Kaia Parnaby hurled a three-hit shutout to lead No. 20 Hawaii to a 3-0 win over Minnesota and remain alive in the NCAA softball tournament’s Seattle Regional on Saturday.
In earlier action Saturday in the four-team, double-elimination tournament in Seattle, No. 11 Washington beat Hawaii 2-0 and Minnesota eliminated Portland State 5-0.
In today’s title game at 10 a.m., it’s Washington (40-15) vs. Hawaii (45-12). The Rainbow Wahine must beat the Huskies twice to claim the championship. If Hawaii wins the first game, a second game will be played at 3:30 p.m.
The regional champion advances to a super regional next week.
Parnaby, a hard-throwing southpaw from Australia, improved to 39-6 overall with the win over Minnesota, the second time in the regional that she beat the Golden Gophers.
Parnaby, who struck out four, hit a batter and didn’t walk anyone, outdueled Minnesota ace Sara Moulton (32-11). The junior right-hander struck out 10 and gave up a walk in a strong performance. That followed a one-hit, 13-strikeout effort earlier in the day in the 5-0 win over Portland State.
The Golden Gophers finished their season with a 36-19 record.
Hawaii scored two runs in the top of the third inning on Kayla Wartner’s two-run triple and added to the lead on a solo homer by Leisha Li’ili’i.
Jessica Iwata and Alyssa Villapando each had two hits to lead the Rainbow Wahine. No one paired hits for Minnesota.
Hawaii coach Bob Coolen said he was pleased with the clutch win.
“We came out with a little more fortitude and needed to attack the pitchers,” he said. “It was nice to get those early runs.”
Parnaby will have less than 24 hours to get ready for Washington again. Coolen is confident the southpaw will be ready for the challenge.
“Right now, it’s the Kaia Show and everybody is riding her back,” he said.
Washington 2, Hawaii 0: Kaitlin Inglesby outdueled Parnabyin a winners’ bracket game earlier Saturday.
Inglesby (22-6) pitched a two-hitter, spacing two Hawaii singles over seven strong innings to earn the win. She struck out nine and walked one, using an effective fastball and clever changeup to keep the Rainbow Wahine off-balance throughout the game.
Parnaby also went the distance and took the loss. She struck out four and walked four while giving up six hits.
The Huskies scored their two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Inglesby walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Jerrin Faasua, who then scored on an RBI double by Kylee Lahners. She later scored on a Jennie McNeill single to make it 2-0.
Keiki Carlos and Sharla Kliebenstein had Hawaii’s base hits.
Hawaii open the regional Friday with a 3-0 win over Minnesota (39-18) while host Washington topped Portland State 2-1.
Hawaii 002 100 0 — 3 6 1
Minnesota 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Hawaii 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
Washington 000 002 x — 2 6 0