Garcia's Two Home Runs Not Enough For Spartans Against Hawai'i

Devin Caldwell went 2-for-4 with two runs scored against the Rainbow Wahine.

Feb. 20, 2014

Final Stats

Honolulu, Hawai'i -Jessica Garcia belt two home runs, including her first-career grand slam, but the San José State University softball team couldn't match Hawai'i's five long balls and fell, 11-9, in the opening game of the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational, hosted by the Rainbow Wahine, on Thursday, February 20.

"With the exception of Jessica Garcia, we didn't hit well today," San José State head coach Peter Turner said. "We didn't hit the ball firmly, popped up too much and left too many runners on base."

The Rainbow Wahine (8-4) struck quickly against the Spartans. Hawai'i's leadoff hitter, Lindsey Willmon hit her fifth home run of the season for the 1-0 lead in the first.

Hawai'i built upon its lead in the second inning. Three home runs and an RBI-single scored eight for the 9-0 advantage. 

The Spartans (7-4) got on the board in the following frame. With two runners on base, Garcia sent the ball over the left center fence, plating Devin Caldwell and Jessie Hufstetler for the 9-3 score at end the third inning.

San José State wasn't satisfied with its offensive output, however. With one out in the fourth, back-to-back singles by Chelsea Jenner and Caldwell loaded the bases, and Alyssa Martinez drew a walk for the frame's first run. Hufstetler followed the walk with an RBI-single to score Jenner.



But it was Garcia who stole the show. On the second pitch she faced, the senior cleared the bases with the first grand slam of her career to tie the game, 9-9. It was the first time a Spartan hit two home runs in a game since Annica Wolfe's pair against Nevada on May 9, 2012.

"Garcia came up with some big hits tonight," Turner said of the starting catcher. "She moved the ball well and got us back in the game single-handedly."

The game wouldn't stay knotted for long, however. In the bottom of the inning, Hawai'i reclaimed its lead, thanks to Leisha Li'ili'i's two-run blast for the final 11-9 win.

In the loss, Garcia's two hits on three at-bats were both homers, driving in seven runners. Caldwell batted .500 (2-for-4) with two runs scored, and Hufstetler was 1-for-2 with an RBI, scoring a pair of runs.

In 2.0 innings of work, starting Spartan Allison Lang scattered seven hits and allowed eight earned runs, walking two. Berlyn Rippentrop (0-1) suffered the loss for San José State, allowing six hits and three earned runs while fanning two batters. Madison Fish no-hit 0.1 inning with one walk.

Heather Morales (5-2) earned the win for the Rainbow Wahine after scattering two hits and walking nine Spartans in six innings. Loie Kesterson allowed four hits and six earned runs in one inning.

San José State continues play at the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational tomorrow, February 21, facing North Carolina at 2:00 p.m. (HT). Turner commented on what his team must do to beat the Tar Heels tomorrow. "We need to have a good pitching performance so that we don't have to fight from that many runs down," he said. "We also need to have a better first few innings so that we're not playing from behind so deep."

Hawai`i 11, San Jose State 9 (Feb 20, 2014 at Honolulu, Hawai'i)
San Jose State...... 003 600 0 - 9 6 0 (7-4)
Hawai`i............. 180 200 X - 11 13 2 (8-4)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Lang, Allison; RIPPENTROP, Berlyn(3); FISH, Madison(6) and
Garcia, Jessica. Hawai`i - Morales, H.; Kesterson, L(7) and Wartner, K..
Win-Morales, H.(5-2) Loss-RIPPENTROP, Berlyn(0-1)
HR SJSU - Garcia, Jessica 2.
HR UH - Willmon, L.; Carlos, K.; Li`ili`i, L.; Villalpando,; Nakao, K..