LAIE, Hawaii – Freshman infielder Courtney Hiruko led BYU-Hawaii softball from the plate and the Seasiders' team effort propelled them to a 4-3 win in game one and a 3-1 victory in the night cap against Pacific.
"I'm really happy for the girls," BYU-Hawaii head coach Alexandra Shamo said. "Our team came out ready to play today and we finally put the pieces together. It's been a progression since our season started last week. Our pitcher's held strong and kept us in the games. Our defense played well and on offense we did all the little things needed to get runs.
Hiruko went 4-for-5 from the plate with two runs, two walks and a steal in the doubleheader. Sophomore outfielder Josey Walker finished with a .333 batting average and two RBI on the day, including BYU-Hawaii's (2-6) first homerun of the season.
Junior right-handed pitcher Chelsie Childs (1-0) got her first start of the season in game one, pitching all nine innings and allowing only three earned runs on eight hits. Freshman left-handed pitcher Brittany Vasquez (1-2) recorded the first victory of her collegiate career giving up only one run on six hits in a complete game in the night cap.
Pacific (2-2) opened the scoring in the first inning after Quirena Natividad singled, stole second, took third when the throw by the catcher went into the outfield and then went home as the ball sailed out of play. After a clean sheet in the bottom of the frame, the Boxers added a second run in the top of the second inning with a double down the left-field line and a single up the middle.
The Seasiders answered in the bottom of the second starting with a lead-off walk by Vasquez. Lizabelle Talataina then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to second. After Makaela Williamson was hit by a pitch, Jessica Nicholes drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases. A hard hit by Sarah Captain to third base allowed Vasquez to cross and pull the Seasiders back within one at 2-1.
The pitchers then took over the next two innings with only one hit between the two teams. In the top of the fifth, Pacific led off the inning with a homerun that bounced off the top of the left-field fence to extend the lead back to two.
Sarah Captain led off the bottom of the frame with a single to left-center field and was moved over by Whitley Haimin's sacrifice bunt. Walker then doubled down the left-field line to bring in Captain and make it 3-2 in favor of the Boxers. After Hiruko and Kalynn Latu walked to load the bases, Vasquez hit a hard liner to short, which allowed Captain to cross the plate and tie the game on a fielder's choice.
The Boxers had a chance in the top of the sixth after a double put a runner in scoring position with two outs, but Childs came through for BYU-Hawaii getting the next batter to fly out to left. The Seasiders had a chance to take the lead for the first time with runners on first and second with two outs, but a groundout to second ended the threat.
Childs continued her strong showing allowing only one hit in the seventh and eighth inning to keep the Seasiders in business, but BYU-Hawaii was unable to plate a run in the bottom of either inning despite having the winning run in scoring position.
The Boxers threw one more punch with a one-out double in the top of the ninth, but Childs turned a beautiful, inning-ending double play after snagging a hard line drive back to the circle and tossing it over to second. Hiruko led off the bottom of the frame with a single and Latu bunted her into scoring position. Vasquez then singled up the middle and the center fielder struggled to grab it, allowing Hiruko to run home and end the game.
Vasquez started the Seasiders off on the right foot in the second game retiring the first three batters of the game. Walker then took the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence to take the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Vasquez made quick work in the second inning facing only four batters, but the Seasiders were unable to add to their lead in the bottom of the frame.
The Boxers looked to tie the game with back-to-back singles to start the top of the third, but Vasquez forced three-consecutive groundouts to leave them stranded. Another single by Hiruko with one out in the bottom of the third was followed by a double from Sarah Captain to put runners on second and third. Vasquez singled up the middle to bring in one and give BYU-Hawaii a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth.
Pacific finally got on the board in the fourth using a walk and a triple to right-center to cut the lead to 2-1, but the momentum was short lived. With Whitney Gustafson on second with two outs in the bottom of the frame, Walker singled through the left side and Hiruko singled down the right-field line to extend the lead back to two.
It was all the room Vasquez needed allowing only one hit in the fifth and sixth innings. Pacific had one more chance putting runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Walker easily tracked a fly ball in center field to end the game.
The Seasiders will have a week off before their next doubleheader against Chaminade on Friday beginning at 4:30 p.m. HST at Patsy T. Mink Central O'ahu Regional Park in Waipahu, Hawaii.