By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
To say the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s start was strong would be an understatement. Try a 10-run first inning on for size.
But if the Vulcans thought it was going to be easy, Notre Dame de Namur’s Jenna Bassler had other ideas. By the end of the doubleheader, the Vulcans were hoping to come back even stronger today.
The teams traded TKOs on Saturday at UHH softball field, with Bassler stifling the Vulcans during a 9-0 loss in the second game.
“You have to tip your hat to her; she did a nice job against us,” UHH coach Jaime Wallin said. “Whenever you (eight-run rule) someone you think it’s going to be an easy go. It’s not an easy go against this team.”
In the opener, Rebecca Lee, Emily Greene and Melanie Morelos each drove in three runs to back Ashley Nelson as UHH (9-8, 4-4 Pacific West Conference) won 12-3.
The fun stopped against Bassler (3-3), who struck out nine and yielded only four hits and two walks.
“In the first game they were giving it to us,” said Greene, who managed to go 2 for 3 against Bassler. “In the second game, the girl was working around the zone and throwing tough pitches.”
Lee, who played left field instead of her customary shortstop, increased her average to .611 with three more hits, including a double, all in first game. Bassler kept her at bay – sort of – hitting Lee twice and inducing her to flyout to deep center.
The Vulcans and Argonauts (8-9, 1-3) play another noon doubleheader today.
“We talked a little about adjustments and things I want them to work on this evening,” Wallin said. “Notre Dame de Namur is a good team, we’re a good team and I think we’re capable of taking two tomorrow. We need to come out here with a renewed sense of focus and purpose.”
Starter Hannah Peterson (3-3) was hurt by an error and was knocked out in the second inning as Notre Dame de Namur scored four runs. It tacked on two in the fourth and three in the fifth against Alyse Harris to end UHH’s afternoon prematurely.
Greene, who hits No. 3 behind the red-hot Lee, ended the opener with a walk-off home run in the sixth inning, and she also had a double among her three hits.
“I’ve been getting pretty good pitches to hit,” Greene said. “The past two years they were throwing me outside, so I’ve kind of adjusted to the conference and what they’re throwing me. I need to get (base runners) in, they always get on for me.”
Nelson (5-4) went the distance, allowing five hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
Kayla Anderson homered off Nelson, while Sara Montecino went deep off Harris. Shelby Reali (3-6) got only two outs in the Vulcans’ 10-run barrage during their first at-bat of the afternoon.
“That’s always fun,” Greene said.
At UHH Softball Field
NDNU 030 000 – 3 5 1
UHH (10)00 002 – 12 11 0
NDNU 040 23 – 9 14 0
UHH 000 00 – 0 4 2