Valencia ices Penguin in sweep

Valencia ices Penguin in sweep

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – BYU-Hawaii softball rode the arm of junior pitcher Destyni Valencia to a doubleheader sweep of Dominican on Friday at Penguin Field. The Seasiders (10-28, 6-22 PacWest) won the first game 6-1 before holding on for a 2-1 win in the second game with the Penguins (12-27, 9-15 PacWest).

Valencia (6-14) pitched two complete games allowing only four hits and one earned run in each game, while striking out seven batters on the day. Freshman third baseman Lizabelle Talataina continued her strong play with her third homerun of the week on 5-for-8 hitting with two RBI and a run. Senior first baseman Whitley Haimin added her first career homerun on a 1-for-3 performance in the first game. Junior outfielder Brandy Karl added an RBI in each game, while she hit .333 (2-for-6) in the doubleheader.

Game one

After neither team could muster a hit in the first inning, Brittany Vasquez drew a walk and Kalynn Latu was hit by a pitch to put a runner in scoring position in the top of the second inning. Karl then sent a ball right back up the middle allowing Vasquez to come home and put the Seasiders on the board. Valencia then retired the side in the bottom of the frame including a strikeout to keep BYU-Hawaii ahead 1-0.

Talataina then broke open the gates in the third inning with a line drive well over the left-field fence to make it 2-0 with one out. Vasquez followed with a single down the right-field line and Latu was again hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Whitney Gustafson drew a walk to load the bases for Sarah Captain. Captain grounded to second and Vasquez scored as the throw sailed over the catcher's head and Latu crossed the plate as the ball made its way toward the first base dugout to give BYU-Hawaii the 4-0 lead.

Valencia sat down all three Penguin batters in the bottom of the third to keep the momentum going. Haimin stepped to the plate with two outs in the top of the fourth and sent the ball just over the left-field fence to extend the lead to 5-0.

After two consecutive ground outs in the bottom of the fourth, centerfielder Tiffany Smith prevented a sure double with an over-the-shoulder grab just short of the warning track in straightway center field.

The Seasiders loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth after Smith reached on a perfectly placed bunt single, but the Penguins stranded the runners with two consecutive outs. Karl then robbed two more potential Dominican hits to left center making two spectacular diving catches.

Dominican's Kayla Rodriguez broke up the no-hitter attempt in the sixth with a leadoff single and scored a run with a two-out single.

Talataina extended the lead back to five in the top of the seventh with a single through the left side to bring home Karl. Valencia allowed one more single in the seventh, but left the runner stranded on first to record the win.

Game two

The Seasiders looked to keep things going in the top of the first in the second game after Haimin walked and Talataina singled to right field to put her in scoring position. The Penguins escaped the jam with a groundout to first. Valencia picked up where she left off not allowing a hit in the bottom of the frame to keep the game scoreless.

Sophomore catcher Makaela Williamson led off the top of the second with a single through the left side and Latu moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Captain then singled to right to put runners on the corners and Karl sent one through the left side to score one. Tiffany Smith hit a ball hard down the third-base line that deflected off the third baseman's glove into the left-field corner to bring home Captain, but Karl was thrown out the plate to give the Seasiders a 2-0 lead.

Valencia kept the lead strong not allowing a hit until the bottom of the fifth inning. Rodriguez again broke up the no-hitter with a single to left field and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Valencia held strong and left her stranded with the help of her defense to keep the lead at two.

Talataina was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth inning and advanced to second on a passed ball. Williamson then singled up the middle to put runners on the corners, but the Penguins escaped the jam again to keep within striking position. With two outs in the bottom of the frame, a walk and a single by Dominican's Taylor Munoz threatened to cut into the lead. Valencia proved up to the challenge striking the final batter out swinging to head to the seventh.

Alexa Barrett singled to shallow center on a line drive with two outs in the top of the seventh and Haimin walked, but the Seasiders were not able to add to their lead. The Penguins put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the inning and a Tori Johnson single to center cut the lead in half. Valencia buckled down again with the tying run in scoring position striking the next batter out looking and then forcing a groundout to second to end the game.

BYU-Hawaii will wrap up the week with a doubleheader against Holy Names beginning at noon PDT Saturday at Thrasher Park in San Leandro, California. Live Stats will be available online.

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