Spartans ruin Rainbow Wahine's perfect homestand
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i was a hit from the perfect homestand yesterday. Instead, the Rainbow Wahine left the bases loaded and settled for a softball split with San Jose State.
But when you're on top of the Western Athletic Conference standings, 11 out of 12 on your last homestand ain't bad.
Melissa Coogan (26-9) pitched a three-hitter in a 3-0 UH victory in the opener. It was Coogan's ninth victory and fourth shutout in the last 10 Hawai'i games.
The Spartans terminated the 'Bows' 11-game winning streak by winning the second game, 2-1, in eight innings. Becca Baldridge homered to put San Jose ahead in the first extra inning. Stacey Porter, Kate Judd and Trisha Ramos singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning for UH, but Marie Jackson flied out to deep right to end the game.
"I can't be frustrated with 11-1, no way," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "It's tough to go three sweeps in a row."
Hawai'i's final home games were played before about 200 at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Most stayed after to honor seniors Ramos and Judd. Porter is planning to play on Australia's Olympic team next year and return for her senior season in 2005.
The 'Bows close the regular season with WAC doubleheaders at Louisiana Tech Friday and Saturday. A sweep at LaTech gives UH (32-17, 13-3 WAC) its first WAC championship. Anything less allows Fresno State a shot at catching the Rainbows. Tulsa and the Techsters also still have a shot.
San Jose (22-33, 4-10) became the first WAC team to win in Hawai'i this season. The Spartans' first victory since April 5 came in a strange second game.
After Porter's 13th homer of the season opened the scoring, the Rainbows ran themselves out of a run by turning a double steal attempt into a double play.
San Jose tied it in the fifth when the UH defense came up inches short of two spectacular plays.
In the next inning, usually low-key San Jose State coach Dee Dee Enabenter-Omidji was tossed for arguing when Tara Hall was called out on strikes after getting hit by a Shannon Tabion pitch. The ruling was that Hall leaned into a pitch in the strike zone. The pitch before hit her in the leg, but the umpire ruled she did not try to get out of the way.
"I'm not a complainer, but back on the Mainland coaches say when you come out here, expect strange calls," Enabenter said. "That's what we got. I'm just glad the girls fought for all they got."
Baldridge hit the decisive blast after another controversial call. Carol Forbes (16-14) made it hold up in the bottom of the inning, after SJSU finally got a call its way.
Denise Dahlberg led off for UH with a grounder to short. The throw bounced to first, where Carlie Hill grabbed it on her second stab. Umpires ruled she had possession before Dahlberg got there. An out later Porter and the seniors got their hits too little, too late.
Ultimately, all Coogan needed in the first game was a second-inning home run hit so hard by Judd that the ball landed in the tennis courts about the same time Judd dropped her bat.