Hawaii softball: Rainbow Wahine fall to Oregon State on late home run

Shortstop Nawai Kaupe shoveled the ball over a teammate in Hawaii's 2-1 loss to Oregon State on Thursday night. / Photo by Jonathan Chen

The Hawaii softball team fell just shy of a Power Five win to open the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament, as a late Oregon State home run undid five shutout innings by the Rainbow Wahine in a 2-1 affair on Thursday night.

Sophomore Ashley Murphy got the start in the circle, and despite giving up the late go-ahead home run, she pitched through to the end of the game. With five straight scoreless innings to her name, she finished with three strikeouts, giving up seven hits in seven innings pitched. She did not walk a batter.

The game began on a sour note defensively for the Wahine, as redshirt junior Bree Soma landed awkwardly on a hit during the very first at-bat of the game. The left fielder dove for a ground ball, but misjudged the distance as the ball rolled under her ribcage. Soma was shaken up and quickly taken out of the game, but the injury didn’t appear too serious as she walked around under the bleachers.

Offensively, a trio of ‘Bows finished 2-3 at the plate to lead Hawaii, as senior first baseman Callee Heen, junior shortstop Nawai Kaupe, and freshman catcher Kaena Keliinoi each picked up a pair of hits. Kaupe also scored the lone run of the day for Hawaii.

“The fire in me came out a little bit,” the University of Washington transfer Kaupe said. “My former teammate Morgan Allen also transferred from Washington. She’s a junior now at OSU. I think a little friendly fire got into it.”

Hawaii wouldn’t get a hit in the first inning, but Heen eventually got the bats going for the Wahine, leading off the second inning with a single through the left side for Hawaii’s first hit of the ballgame. Kaupe soon joined Heen on the stat sheet, knocking a double to right center after Heen was tagged out on a double play. Kaupe would go on to round the bases on a pair of passed balls to score the only run of the day for the ‘Bows.

Keliinoi joined in with her first hit in the fourth inning. She singled to the pitcher, but was later caught stealing at second base. The move likely cost Hawaii a run, as Heen and senior Angelique “Cheeks” Ramos both singled later in the inning. Nothing came of either hit, as the score remained 1-0 at the end of four.

Keliinoi and Kaupe each singled to lead off the sixth and seventh inning, but the second run proved elusive for the Rainbow Wahine. Meanwhile, the Beavers capitalized, leading off the top of the sixth inning with a single before catcher Missy Nunes homered on a one-out pitch to give Oregon State the lead for good.

“Actually I think this was a great loss. This pitcher we faced, against OSU (Mariah Mazon), she’s a phenomenal pitcher. We haven’t seen it that much, and I think we need that. We need to see more of that,” Kaupe said of learning from the loss. “I don’t really take this loss as a big loss. We just have to keep moving forward.”

The Wahine will get another chance at Oregon State tomorrow night, as they face the Beavers in Part II of a doubleheader. The ‘Bows will take on Nevada first at 5 p.m., before taking on OSU at 7.