By Rob Garcia
After two pitchers’ duels on March 10, the bats awoke on both sides on March 11 as Academy of Art Softball and Hawaii Pacific combined to score 13 runs in the first game then 22 in the second, splitting the day’s Pacific West Conference action. The second contest shifted dramatically in the fourth when HPU plated six to go ahead before ART U added five in their half and the teams exchanged three-run surges in the sixth, eventually leading to a 12-10 final in favor of the home team. Leading the way, sophomore infielder Cassandra Mittman (Web Design & New Media) finished the day 6-for-8 with a team-high five runs batted in.
Mittman started the second contest by turning a big double play to help get sophomore Haley Arnold-Jolley (Interior Architecture & Design) out of danger in the first inning then she turned around and drove in the second of two runs on singles in the bottom of the frame. The 2-0 lead was doubled in the third on back-to-back run-scoring singles by senior utility Dominique Seva’aetasi (Interior Architecture & Design) and Mittman, but the Sharks then made a big push ahead with six runs in the fourth.
Trailing 6-4, the lead soon changed hands when freshman infielder Gracie Boyd (Fashion Merchandising) drove in the first run of her career on a sacrifice fly to spark what became a five-run rally in the fourth. The surge included a two-run double by junior catcher Lauryn Henderson (Game Development) then run-scoring singles from Seva’aetasi and Mittman thereafter for a 9-6 ART U advantage.
Pushing the envelope once more in the sixth, Hawaii Pacific had two consecutive doubles drive in runs as part of a game-tying rally. However, the Urban Knights had the answer once more with one run on an error, another on a Seva’aetasi grounder, and then a 12-9 margin on junior infielder and fashion design major Cecilia Lopez’s groundout. Although HPU got one back and brought the potential winning run to the plate, senior pitcher Hannah Rose Balke (Motion Pictures & Television) induced the final out for the 37th win of her career (now second in program history).