Rainbow Wahine beat Alabama, 8-7, force Game 3 in Super Regional
The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine, facing elimination after an early-morning loss, defeated top-ranked Alabama, 8-7, today forcing a final game tomorrow in the NCAA Super Regional at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Rainbow Wahine (48-14) ended the Crimson Tide's 28-game winning streak to tie the best-of-three series. Alabama is 52-10. Game 3 will be at 7 a.m. tomorrow Hawai'i time and broadcast on ESPN. The winner goes to next week's Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Jessica Iwata's RBI sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the sixth scored Traci Yoshikawa from third to give Hawai'i an 8-7 lead after Alabama scored six runs in the fifth to tie the game at 7.
The Crimson Tide loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but Stephanie Ricketts got Charlotte Morgan on a popup to second to end the game.
"You saw why Hawai'i is here," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "They are a very good team. The second game could have gone either way, but they made the pitches when they needed to and got the key hits."
After being shutout and mercy-ruled 8-0 in the first game, the Rainbow Wahine fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning of the second game.
But lead-off hitter Kelly Majam tied it with a homer to right to tie it and give UH its first run of the Super Regional.
"It was definitely 'just forget about it (the first game).'" Majam said. "We switched uniforms, switched dugouts and said 'let's just forget that game and start over and play Hawai'i ball.'"
UH took its first lead at 2-1 in the second on Katie Grimes' single to left that drove in Alex Aguirre, who was hit by a hit to start the inning.
Later, with two outs and runners on second and third, Alabama elected to intentionally walk Majam. But Iwata followed with a grand slam to left for a 6-1 lead.
"Coach basically gave me a few words to believe in myself and pump me up," Iwata said. "Because they walked Kelly (Majam) he said they were leaving it up to me. I thought about that and tried to hit the ball hard."
Yoshikawa hit a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 7-1.
The three homers push UH's NCAA record to 152 for the season.
Kaia Parnaby started for UH and got out of a second-inning predicament, inducing a pop out with runners on the corners.
But Parnaby ran into trouble in the fifth when Alabama scored six runs on six hits. Morgan had a two-run single, Amanda Locke had an RBI single, Jazlyn Lunceford a run-scoring triple to chase Parnaby, who was replaced by Ricketts. Courtney Conley and Jennifer Fenton had RBI singles to tie the game at 7.
Coolen said the coaches would decide tonight who will start in tomorrow's game.
"Stephanie (Ricketts) ended with a lot of confidence out there and I think she did a good job of collecting herself after giving up some bombs in the first game," Coolen said.
ALABAMA 8, HAWAI'I 0 (5 INN.)
Amanda Locke homered twice and drove in four in her first two at-bats and Kelsi Dunne pitched a two-hitter as No. 1 seed Alabama beat Hawai'i, 8-0, today in the opening game of the NCAA Super Regional softball game at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The game ended after Hawai'i's fifth-inning on the eight-run mercy rule.
UH was shutout for the fifth time this season. The last time it was beaten by a mercy rule was an 11-2 loss to Georgia Tech in February.
After a scoreless first inning, Alabama's Locke homered off Stephanie Ricketts with one out in the second inning.
The Crimson Tide then blew the game open and chased Ricketts from the game with a six-run third.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. A single by Charlotte Morgan to right brought in two runs and a single by Whitney Larsen brought in another run before Locke's three-run homer made it 7-0.
Alabama tacked on a run in the fourth to make it 8-0.
Meanwhile, Alabama ace Dunne, who entered the game 29-4 with a 16-game winning streak, remained in control except for one inning in which she loaded the bases.
She walked one and struck out seven, including the side in the second on 11 pitches, 10 of which were strikes.
UH, which leads the nation in home runs with 149, got a clean single by Melissa Gonzalez in the first before being retired.
UH's best opportunity to score came in the fourth when Rainbow Wahine loaded the bases with one out. But Dunne got a strikeout and a pop out to end the inning.