Rainbow Wahine flex their muscles in sweep
• Photo gallery: UH softball Saturday
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Continuing its stunning long-ball rampage through the Western Athletic Conference with a crowd-pleasing display of "Power in Pink," the University of Hawai'i softball team swept Louisiana Tech, 8-5 and 9-0, last night before about 1,000 fans at chilly-but-cozy Rainbow Wahine Stadium.
Freshman sensation Kelly Majam broke the WAC record for single season home runs with her 24th blast and another freshman — reigning National Player of the Week Jessica Iwata — had a two-run homer in the first game, and junior Melissa Gonzalez hit two out of the park in the nightcap which was shortened to five innings due to the eight-run rule. UH hit six homers in the doubleheader.
The three-game series sweep improved UH's record to 36-11 overall and 14-0 in the WAC; the Lady Techsters fell to 21-15, 6-6.
"Clearly they've been hitting the ball well all season, and they deserve all the national recognition they're getting," LA Tech coach Sarah Dawson said of the Rainbow Wahine.
Hawai'i already has surpassed team and WAC records for single season home runs, and Majam was not even aware she entered last night tied for the individual conference mark of 23 homers, first set by Fresno State's Christina Clark in 2004.
"We're all really excited, we know we can hit the long ball and we want to break all the records," said Majam, a left-handed center fielder who broke Clark's record with a majestic solo shot over the fence in left-center field with one out in the sixth inning, making the score 8-1. "And we're super excited that we're breaking records and winning at the same time."
UH — now on a 14-game win streak that is the longest in school history — took a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the first game yesterday after three hits and two walks, highlighted by Kanani Pu'u-Warren's two-run single. The Rainbow Wahine made it 7-0 in the fifth after Iwata's two-run homer over the left field fence and Pu'u-Warren's RBI groundout to third.
Louisiana Tech's Kylie Bassett hit a solo home run in the sixth to make it 7-1, but Majam answered in the bottom half of the inning with her record-setting homer.
The Lady Techsters made it interesting in the seventh, leading off with back-to-back home runs by Janna Frandrup and Molly Goza and then making it 8-5 on Bassett's two-run blast over the fence in left off reliever Stephanie Ricketts. But Ricketts got Amberly Waits to strike out on an 0-2 pitch to end the game.
In the second game, Gonzalez gave Hawai'i a 2-0 lead in the third inning with a two-run homer over the left field fence, and the Rainbow Wahine exploded for seven runs in the fifth starting with Iwata's RBI single to center field. That was followed by Gonzalez's three-run homer to left, a towering shot that cleared a 35-foot-high net beyond the fence.
Alex Aguirre added a solo blast with two outs, and Amanda Tauali'i ended the game with a two-run shot to left field.
"We've said it before, but these girls really do work hard in the weight room and put a lot of time into their hitting," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "They're feeling good about themselves, and it's fueling us right now."
The Rainbow Wahine wore soft pink jerseys to raise awareness for breast cancer.
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