By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
The University of Hawaii at Hilo split a softball doubleheader with Grand Canyon on Thursday afternoon in Hilo.
The Pacific West Conference twinbill was played at the Vulcans Field.
The Vulcans (17-13 overall, 8-4 PacWest) prevailed in the opener 5-1 before the Antelopes (19-6, 7-1) fought back to take the second game 6-0.
“We played well in the first game,” UHH coach Jaime Wallin said. “But we kind of waited a long time to put up some runs. In Game 2, Grand Canyon came out fiery and wanted to win. We made too many mistakes and you can’t do that against a quality team.”
In Game 1, Vulcans ace Vanessa Salinas spun a six-hitter and held the dangerous Antelopes to a solo run in the top of the fifth inning. But at the time, she was locked in a pitchers’ duel with Grand Canyon starter Stephanie Pesqueira and that single run gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
But UHH finally woke up offensively in the sixth inning, exploding for five runs off the pesky Pesqueira. The Vulcans combined five hits and took advantage of some Grand Canyon miscues to grab a 5-1 lead. Emily Greene, Arren Nunez and Asha Prithviraj each drove in a run.
Salinas (10-4) went the distance and earned the win. She gave up six hits, walked two and didn’t strike out a batter. Pesqueira pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs, and she took the loss.
Pesqueira and Rebecca Lee each had two hits to lead UHH. Stephanie Smith and Haley Walker had two hits apiece for the Antelopes.
In Game 2, Kiki Sepulveda tossed a one-hit shutout to lead Grand Canyon.
Brandi Wilson had the lone hit for the Vulcans.
At Vulcans Field
GCU 000 010 0 — 1 6 1
UHH 000 005 x — 5 7 1
GCU 101 004 — 6 11 1
UHH 000 000 — 0 1 2