Hawai'i wins two in WAC tourney
Justine Smethurst yesterday pitched her third perfect game of the season in an 8-0 rout of Louisiana Tech, and Alana Power slammed a two-run double in a 3-1 victory over San Jose State to boost Hawai'i into today's third round of the double-elimination Western Athletic Conference softball tournament in Fresno, Calif.
"It's a nice scenario," said UH coach Bob Coolen, whose team plays the winner of today's Fresno State-Louisiana Tech game.
Smethurst pitched a five-inning perfect game, striking out 11. No hit ball went past the infield. The game was abbreviated because of the eight-run mercy rule.
Although tradition calls for a pitcher not to be told of a perfect game while it is in progress, catcher Kristi Yoshizawa yelled to her teammates in the fifth: "We're getting a run and a perfect game."
Yoshizawa then drove in UH's eighth run.
"I felt really good," said Smethurst, a freshman from Australia.
"That has to be a record (for perfect games in a season)," Coolen said. "I've never heard of what she's done so far."
After eating a meal of a Subway sandwich and taking a short nap at the nearby hotel, Smethurst returned to Bulldog Diamond to pitch against No. 2 seed San Jose State.
"She looked fresh, so I decided to have her pitch again," Coolen said.
Smethurst pitched another five innings, leaving with a 1-0 deficit.
But leading off the top of the seventh, UH's Tyleen Tausaga hit the tying home run over the right-field bleachers, a drive of nearly 250 feet.
"I was going all the way," Tausaga said. "Alana (Power, the designated player) told me, 'Do anything to get on base.' I looked at her, like, 'I know what you mean, but I'm hitting it over.' I didn't care if it went over by 1 inch or 10 feet, as long as it went over. I was trying to get the team up."
While rounding third, Coolen said, Tausaga yelled to her teammates: "We're not going home Sunday." The tournament winner earns a berth in the NCAA Regionals.
Kaulana Gould hit a one-out single and, one out later, advanced to third on Kate Robinson's single. Robinson moved to second on the play on left fielder Mandy Winkler's error. That brought up Power, who has been warm-and-cold this season. Would the Spartans walk Power to set up a potential forceout at each base?
"Oh, gosh, no," Power said. "Not with my stats."
Power then hit a drive that struck the base of the wall in left-center, scoring Gould and Robinson to break a 1-all tie.
"It was my favorite pitch," Power said. "It was high and inside."
Tausaga said: "She's had her ups and downs, but she came up big. We all needed that."