LAIE, Hawaii – Courtney Hiruko and Brittany Vasquez sparked the BYU-Hawaii softball offense, but the Seasiders were unable to keep pace with Azusa Pacific falling 9-5 in game one and 14-5 in game two on Friday.
Hiruko hit .500 (3-for-6) with three runs and a stolen base in the doubleheader, while Vasquez was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Josey Walker was .400 from the plate and had a couple of spectacular diving catches in the outfield for BYU-Hawaii (4-16, 2-14 PacWest).
Chelsie Childs pitched three solid innings to begin the first game, but the Cougars (18-14, 10-9 PacWest) were able to get the best of her in the fourth. Vasquez saw the same result helping BYU-Hawaii keep things close through the first three innings before a big fourth inning by Azusa Pacific.
The Cougars opened the scoring early when Madison Hernandez singled to center field to bring Desiree Chavez home from third in the top of the first. Hiruko led off with a walk in the bottom of the frame and advanced to second on a single to left field from Vasquez. Walker then walked to load the bases. Whitley Haimin also walked allowing Hiruko to cross the plate and tie the game, but Azusa Pacific was able to get out of the jam without further damage.
In the second inning, spectacular defensive play helped Childs escape a bases loaded situation, leaving all three runners stranded. In the third inning, Childs allowed only one runner on base to keep the game tied.
Azusa came out swinging in the fourth as Nicki Sprauge singled to left field allowing Chavez to score and Hernandez added a homerun to give the Cougars a 5-1 lead.
Azusa Pacific continued to add to its lead in the top of the fifth, as Oveida doubled through the left side bringing Movedo home to make it a 6-1 game. Chavez then had a sacrifice fly to score one from third and Sprague singled on the next at bat to give the Cougars a seven-run lead.
The Seasiders answered in the bottom of the fifth. Hiruko led off with a single and Vasquez walked to move her into scoring position. Lizabelle Talataina followed with a double to center field to bring home Hiruko. Walker then singled to left field to score another and then stole second to keep two runners in scoring position with one out. Sarah Captain capped off the scoring with a 2-RBI doubled to right field to cut the lead to 8-5 heading into the sixth.
The Cougars added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth, as the Seasiders were unable to keep their offense going in the final two innings.
Vasquez began the game strong in the circle for BYU-Hawaii allowing no hits and one base runner during the first two innings, but the Seasiders were unable to capitalize on offense on their turns at the plate.
Azusa Pacific came alive in the third inning as Sprauge doubled to right field bringing two runners home and Hernandez homered to make it 4-0 heading to the bottom of the frame.
Haimin led off with a double to left center and Makaela Wiliamson then doubled to almost the same spot to put BYU-Hawaii on the board. With one out, Hiruko and Tiffany Smith singled to bring in Williamson and cut the lead to two. Smith and Hiruko then executed a double steal and Vasquez doubled to right field bringing both runners home to tie the game. Talataina then added her second RBI double of the day to give the Seasiders the 5-4 lead heading into the fourth.
The Cougars took control of the game after that scoring six runs in the fourth inning and four runs in the fifth inning to take the 14-5 victory.
BYU-Hawaii and Azusa Pacific will meet for one more set of doubleheaders on Saturday beginning at noon. Live stats will be available online.