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Rodriguez lifts UH by LaTech

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:55 a.m. HST, Apr 16, 2011

Jenna Rodriguez drove in a season-high four runs and the Hawaii softball team opened its Western Athletic Conference series at Louisiana Tech with a 6-0 win yesterday in Ruston, La.

Rodriguez went 2-for-4 and capped her night with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning.

The senior right fielder’s production was more than enough for UH pitcher Stephanie Ricketts, who fired a one-hitter against the Lady Techsters in her eighth shutout of the season.

The Wahine won their fourth straight to improve to 29-12 overall and 7-3 in WAC play. LaTech fell to 11-29 and 2-8. The series concludes today with a doubleheader starting at 8 a.m Hawaii time.

“I feel like we’ve been clicking a lot better since the Fresno games, since we learned what we needed to work on,” Rodriguez said, referring to UH’s last road trip, when the Wahine were swept by Fresno State. “Everybody’s come together and worked hard at it and made it happen.”

Ricketts (18-9) gave up a two-out single to Janna Frandup in the bottom of the first inning, then didn’t allow another baserunner until Christina Gamboa reached on an error in the sixth. The junior right-hander finished with six strikeouts and walked none.

Rodriguez produced at least one run in three of her four plate appearances to post her highest RBI total since driving in all five runs in UH’s landmark win over Alabama in last year’s NCAA Super Regionals.

The Wahine loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first when Sarah Robinson hit a grounder to shortstop. The throw to the plate was wild, allowing Kelly Majam and Jasey Jensen to score. Rodriguez followed with an RBI groundout to second to score Sharla Kliebenstein from third.

“(The early lead) does give us some leeway and … we knew Stephanie was going to do great on the mound again today,’ Rodriguez said. “Our main thing was we wanted to keep pushing and keep scoring more runs.”

In the third, Jessica Iwata doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Rodriguez’s two-out, opposite-field single gave UH a 4-0 lead. Rodriguez closed the scoring in the seventh with a two-out, two-run homer to left field. It was her first homer since March 6 against St. Bonaventure, a span of 21 games.

“It was definitely a solid connect,” Rodriguez said. “It was hit hard and I just hoped it went over.

LaTech senior Meghan Krieg (7-17) struck out 10 and walked four in the loss.

At Lady Techster Softball Complex
Hawaii (29-12, 7-3) 301 000 2 6 8 1
LaTech (11-29, 2-8) 000 000 0 0 1 1

Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. Meghan Krieg and Allie Geisler. W—Ricketts. L—Krieg.
Leading hitters—Hawaii: Jessica Iwata, 2-4, 2b, run; Jenna Rodriguez, 2-4, HR, 4 RBIs; Melissa Gonzalez, 2b; Alex Aguirre, 2-3.
Yesterday’s WAC scores
Hawaii 6, Louisiana Tech 0
Utah State 4, Boise State 3
New Mexico State 12, Nevada 7
Fresno State 4, San Jose State 2

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