Rainbow Wahine fall apart in doubleheader sweep

Apr. 30—A promising start to the day quickly unraveled, as did Hawaii's hopes in the Big West softball race.

A promising start to the day quickly unraveled, as did Hawaii's hopes in the Big West softball race.

The Rainbow Wahine took a two-run lead into the sixth inning of the opener of Saturday's doubleheader with Long Beach State, with left-hander Brianna Lopez holding Beach without a hit to that point.

Long Beach State leadoff hitter Sara Olson broke it up with a home run on the first pitch of an eventual six-run inning that saw UH use four pitchers before recording its first out of the frame. The Beach outburst was aided by two errors on a play that allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score and two bases-loaded walks.

Long Beach State then rolled the momentum of the 6-2 win into an 8-0 victory in five innings in the second game, which included Olson's second homer of the day, to sweep the doubleheader and hand UH its second Big West series loss of the season.

"It just all fell apart " was UH coach Bob Coolen's succinct summary of the afternoon at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

The Rainbow Wahine (29-18, 12-9 Big West ) fell five games behind conference leader Cal State Fullerton with six games to play and will travel to Orange County to face the Titans this week. They'll close the regular season at home with a series against UC Davis the following week.

"We didn't play to the best of our abilities, I think we all know that, " UH shortstop Xiao Gin said. "But I think it's going to push us to be better the next two series, to dial in and focus on these next six games."

Long Beach State (25-21, 15-6 ) recovered from travel delays on Thursday and a 7-3 loss to UH in Friday's series opener to remain two games behind the Titans.

The Beach had their original flight from Long Beach to Honolulu canceled and instead drove to Los Angeles for a flight to Kona. The team spent another six hours on the Big Island while its connecting flight was repeatedly pushed back before finally landing on Oahu on Thursday night.

"All the canceled flights messed with us and carried into yesterday, when our energy wasn't there as much, " Olson said. "So today we put it upon ourselves to bring our energy and not let them roll over us again."

Lopez was rolling through the first five innings on Saturday, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters she faced, and got offensive support when right fielder Maycen Gibbs hit her first career home run in the fourth inning and Maya Nakamura scored on Izabella Martinez's sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Lopez walked the first two batters of the fifth inning but shut down the threat. But Olson led off the sixth with her third home run of the season to spark the Beach.

"I think we just went in there more aggressive, " Olson said. "So the first pitch that I saw that I thought was good I swung at and that started the whole rally."

LBSU pounced again in the second game with a four-run top of the second on five hits and another UH error. Olson led off the fifth with a homer to center and the Beach batted around in another four-run surge. LBSU's Eryka Gonzalez allowed a hit in each of the first four innings but completed the five-inning shutout, while UH freshman Key-annah Campbell-Pua, who went the distance in Friday's win, took the loss.