Hawaii beats CSUN in sizable fashion for the first of 3 in this Big West Matchup

It was all Hawaii who dominated in the early part of the first of 3 against CSUN. The CSUN softball team hosted Hawaii on Friday in the first of a 3 game weekend series that will prove to be huge in the Big West Conference Standings. The Matadors are 10-13, 2-1 in Big West play, and are entering the series off a series win against Cal-Poly winning 2 of 3, and are looking to extend their winning ways. As for Hawai’i they are 19-10, 2-1 in Big West play, and are coming off a big series win against UC Santa Barbara winning 2 of 3.

CSUN’s starter Isabella Alonso was recently named Big West Freshman Softball Player of the Week on Mar. 20 but unfortunately found herself in some early trouble in the first inning. The game began with some controversy when Malia Xiao Gin who was the leadoff hitter was hit by a pitch and had a bloody hand but the play was called foul by the home plate umpire, Fred Barker, no worries for Hawai’i and Malia Gin though as she walked to get on first. As for the second and third batters, Ka’ena Keliinoi and Maya Nakamura they were able to get the best of Alonso and get on base. But it was all Haley Johnson who launched the ball to left center for a grand slam. The slugfest didn’t end there when Izabella Martinez reached on a fielding error, Mya’Liah Bethea reached on a fielder's choice and a walk by Rachel “Bueller” Sabourin. In another bases-loaded situation for Hawaii, Ciara Bartolotti came up in the order and singled to left field to make the game 5-0 by bringing in Bethea. For CSUN, Isabella Alonso's time was up and was taken out of the game with only recording one out and allowing 5 runs before her exit. Allie Gardiner came in for relief and was quickly able to earn a strikeout from Cierra Yamamoto but did fire a hit to Gin. Gardiner didn’t have too much success in her time on the mound as she gave up a hit to Keliinoi who reached on a fielder error and Sabourin who was on third came in to make it a 6-nothing ball game. With runners on and another bases-loaded situation, it was Nakamura who hit a double to left-center to drive in 3 runners. The offense doesn’t stop for Hawaii as they make it 10 runs with Johnson hitting a single up the middle and Nakamura scoring later in the first. Gardiner was finally able to finish the disastrous inning for the Matadors by getting Martinez of Hawaii to foul out to the infield.

For Hawaii, Brianna Lopez took the circle and was successful in her first inning by just allowing a walk to Carys Murakami but was able to get the next 3 out to get out of the potential trouble. It was a nonscoring next few innings but the 4th inning is where the action picks itself back up, specifically Hawaii once more who looked to contribute more runs onto the scoreboard. In a bases-loaded situation with Piper Neri on third, Jadyn Nielsen on second, and Bethea who got on a walk it was Sabourin who came on and singled up the middle to drive in Piper Neri to make it 11 runs for Hawaii and nothing on the board for the Matadors. Besides that added run in the 4th, Bartolotti went on to strike out with a Borges ground out along with Nakamura fouling out earlier to end a productive inning for Hawaii.

Right, when things were looking tough for CSUN it was Myas Carman who singled to get on in the hope of a rally for the Matadors. Kaylee Escutia got on a fielder's choice but Carman was able to stay on thanks to an error by the shortstop and in the next at-bat there was Maiya Alemania who singled to make it bases loaded situation for CSUN. Now a serious opportunity for the Matadors to add some runs on the board it was Kylie Galindo who walked to bring home the first run it was then Whatman who walked too to bring on the second runner. Hawaii went on

to swap out Brianna Lopez for Millie Fridge which would end Lopez’s night at 3 innings pitched and 3 runs allowed and 2 strikeouts. But CSUN wanted more and it was then Maddie Padilla who walked once more to add the third and final run for CSUN in the 4th inning. Thanks to those three the game was now an 8-run deficit but Hawai’i who was still looking confident as they went on to prove it and show it when they generated another run in the top of the 5th when Martinez of Hawaii reached on a fielding error and scored Nakamura to make it 12 Hawaii and 3 CSUN. And in the bottom of the fifth, it was all Millie Fidge who went on to swing off the final three batters with a foul out, lineup, and an impressive strikeout to finish off Jordan Kaeaka to finish the game.

Due to the NCAA rules on College Softball, the game finished at 12-3 after 5 innings played with Hawaii winning and Millie Fridge taking the win in the stat column and Isabella Alonso going on to take the loss. After the game Haley Johnson who hit the grand slam back in the first inning went on to explain how this win was important and how they took care of business, “Our mindset going into it was is that we’re gonna work together and do the best we can and it takes game by game to help us win... and I think communication and i think having good team chemistry as well.” That Team chemistry played a huge part in Hawaii's win as they were joyous and electric after the game and now prepare for a doubleheader on Saturday, March 25th looking to take the series win.

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