Hawaii softball: Nicole Lopez, Wahine snare key victory over Riverside

The Rainbow Wahine signed autographs after defeating UC Riverside 2-0 in the teams' series opener. / Photo by Brian McInnis

Nicole Lopez’s timely double plays turned the Hawaii softball team’s fortunes around on Friday night.

With precious time remaining to make a run in the Big West standings — and coming off a sweep at the hands of nemesis Cal State Fullerton — the Rainbow Wahine needed something to fall their way.

Some close plays did in a 2-0 win for UH (28-13, 9-4 Big West) over UC Riverside (23-20, 5-8). It ended a three-game slide that saw the Wahine drop from first to third in a league in which the regular-season champ earns the automatic NCAA tournament berth — and in which at-large bids are difficult to come by.

In the fourth with runners on first and second, Lopez leaped to snare a high chopper off the bat of Amanda Lynch. She landed on the bag for a forceout then fired over to first to get Lynch.

In the sixth, Emma Ramalot hit a liner foul past the third-base bag … right into the glove of Lopez. Nadia Witt lost her balance on the play and fell off the bag, and Lopez alertly tagged her to get out of the inning.

“At Fullerton, I wasn’t getting any balls. It’s weird when I don’t get any balls because Brittany Hitchcock) is such a down-ball pitcher,” said Lopez, who was 2-for-3 with a run scored, raising her average to .362. “Today I was expecting more from Riverside than against Fullerton, and to expect that the ball was going to come to me really helped me.”

Said Hitchcock, “She’s always capable of coming up big for us in any way. If the ball’s hit her way, I’m expecting her to be able to make some sort of play, so it’s awesome she delivers that every time.”

Brittnee Rossi got things started with a opposite-field homer (it was nearly robbed by the Riverside left fielder Witt, but she couldn’t hang onto the ball in her glove). Lopez followed with a double to right-center and Alyssa Sojka scored her with a single to nearly the same spot.

UH might’ve opened it up more, but it stranded 10 runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the third and the fifth.

Hitchcock (15-7, 7-2 BWC) tossed a four-hitter with four strikeouts and a walk.

The teams play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (estimated) Saturday, which is “Power in Pink” day. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in honor of breast cancer awareness.

COMMENTS

  1. earl tanaka April 27, 2019 2:03 am

    Spectrum broadcast was lost for most of 5th and 6th innings. Bummer. Missed Nicole’s 2nd double-play. Oh well. Great win for the Wahine. Conference leader Cal State Fullerton plays 2nd place UC Davis this weekend. If they sweep, they most certainly will be 2019 champ. If only the Wahine held on to their lead in their second game against Fullertron…..


  2. Cruisecontrol April 27, 2019 5:25 am

    Not the first time it’s happened during a UH Softball game. I wish Spectrum would get it together.


  3. Matt April 27, 2019 12:16 pm

    1

    Just checked the results on any of the BWC games playing today, Davis gets mauled by Fullerton, 9-1 in game 1 of their doubleheader, Cal Poly downs LBSU on 4-run 6th in game 1 of their doubleheader, and CSUN obliterates UCSB 10-2 on their game 1 doubleheader. So…where we go from here, it’s a matter of how they play out from here. Especially for Hawaii’s sake, they gotta try and keep pace with Fullerton, but thanks to Davis’ loss, in addition to LBSU’s, this probably helps Hawaii’s chances. Now it’s a matter of how the Wahine finish out from here. Their last games on the schedule will be tricky, but it’s going to be interesting how they’ll finish. They were picked to finish 4th, but at the very least, 2nd or 3rd could be a sporting chance for them.

    #FinishStrong


  4. earl tanaka April 28, 2019 12:43 pm

    Matt, Agree with you the Wahine will probably finish 2nd or 3rd, even though UC Davis took one game from Fullerton in their second game of their double-header, 2-1. Wahine needed to take at least one from Fullerton to stay in contention. I cannot see Fullerton losing any of their remaining games against Cal Poly and Riverside, whose combined conference record is 9-21, while the Wahine still has to face UC Davis (10-5/36-10) to close the season.


  5. cappie the dog April 28, 2019 5:04 pm

    At 27-13, Hawaii’s RPI is 121. UC-Riverside’s RPI was 134. So, probably Hawaii’s RPI tomorrow will be, what, 115-118?

    CSUN is 129. Need to sweep. And that would push Hawaii to around 105-110?

    If they, best case scenario, take two out of three from UC-Davis, will that be enough to push them into at-large selection range? 60 or higher?

    Need to sweep; need to run the tables. 6-0 or bust. But they can do it.


  6. cappie the dog May 3, 2019 2:07 pm

    Brittany Hitchcock picks up her teammate. Made the game more interesting.
    Strikeout with the bases loaded.
    C’mon, Poly.


  7. cappie the dog May 4, 2019 3:40 pm

    Two out of three on the road is normally good enough, but they had to sweep. The season may be over.


  8. cappie the dog May 4, 2019 5:21 pm

    Cal Poly took CSUF into extra innings in the first game. So close. Mustangs scored first. Emotional let down in the second game, of course. The season for Hawaii comes down to tomorrow’s finale. Steffi Best was 4-23 and went the whole nine innings.


  9. cappie the dog May 5, 2019 12:41 pm

    Another 2-1 win for the Titans. Nice effort by Cal Poly on the road.


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