College softball: Vulcans continue homer-hitting ways in split

Instead of worrying about what could have been, UH-Hilo softball coach Callen Perreira is focused on what could be.

The Vulcans clubbed four more home runs Thursday before ultimately being hurt by one in the end, losing to No. 8 Colorado Mesa 8-5 and a split on Day 1 at the Dixie State Easton Classic in St. George, Utah.

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Brinell Kaleikini got the day started right for UHH (6-3) with a first-inning grand in a 6-5 win against Western Washington as senior ace Cyanne Fernandez moved to 5-0.

Kaleikini also went deep against Mesa, along with Waiakea graduate Skylar Thomas, a freshman, and junior transfer Isabelle Mejia, who leads the team with four homers

“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” Perreira said of a team that has outhomered the competition 13-7. “A lot of freshmen in the lineup, with three players missing to injuries, and they are contributing and learning at the same time.”

As for the what could have been, Thomas’ two-run shot in the fourth gave UH-Hilo a 4-2 lead against Mesa in the fourth, but the Mavericks (6-0) charged back when AnnMarie Torres hit a three-run blast off Mejia, who relieved Leah Gonzalez and took the loss.

The Vulcans close out their season-opening trip Friday with games against Western New Mexico and Fort Lewis.

“If we can sweep an 8-3 record on the trip would be very good and we could come home with a lot of confidence,” Perreira said. “We’re playing some good teams and the girls are rising to the occasion.”

Fernandez wasn’t as sharp as she’s been but she hung tough and didn’t walk a batter, allowing 10 hits and five runs with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Gonzalez came on to get five outs for the save to hold off the Vikings (6-0), mounted a comeback after Mejia two-run single in the fourth made it 6-0.

Fernandez ERA stands at 2.28, and she logged 30 2/3 innings.

“Cyanne had a little trouble, but she’s been outstanding the whole trip and you’re not going to be perfect every time,” Perreira said.

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In the first game, Kaleikini and Mejia finished with two hits, but despite three homers against Mesa, the Vulcans mustered only five hits total. In five innings, Gonzalez yielded eight hits and five runs (three earned) with a walk and a strikeout.

McKenzie Surface (4-0) struck out eight in a complete game for the Mavericks, who got eight hits from the top four players in their lineup.

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