HPU wins 1-0 in 10 innings Storm washes out UH opener
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By Bo Allegrucci
Special to The Advertiser
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The first team to score won, and it's becoming a week of firsts for the Hawai'i Pacific softball team.
The Sea Warriors defeated Angelo State, 1-0, in 10 innings yesterday to advance to the third round of the NCAA Division II softball championship, and a chance to play for the national championship. Hawai'i Pacific will play an undetermined opponent at 9:30 a.m. (Hawai'i time) tomorrow.
HPU, ranked No. 3 in the NFCA Top 25 poll, is 2-0 in the double-elimination tournament and 48-8 overall.
HPU's first extra-inning game of the season slowly became its first night game of the season, and the Sea Warriors are suddenly enjoying their first trip to the softball elite eight after a long trip getting here.
"It was a very good game and I think the fans got their money's worth," Hawai'i Pacific coach Bryan Nakasone said. "It's too bad somebody had to lose, but I'm glad it wasn't us.
"We're in a good position now, but so is Valdosta (State). I'm glad we're in this position and we can get a day's rest. Our challenge was getting here, and now we're caught up on our sleep and we can just go out and play ball and have fun."
Valdosta State (Ga.) is 2-0 in the other bracket and also will not play again until tomorrow.
The two bracket winners will meet in the championship game Monday at 9 a.m. (Hawai'i time)
Yesterday's game was a marathon — 2 hours, 15 minutes — compared to Thursday's 90-minute, first-game win for HPU. Senior right-hander Sherise Musquiz turned in another crafty performance, and the defense behind her spent the day making great plays to kill Angelo State rallies.
Musquiz allowed six hits in 10 innings, striking out four and walking two, while making 127 pitches. The line for Angelo State's Chelsea Nelson was almost identical: six hits, no earned runs, five strikeouts and one walk on 127 pitches.
Nelson retired the first seven HPU batters, while Musquiz allowed just two hits and two walks through the first five frames. Neither team got a runner past second in the first six innings.
"I don't know what their coach was seeing, but he kept calling out my change-up, so I started going with a lot more low fastballs," Musquiz said. "They have a good hitting team but I just wanted to keep it low and let my defense work."
In a game where the defenses did a lot of work, the play of the game probably came in the bottom of the seventh.
Angelo State center fielder Brittany Astle led off with a single to center and took second on Chelsey Walters' sacrifice bunt. Three pitches later, Megan Pumphrey socked what looked like a game-winning hit to deep center field, but Hawai'i Pacific's Kozy Toriano turned over her glove (left) shoulder and reached out at the last second to grab the screaming line drive.
Nelson retired 12 straight Sea Warriors from the sixth through the 10th, but Hawai'i Pacific finally got a runner to third base in the top of the 10th. Musquiz and Toriano stroked back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out. But Musquiz's courtesy runner — freshman Pomaikai Kalakau — was inexplicably picked off third in a rundown following ball four to Caira Pires.
Instead of the bases loaded and one out, Toriano alertly took third to keep runners on the corners with two down.
With Breanne Patton at the plate, Pires' courtesy runner — freshman Malia Killam — broke for second base, and Angelo State catcher Kacie Easley's throw to second went into right-center field.
Toriano scampered home from third with the game's only run.
Angelo State, ranked No. 19, is 1-1 in the tournament and 49-14 overall.