The University of Hawaii softball team lost its ace during a scary play in the circle, and then poured it on at the plate.
Jessica Iwata hit a two-run home run, Jasmine Zamora was 3 for 4 and Kelly Majam scored three runs Friday as the Rainbow Wahine opened a meaningful Big West series with a 7-4 victory against Long Beach State in Honolulu.
Pitcher Kaia Parnaby was an out away from being eligible for her league record-tying 35th win this season when Darian Tautalafua hit a hard one-hopper that ricocheted off Parnaby’s glove and hit her in the face. She left the game, and did not return.
Down its workhorse, Hawaii (38-8, 15-1 Big West) made sure reliever Loie Kesterson had plenty of run support, scoring three times in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead.
Iwata’s sixth home run of the season to left highlighted the inning, and Kayla Wartner had an RBI single. Wartner, Leishi Liilii, Keiki Carlos and Majam each had two hits, and the Wahine had 12 in all.
Majam tripled and scored in the first, and Carlos plated a run in the third with a single. Iwata's sacrifice fly later in the inning put Hawaii ahead 3-0.
The 49ers (30-20, 12-7) fell out of a tie for second with Pacific and are 4 ½ games behind first-place UH.
Hawaii will try to distance itself further in a 2 p.m. doubleheader today.
Parnaby worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and an unearned run, and her two strikeouts made her just the second pitcher in school history to reach 300 in a season.
Kesterson (2-2) finished the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing a two-run home run to Ashley Holmes with two outs in the seventh. She yielded seven hits and three runs.
Shayna Kimbrough was 2 for 4 and scored two runs for Long Beach State, which hit into four double plays.
Amanda Hansen (9-7) allowed 10 hits and seven runs (six earned) for the 49ers, with two walks and two strikeouts.