Even after Stephanie Ricketts struggled through a loss yesterday morning, it took just one look to convince Hawaii softball coach Bob Coolen to give her the ball again in the afternoon.
"She gets that scowl on her face, like ‘I want to pitch,’ " Coolen said.
Ricketts was roughed up in a 13-5 loss to No. 14 Oregon, then bounced back with a complete-game performance in UH’s 6-1 win over No. 18 Stanford in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas.
Ricketts gave up 10 runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings in the loss to Oregon. Coolen went back to her for the Stanford game and she came through by holding the Cardinal to four hits while striking out seven and walking one for the ninth-ranked Rainbow Wahine (8-1).
"(The team) had my back. They still believed in me and I still believed in myself," Ricketts said. "Rough things happen and it’s just how you react to it."
The chilly weather in Las Vegas did little to cool UH shortstop Jessica Iwata’s bat as she launched three solo home runs against Stanford.
After going 1-for-4 against Oregon at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park’s Field 1, Iwata went 4-for-4 against Stanford at Field 2, where she hit three homers in wins over Utah and Long Beach State on Friday.
"We’ve renamed that field ‘Jessica Iwata Field,’ " Ricketts said.
Iwata gave UH the lead with a home run in the first inning, added another solo shot in the fifth and went deep again in the sixth. She now has six home runs over four games in the tournament and seven for the season.
Center fielder Kelly Majam preceded Iwata’s sixth-inning homer with a two-run drive that scraped off the top of the fence in center field to give Ricketts added breathing room. First baseman Sarah Robinson went 3-for-3 with an RBI double in the second inning.
"It was one of the games where both aspects of our game was on. It wasn’t just the hitting or just the pitching," Ricketts said. "It was probably one of our first team wins and that’s what makes it feel so good."
Against Oregon, the Wahine jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the 14th-ranked Ducks scored five runs in the bottom of the second and five more in the third and handed UH its first loss of the season. The game ended in the fifth inning due to the eight-run mercy rule.
Christie Nieto’s grand slam in the second inning gave Oregon the lead. Oregon’s Kelsey Chambers hit a two-run homer and a three-run shot by Courtney Ceo chased Ricketts from the circle in the third. Fuiava added a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to stretch the Ducks’ lead to 13-3.
The Wahine close the tournament today against Cal State Northridge.
"That was huge," Coolen said of splitting the games. "Because we could have been buried by the Pac-10 today and that would not have boded well for us."
OREGON 13, HAWAII 5
At Las Vegas
Stephanie Ricketts, Jenna Rodriguez (3) and Sharla Kliebenstein; Jessica Moore, Mikayla Endicott (2), Brittany Rumfelt (5) and Alexa Peterson. W–Endicott (1-0). L–Ricketts (3-1).
Leading hitters—UH: Rodriguez 2-3, double, 2 RBI; Sarah Robinson 1-2, RBI; Alex Aguirre 1-2. Ore: Christie Nieto 3-3, HR, 4 RBI; Monique Fuiava 2-3, HR, 4 RBI; Kelsey Chambers 3-3, 2 RBI; Kaylan Howard 2-3, 3 runs; Courtney Ceo, HR, 3 RBI.
HAWAII 6, STANFORD 1
At Las Vegas
Teagan Gerhart, Ashley Chinn (3) and Maya Burns; Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. W–Ricketts (4-1). L–Gerhart (4-2).
Leading hitters—Stanford: Gerhart 2-3, triple; Danielle Miller 1-3, HR. UH: Jessica Iwata 4-4, HR, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Sarah Robinson 3-3, double, RBI; Kelly Majam 1-4, HR, 2 RBI.