and three strike outs. Kirsten Allen threw 1.0 innings and gave up three runs on a pair of hits, while Allee Allen closed the game, throwing 2.0 innings. She gave up one run on one hit.
 
UH is now 17-8 in season opening games and have won their last six in a row.
 
In the tourney's first game, No. 19/17 LSU downed a fiesty UAB team, 10-5.