UHH Softball Opens Season With a Pair of Wins
KAILUA-KONA – Newcomer Vanessa Salinas was five outs away from a perfect start to her University of Hawai`i at Hilo career.
The transfer from Fresno City College was hurling a perfect game through five and a third innings until BYU-Hawai`i pinch hitter Michelle Stacey stepped in was drilled by a pitch to end the perfect game. Salinas was able to keep the Seasiders off of the scoreboard and give her squad a 1-0 win in the nightcap of day one of the 2012 Kona Kick-Off Classic.
After the junior pitcher hit Stacey, she walked pinch hitter Kayla Atkin on five pitches and gave up her first hit of the day, a single to Chandra Tewari to load the bases with one out in the inning.
Salinas got through the pressure by recording the final two outs of the inning to keep BYUH off of the scoreboard. She struck out pinch hitter Haley Jones and induced a fly out to Tiffanee Frampton to leave the bases loaded.
UH Hilo’s only run of the game came in the third inning on a costly defensive miscue. After leadoff hitter Rebecca Lee walked to start the frame, center fielder Kristina Victa dropped down a sacrifice bunt along the left side of the infield. BYU-Hawai`i third baseman Tiffany Smith sailed her throw high of first base and deep into foul territory in right field, giving Lee enough time to cross home plate.
The Vulcans had a chance to extend the lead in the fifth, but took themselves out of the inning. Lee singled with one out in the fifth inning and stole second base to get into scoring position. A few pitches later, Lee was caught by the first base umpire leaving second base early, resulting in the inning’s second out. Moments later, Victa was called for batter’s interference for making contact with the ball outside of the batters box.
The Seasiders would not bow out of the game easy. In the seventh and last inning, shortstop Hannah Kelson singled to center field to represent the game’s tying run. The next batter, Lindsay Robison, popped up in foul territory to third baseman Emily Greene to end the game.
Salinas (1-0) struck out six Seasiders in her complete game two-hit shutout. Her counterpart, Frampton (0-1), also did not allow an earned run in her six innings pitched. Besides the unearned run she allowed, Frampton struck out four, walked three, and allowed just two hits.
Prior to that game, the Vulcans opened the season with a 3-1 victory over St. Martin’s of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, thanks to a two-run third inning against Saints starter Sam Munger.
Second baseman Brittany Huff led off the top half of that inning by getting plunked by Munger’s pitch, and Lee followed by drawing an eight pitch walk. Both players were sacrificed over by Victa. Designated player Collette Black tried to bring Huff across, but her groundball back to Munger resulted in a fielder’s choice play at home plate for the second out.
Grene, the All-PacWest Conference preseason selection, hit a soft ground ball to the left side of the infield that resulted in an infield hit, scoring Lee from third base to put the Vulcans on the scoreboard. Colleen Aubrey followed with a solid single to left field to score Black, making the score 2-0.
In the sixth, St. Martin’s pulled within one on a wild pitch from UHH starter Ashley Nelson, scoring Munger from third base. Munger reached base with one out in the frame on a triple down the left field line that got by Arren Nunez.
The offense gave Nelson an insurance run in the seventh inning on Black’s RBI single that scored Shelby Vickers, giving the Vulcans a 3-1 lead. St. Martin’s had the tying run at the plate with two out in the bottom half of the inning before Nelson struck out Taylor Bakos to end the game.
Nelson (1-0), the only holdover from last year’s pitching staff, struck out seven, walked three, and allowed four hits in her complete game victory. Munger (0-1), last year’s GNAC Freshman of the Year, took the loss by allowing three earned runs on six hits in seven innings. She allowed six hits, walked two, and accumulated two strikeouts.
The 2013 Kona Kick-Off Classic continues through Sunday at the Old Kona Airport softball fields. UHH, St. Martin’s, and BYU-Hawai`i are joined by Rollins College and Western Washington University for the five team classic.
Hawai`i Hilo 002 000 1 – 3 6 0
St. Martin’s 000 001 0 – 1 4 2
BYU-Hawai`i 000 000 0 – 0 2 3
Hawai`i Hilo 001 000 x – 1 2 0
Western Washington 11, BYU-Hawai`i 2
Rollins 4, St. Martin’s 2
Rollins 11, Western Washington 2
BYU-Hawai`i vs. St. Martin’s – 10:00 a.m. (Field A)
Hawai`i Hilo vs. Rollins – 10:00 a.m. (Field B)
BYU-Hawai`i vs. Rollins – 12:30 p.m. (Field A)
Hawai`i Hilo vs. Western Washington – 12:30 p.m. (Field B)
St. Martin’s vs. Western Washington – 3:00 p.m. (Field B)
St. Martin’s vs. Hawai`i Hilo – 10:00 a.m. (Field A)
Rollins vs. Western Washington – 10:00 a.m. (Field B)
Western Washington vs. Hawai`i Hilo – 12:30 p.m. (Field A)
Rollins vs. St. Martin’s – 12:30 p.m. (Field B)