Nevada Tops Hawaii, Advances to Championship
HONOLULU The Comeback Kids did it again.
The Nevada softball team was able to pull out another late-inning comeback when it needed it the most. Down 1-0 to Hawaii and facing elimination from the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the Wolf Pack scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Rainbow Wahine. With the victory came a spot in the championship Saturday against No. 4 seed Louisiana Tech. Nevada, the tourney’s top seed, would need to beat the Lady Techsters twice to claim the championship and the automatic NCAA Regional berth that comes with it.
Nevada improved to 42-15 with the victory and completed a season sweep over Hawaii, last year’s WAC champions.
Katie Holverson got the victory against Hawaii after another stellar outing. The sophomore tossed a complete-game two-hitter, striking out eight with two walks. The only blip in her performance was a first-inning run that Hawaii nearly made stand up.
The Wolf Pack’s bats were silenced for six inning as the Pack could only must three singles in the first six frames. But in the seventh, the Pack got to Hawaii pitcher Kate Robinson.
Sam Bias got it started with a leadoff single up the middle and Kelsey Starr followed with another single up the middle. Junior Katie Stith came on to deliver a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third. Michelle Beach then came off the bench to pinch hit and Beach drew a walk to load the bases.
Nevada then pulled another pinch hitter off the bench and Sarah Hunt delivered an RBI single straight up the middle to score Bias and tie the game at 1. That spelled the end of the day for Robinson as Hawaii inserted Jessica Morton to face Nevada freshman Noelle Micka.
Micka sliced a line drive into the gap and scored senior Kristin Stith, who was pinch-running for Starr, for the winning run.
This marked the second time this season that Nevada put together a seventh-inning comeback against Robinson and the Rainbow Wahine. In Reno in April, Nevada trailed 6-2 and scored five in the seventh inning to beat Hawaii 7-6.
Now the Pack must beat a red-hot Louisiana Tech team twice for the title. The Pack swept the Lady Techsters in three games in Reno earlier this season but La. Tech won Friday’s game, 4-3, over Nevada.
For more on the Nevada softball team, please visit the Wolf Pack’s “WAC Tournament Central” page at www.nevadawolfpack.com. The feature includes stories, box scores, pictures and a daily blog from senior infielder Kristin Stith.