POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 14, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 01:41 a.m. HST, Apr 14, 2012
A flu bug kept Kelly Majam out of practice in the days leading up to the University of Hawaii softball team’s series opener against Louisiana Tech.
So she made sure to take it easy on her first two trips around the bases.
Majam, UH’s leadoff hitter, belted home runs in the first and second innings to spark the Rainbow Wahine offense and UH opened the Western Athletic Conference series with a 9-1 win over the Lady Techsters.
Key: Kelly Majam homers in the first two innings
Next: UH vs. LaTech, 2 p.m. today (doubleheader), OC Sports, Ch. 12
“I’ve had a fever all week, so I haven’t gone to practice in the past two or three days,” Majam said. “I think I had to focus more to get through the game so I was able to hit better.”
UH first baseman Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu and designated player Leisha Li‘ili‘i both added two-run home runs later in the game as part of a 12-hit attack as the Wahine — ranked 14th and 19th in this week’s national polls — improved to 33-4 overall and 7-2 in WAC play and moved within a half-game of first-place Fresno State.
Majam was one of three UH players fighting through illness this week and they’ll try to get through two more games today as UH and Louisiana Tech (18-21, 5-4) close the series at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
“I just have to really take care of this team,” UH head coach Bob Coolen said. “Kids are down, but the ones who were sick seem to have gotten rejuvenated.”
The UH offense scored in every inning and went without a strikeout for the first time in 42 games dating back to last year.
Senior pitcher Stephanie Ricketts (21-2) held Louisiana Tech to four hits with 10 strikeouts, hitting double figures in strikeouts for the fifth time this season while lowering her ERA to 0.94.
Despite missing practice time, Majam homered to right field to lead off the bottom of the first and hit a line drive out to left-center with one out in the second inning for the third multiple home-run game of her career and first since hitting two against San Jose State on March 27, 2010.
Majam’s batting average had dropped to .195 after the middle game of UH’s series with San Jose State on March 24. Since then she’s hit safely in eight of the past nine games, going 12-for-26 to climb back to .262 with five home runs in that span.
Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu, meanwhile, entered the game 1-for-12 in WAC play and popped up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first. But the senior hammered the first pitch she saw in the third inning to left field to extend UH’s lead to 5-0.
“I felt like a lot of pressure and weight just melted off my shoulders,” Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu said. “It was getting frustrating not hitting the ball for as long as I was, so it felt really good coming back with a home run.”
UH added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and after LaTech’s Meghan Knowles hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth,
Li‘ili‘i’s two-run shot to left in the bottom of the inning brought the eight-run mercy rule into effect.
“All week she’d been crushing me (in batting practice) and I sort of got on her like ‘Why can’t we see that in the game?’ So for her to get one was great,” Coolen said.
Parking on the UH campus is expected to be congested due to the Dalai Lama’s “Pillars of Peace” program today at the Stan Sheriff Center.
|LATech (18-21, 5-4)||000||001||—||1||4||1|
|Hawaii (33-4, 7-2)||212||112||—||9||12||0|
|San Jose St.||5||3||.625||2||21||19|
|New Mexico St.||0||10||.000||8||18||23|