Softball Race Enters Stretch Run
Softball Weekly Release No. 13
Hawai’i is in solid position to win the Big West softball crown, but Long Beach State and Pacific continue to give chase as the regular season winds down to the final two weeks.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• Hawai’i lost two of three games to Long Beach State last weekend to tighten the Big West race with two weeks to go in the regular season. The Rainbow Wahine still control their own destiny as they lead the 49ers by two and one-half games and Pacific by three games.
• LBSU has three conference games remaining on its schedule, while UH and Pacific have six. The 49ers close out their conference slate with a home series against UC Davis this week, while the Rainbow Wahine host UC Santa Barbara and the Tigers travel to Cal State Fullerton. UH can clinch the regular season title with a sweep of the Gauchos and one loss by the Tigers.
• UH senior pitcher Kaia Parnaby’s quest to take sole control of the Big West single-season record for wins was put on hold when a one-hop comebacker in Friday’s game against LBSU ricocheted off her face and removed her from the game and the rest of the series. She is 34-4 on the season, with her win total equalling the mark Cal Poly Pomona’s Rhonda Wheatley set in 1987. Prior to her injury, Parnaby recorded two strikeouts against LBSU to cement her place in Big West history as just the third hurler to collect 300 K’s in a season. Parnaby has fanned 301 hitters in 2013.
• Long Beach State head coach Kim Sowder moved closer to collecting her 100th career Big West win after the 49ers became the first league school to take a series from the Rainbow Wahine. Sowder is now 96-48 (.667) in Big West games. Meanwhile, UH mentor Bob Coolen is two wins away from reaching No. 100. As the head coach during UH’s first tour of the Big West (1992-96), he compiled an 83-81 league record. He is now 98-84 with an opportunity at reaching the milestone this week.
• Four schools have already exceeded their win total from last season, led by a Cal State Northridge resurgence. The Matadors have won 21 games in 2013, a plus-11 improvement from 2012. Additionally, Cal Poly is +6 in the win column (13 in 2012, 19 in 2013), Cal State Fullerton +3 (20 to 23) and Long Beach State +3 (29 to 32).
• UC Riverside tops the Big West with 82 stolen bases this season. Senior Ariel Shore leads the conference with 24 swipes, while teammates junior Dionne Anderson and senior Kayla White have tallied 19 and 18 to rank third and fourth in the conference, respectively.
• Pacific needs two wins to reach the 30-win plateau for the third straight season and the 13th time during the tenure of Brian Kolze, who is in his 21st season at the helm of the Tigers.
• BigWest.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West’s ten member institutions. Now in its eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women’s volleyball as well as men’s and women’s basketball. Also covered are select contests in men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and Big West Conference Championships. Head to this week for weekly event schedules.