Rainbow Wahine advance to NCAA softball super regional
The University of Hawai'i softball team hit five solo home runs en route to a 7-1 victory over Texas Tech today to win the Stanford (Calif.) Regional and advance to play top-ranked Alabama in next week's NCAA Super Regionals.
Alabama won the Tuscaloosa Regional, beating Lipscomb, 6-0. The Crimson Tide will host the best-of-three Super Regional Friday and Saturday.
The Rainbow Wahine (47-13), seeded 16th in the NCAA Tournament, got homers from Kelly Majam, Traci Yoshikawa, Melissa Gonzalez, Jenna Rodriguez and Katie Grimes, and a two-run single by Rodriguez.
"Well, what can I say, what a great way to start a game, with (Majam) getting up there and hitting a home run," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "And it is her birthday, which makes it better on that accord. We came out with aggressive bats, which really helped set us up well. That just set the tone."
Pitcher Stephanie Ricketts was in command, allowing six hits, while striking out six and walking three.
"Stephanie was on her game" Coolen added. "With us giving up that run in the first inning and coming back in the first with that one run ourselves really helped us a lot. Our players responded and hit the ball really well."
UH swept through the regionals with victories over UC Davis, Stanford and the Red Raiders.
Majam hit her 29th homer of the season in the bottom of the first after Texas Tech scored a run in the top of the inning.
"Jumping on the team really helps," Majam said. "It makes us get insurance and helps everyone to calm down a little bit and relax. It helps everyone out because hitting in contagious and with our team, it is just great when someone gets a hit because we know the next person coming back up has even better confidence."
Yoshikawa hit a home run in the second and Gonzalez and Rodriguez hit back-to-back homers in the the third to give UH a 4-1 lead.
Grimes hit her homer to start the sixth with Rodriguez also hitting her two-run single in the inning.
"Hawai'i has such depth in their lineup that they all get good pitches and they hit good," Texas Tech coach Shanon Hays said. "You can't get around them."
Said Texas Tech pitcher Ashley Brokeshoulder: "It just seemed that any mistake you make, they're just going to hit it over."
The Rainbows last reached the Super Regional in 2007 when they lost to Tennessee in the best-of-3 series.