POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 14, 2011
Hawaii closed a tournament otherwise dominated by pitching by hitting four home runs in two games yesterday to secure the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament title.
Homers by Sharla Kliebenstein and Kelly Majam accounted for UH's scoring in a 3-1 win over South Dakota State in its first game of the afternoon. Jessica Iwata slammed a two-run tie-breaking shot and Alex Aguirre added a three-run homer as No. 14/17 Hawaii concluded the tournament with an 8-2 win over Miami (Ohio).
UH pitcher Stephanie Ricketts held SDSU to one hit in the opener and was named the tournament's most outstanding pitcher. Kaia Parnaby struck out 10 against Miami and the Wahine (20-5) rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the final.
"Hopefully we can use this as a steppingstone and just get better from here," said Iwata, the tournament's most valuable player. "We have a lineup that's working right now, so we'll go with it from here."
Seven of the 10 tournament games played over the weekend were shutouts, including three 1-0 decisions.
To prepare for yesterday's games, UH's pregame hitting sessions focused on "quickening our bat speed, quickening our hands," UH head coach Bob Coolen said. "We cranked (the pitching machine) up to 70 (mph) from 35 feet away so they have to get their hands through the zone."
In the first game, Kliebenstein gave UH a 2-0 lead with her eighth homer and Majam broke out of a prolonged slump with a shot to right in the fourth inning. It was her first hit since Feb. 25, a span of 28 plate appearances. Her last homer was a grand slam against Cal State Northridge on Feb. 20.
"I'm glad I got out of it, but learned a lot about myself and that I can fight and get through it," said Majam, who also had a game-tying two-run double against Miami. "(On Saturday) I didn't get any hits, but I made better contact, so I was gaining more confidence in my swing and knew I was going in the right direction."
Against Miami, UH rallied against Redhawks ace Jessica Simpson, who had thrown 24 straight scoreless innings before Majam's fourth-inning double. Iwata gave UH the lead for good with a blast that cleared the 40-foot net beyond the left-field fence.
UH continues its run of 12 games over 10 days today against Longwood at 6 p.m. at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
|MIAMI-OH (11-8)||101||000 0||--||2||6||1|
|HAWAII (20-5)||000||232 x||--||8||7||0|
Jessica Simpson and Jenna McGivney. Kaia Parnaby and Sharla Kliebenstein. W--Simpson (10-4). L--Parnaby (7-1).
Leading hitters--Miami: Jordan McElroy 2-2, 2 runs; Kayla Ledbetter 1-3, 3b, RBI. UH: Kelly Majam 2-3, 2b, 2 RBI; Jessica Iwata 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Alex Aguirre 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs; Jenna Rodriguez 1-4, 2b, RBI, run.
|SDSU (2-15)||000||010 0||--||1||1||1|
|HAWAII (19-5)||200||100 x||--||3||6||1|
Kori Seidlitz and Sammy Bingham. Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. W--Seidlitz (1-7). L--Ricketts (12-4).
Leading hitters--SDSU: Krista Honken 1-3. UH: Jenna Rodriguez 2-3; Kliebenstein 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Kelly Majam 1-2, HR, RBI; Dara Pagaduan 1-2, 2b.