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McKibbon caps four-run comeback, Pena homer helps HSU win pair
LAS VEGAS – The early season timely hitting continued for Humboldt State on Friday with its third pair of wins in four days.
In the first HSU game, Alison McKibbon capped a four-run bottom of the seventh inning comeback to defeat Hawaii at Hilo, 12-11. With the big hit of the night contest, Julie Pena made it a perfect day’s results with a key two-run fifth frame home run in a 4-3 victory over Montana State Billings.
“It was two good wins today against region teams. These are games we needed to win,” said Jacks head coach Shelli Sarchett. “The girls played hard for 14 innings and never gave up.
The Jacks bats were abundant to begin their time in Las Vegas with an 18-hit attack with four hits coming in the comeback seventh.
In the home seventh trailing by three runs, HSU had six batters in a row reach base after a leadoff out. Following a Sarah Fox bases loaded walk, McKibbon lined the game-winning single up the middle to score Hollingsworth for the 12-11 come from behind victory over Hawaii at Hilo.
“It was a great win against Hilo. These girls never gave up! They fought hard until the end,” pointed out Sarchett. “McKibbon was clutch with the game-winning RBI. It is great to see McKibbon hit the ball like she did.”
HSU saw six players have multi-hit efforts. Hannah Williams led the way with a 4-for-4, two home runs and four RBI game. Randall and McKibbon both blasted two-run homers as part of each of their multiple hit efforts with a combined five RBI.
Darian Harris added a double and two singles with two hits from both Fox and Pena.
The Jacks scored runs in six of the seven frames.
In the third inning, the Vulcans (1-4) went ahead 5-1 with a grand slam home run after a pair of Jacks errors.
Williams, Dani Randall and McKibbon pounded two-run round-trippers apiece with one coming in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings to tie the game, 7-7.
Hawaii at Hilo bounced back in front with three tallies in the visiting sixth, before Williams lined her second homer down the left field line.
Behind 11-8 in the final at bat, Harris doubled, Randall singled and Williams walked to load the bases. Tiffany Hollingsworth was hit by a pitch, Pena singled through shortstop and Fox walk to each plate a run to knot the game again, 11-11.
McKibbon stepped in for her third hit of the game with a line drive up the middle for the fifth HSU victory.
Katie Obbema logged the final 1.2 innings for her third win of the year where she gave up three hits and fanned one.
Madison Williams started, but went only two innings and allowed two hits and three earned runs. Liz Perez covered the middle 3.1 frames strong. The sophomore gave up five hits and one earned tally.
“Our pitchers had a rough game against Hilo,” noted the HSU coach. “Maddie is young and still learning. She will only get stronger. Perez came in and threw well. Obbema finished off strong.”
Vs. Montana State Billings
In the late night affair, HSU struck first and never trailed in the contest with Montana State Billings.
Leading 2-1 in the top of the fifth, Hollingsworth singled through the right side and came home Pena’s two-run home run to right center for a three-run advantage.
“Julie came up big with a two-run shot to give us the insurance we needed,” said Sarchett. “We have a strong offense and these girls know that they can come back at any time.”
Trailing 4-2 in the home seventh, The Stingers (4-1) plated one run and had the tying runner on third when Obbema struck out the next batter to seal the Jacks win, 4-3.
“Against MSUB, Katie (Obbema) was throwing hard today and she was able to get the outs when needed,” added the Jacks director. “The pitcher for MSUB throws hard, bet we were able to get the hits when we needed them.”
Obbema ran her early season record to 4-0 with her second complete game. She struck out a season-high seven, while allowing eight hits and one earned run.
Along with Pena’s home run, Walker doubled and scored as the other HSU extra base hit. Fox and Hollingsworth lined two singles apiece and McKibbon a run-scoring hit. Andrea Chavez added one single.
HSU will start its second day of the tournament against Simon Fraser at 11:30 a.m., before facing New Mexico Highlands with a 4:30 p.m. first pitch.