POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 12, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 5:23 a.m. HST, Feb 12, 2011
After two wins abbreviated by the mercy rule, the Hawaii softball team had to put in some overtime last night.
Hawaii began its evening with a 9-1 win over UC Davis that was shortened to six innings. UH right-hander Stephanie Ricketts and Texas State's Chandler Hall then locked in a scoreless duel into the eighth inning of last night's matchup in the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic.
Three newcomers to the program combined to deliver the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth, with freshman Kaile Nakao coming through with a sacrifice fly to give the Rainbow Wahine a 1-0 win at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
"It's good to see what we're made of, what we're capable of," UH head coach Bob Coolen said. "We learned a lot about ourselves tonight."
With the win, Hawaii (3-0) claims the top seed in today's bracket portion of the tournament and will play Southern Utah (0-3) at noon. Texas State (2-1) will be the second seed and plays UC Davis (1-2) at 10 a.m.
The losers of those games meet for third place at 2 p.m. and the winners play for the championship at 4.
Both Ricketts and Hall, the two-time Southland Conference pitcher of the year, allowed just one hit through six innings. Hall escaped the only true scoring threat in that stretch in the third inning. With two out, Kelly Majam doubled to center and went to third on an error. But Hall came back to strike out Jessica Iwata to end the inning.
Jenna Rodriguez lined a single into center field to lead off the seventh. Alex Aguirre then sacrificed pinch runner Dara Pagaduan to second. But Hall got a popup and Jasey Jensen was thrown out while attempting to bunt for a base hit to send the game into extra innings.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, the teams began the extra frames with a runner on second base. Texas State appeared to score when Anna Hernandez droped a bunt and beat the throw while Haley Lemons came around third. But Hernandez was ruled out for interference, sending Lemons back to second.
Ricketts got out of the inning and UH began the bottom of the eighth with Jensen on second. Freshman Jazmine Zamora entered as a pinch hitter and reached first when her sacrifice bunt was mishandled by Lemons at first. Nakao then lifted a fly ball to left and Jensen beat the throw to the plate to end the game played before a crowd of about 700.
"I was just trying to find a pitch I could drive, situational hitting," said Nakao, who delivered an RBI double earlier in the day in the win over UC Davis.
Ricketts (2-0) finished her night with 12 strikeouts in a one-hit performance, while Hall (1-1) took the loss despite holding UH to two hits.
"I thought in the middle of the game, this is kind of fun having an intense game like this this early," Ricketts said.
"That was cool when we started playing small ball and the freshmen stepped up. This team is a threat everywhere."
The Wahine began the afternoon by beating UC Davis In a rematch of UH's opening game at the Stanford Regional last May.
As in Thursday's opener against Southern Utah, also a 9-1 win, the Wahine took control in the third inning with a five-run rally sparked by three newcomers to the program.
UH had already built a 2-0 lead when freshman Sharla Kliebenstein pulled a shot down the third-base line for a two-run double. Jensen, a senior transfer from Utah, then tripled off the right-field fence to give UH a 5-0 lead. One out later, Nakao added an RBI double into the left-center gap.
That was more than enough for sophomore Kaia Parnaby, who struck out seven over six innings in her season debut.
Alex Holmes, Kasie Cochran (3) and JJ Wagoner; Kaia Parnaby and Sharla Kliebenstein. W--Parnaby (1-0). L--Holmes (0-2).
Leading hitters--UCD: Megan Guzman 1-2; Wagoner 1-2. UH: Jenna Rodriguez 2-3, RBI; Kliebenstein 1-3, double, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Jasey Jensen 1-4, triple, RBI, run; Kaile Nakao 1-2, double, RBI.
Chandler Hall and Megan Parten; Stephanie Rickets and Sharla Kliebenstein. W--Ricketts (2-0). L--Hall (1-1).
Leading hitters--UCD: Haley Lemons 1-3. UH: Kelly Majam 1-3, double; Jenna Rodriguez 1-2; Jasey Jensen run; Kaile Nakao RBI.