Ricketts' 4-hitter helps 'Bows beat Lipscomb
By Stephen Tsai
Stephanie Ricketts controlled the strike zone and then Lipscomb in pitching Hawai'i to a 3-0 softball victory in last night's opening round of the Chevron Spring Fling.
With a right arm seemingly fueled by Techron, Ricketts (9-5) used curves, drops, screwballs, change-ups and risers in earning her second complete game of the season.
Ricketts allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked zip. She had three-ball counts only twice — one resulting in a strikeout, the other a towering flyout in the seventh. Of her 96 pitches, 67 were strikes.
In the fourth, the Lady Bison tried to hit Ricketts' first pitch.
"She had to widen her strike zone, and be a little finer," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "She did that."
The Rainbow Wahine avoided Lipscomb's No. 1 pitcher, Whitney Kiihnl, who entered the four-team tournament with a sub-0.10 earned-run average. But right-hander Christen Campbell, who was 4-0, has ace potential. Campbell repeatedly used off-speed pitches to induce groundouts.
Then in the bottom of the third, left fielder Alex Aguirre slammed a drive over the fence in right-center for a 1-0 lead.
"The outside is definitely my power pitch," said Aguirre, who bats right-handed. "I knew (Campbell) was a little bit slower, so I really had to wait on (the pitch). I knew I had to swing as hard as possible because all of the power was going to have to come from me hitting it rather than her pitching it."
The Rainbows provided security with a two-run sixth. Kelly Majam led off with a double. Then Jessica Iwata hit a hard grounder that Campbell fielded. Campbell pirouetted to see Majam frozen between second and third.
"You're a sitting duck," Majam said. "You have to see what she's going to do."
Campbell moved toward Majam, then threw past third baseman Megan Rottler.
"It got past (Rottler) before I got to third," Majam said. "I turned the corner and went (home)."
One out later, with runners at first and second, designated player Jenna Rodriguez rocketed a shot that appeared to hook inside the foul pole in left field. It was ruled foul — a call that a television director would verify later.
Undaunted, Rodriguez hit a double to right-center to bring home pinch-runner Mikalemi Tagab-Cruz from second.
"Jenna's a disciplined hitter," Coolen said. "She's a bulldog. She does not get discouraged at all. She has that fight that a lot of our players don't show."
Rodriguez said: "I knew I had to put the (next) ball in play. ... My main focus was to get on base and help my team."