Cyanne Fernandez continues to size them up and sit them down.
UH-Hilo’s softball team rode the pitching of their senior ace and a 10-hit attack to take the first game of a nonconference doubleheader against Central Washington, 9-1 on Friday at McKinley High School in Honolulu
The Wildcats, favored to win their third consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference title, bounced back to win the afternoon game 7-4.
Fernandez gave up a run and three hits in the first inning, and then settled in to allow just one the rest of the way, keeping the Wildcats off the scoreboard. She improved to 7-0, allowing just four hits in the six-inning TKO, striking out three without walking a batter.
The Vulcans (9-4) scored three runs in the first inning, thanks in part to a two-run single by Markie Okamoto. UH-Hilo would add two more plate crossings in the third inning and would seal it in the sixth on an RBI hit by Bailey Gaspar, a two-run double by Isabelle Mejia and a game clinching two-run single by Brinell Kaleikini.
Mejia went 3-for-4 in the game and scored three times. Kaleikini had two hits, scored twice and drove in two runs. Kiarra Lincoln also had a pair of hits.
In the second game, Gaspar hit a two-run homer to get the Vulcans off to a good start, but the lead changed hands five times before the Wildcats put the game away.
UH Hilo had a 2-1 lead after Gaspar’s fifth home run of the season, and they took a 4-3 margin in the third inning after Gaspar doubled and came home on Mejia’s single. Skylar Thomas had a sacrifice fly to bring home Mejia.
But Central came back with a three-run fourth inning, chasing Vulcan starting pitcher Leah Gonzales. Fernandez came back into the game and gave up just one more run in the fifth, but the Vulcans were stymied by Taylor Williams, who came out of the bullpen for five effective innings of work, allowing just three hits and no runs.
Gaspar led the Vulcans in the second game, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a double, home run and two RBIs.
Mejia and Gaspar both had four hits on the day. Fernandez pitched 9.1 innings in the two games, giving up five hits, two earned runs and she struck out five.
The Vulcans return home to prepare for their Pacific West Conference and home opener Saturday against Hawaii Pacific.