POSTED: 12:56 p.m. HST, May 06, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 02:30 p.m. HST, May 06, 2012
The University of Hawaii softball team captured the Western Athletic Conference regular season title with a doubleheader sweep at Utah State today.
The No. 12/14 Rainbow Wahine (43-5, 17-3) clinched the program's fourth WAC championship with an 18-0 rout in the first game and closed the regular season with a 10-3 win in the finale.
As the top seed in the WAC tournament, UH will have a bye in the first round. The Wahine will take a six-game winning streak into the tournament, which opens Wednesday in Las Cruces, N.M. They will face either San Jose State or Nevada on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. Hawaii time.
UH entered today's doubleheader needing one win to secure the regular season title. The Wahine took command in the opener by scoring 11 runs in the second inning and added six more in the fourth on their way to their second-highest scoring total of the season.
Jessica Iwata and Sharla Kliebenstein hit home runs for UH. Iwata and Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu drove in four runs each. Kelly Majam went 4-for-4 with two doubles and designated player Leisha Li'ili'i went 3-for-3 in UH's 17-hit attack.
UH left-hander Kaia Parnaby (16-2) held Utah State to two hits in the five-inning shutout, her ninth of the season. She closed the regular season with a string of 20 consecutive scoreless innings.
UH led 2-1 after the first inning of the second game and pulled away with a four-run fourth.
Iwata and Majam homered while catcher Kayla Wartner drove in four runs. Dara Pagaduan went 3-for-4 and contributed an RBI triple in the third inning.
Stephanie Ricketts (27-3) earned the complete-game win and finished with three strikeouts, giving her 800 for her career.
Utah State did not qualify for the WAC tournament and closed its season at 17-36 overall and 4-17 in the conference.