Stephanie Ricketts converted the disappointment of a tough loss into fuel for her next opportunity.
A day after losing a no-hitter and a game on a seventh-inning home run, Ricketts rebounded by throwing a five-inning no-hitter in Hawaii’s 9-0 win over South Dakota State yesterday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
Ricketts struck out six and walked two and faced one batter over the minimum for the No. 14/17 Rainbow Wahine (18-5). The UH offense, led by Jenna Rodriguez and Melissa Gonzalez, produced enough to end the game in the fifth due to the mercy rule and secure Ricketts’ fourth no-hitter of her career.
"Last night was one of the toughest losses I’ve pitched," Ricketts said of Friday’s 1-0 heartbreaker against Longwood. "The best thing that helps me cope with it is coming out and pitching again. Whenever you give up a loss like that you think about it for a while and then you’re like, ‘I need to get back out there.’ "
Ricketts’ gem followed Kaia Parnaby’s four-hit shutout against Miami (Ohio) in UH’s first game of the afternoon. UH catcher Sharla Kliebenstein hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Parnaby extended her scoreless-innings streak to 15 in the 5-0 win over the Redhawks.
Hawaii, Longwood and Miami (Ohio) all finished the round-robin portion of the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament at 2-1. Hawaii, which outscored its three opponents 14-1, won the tiebreaker for the top seed based on runs allowed and will play fourth-seeded SDSU again today at noon. Longwood and Miami (Ohio) play at 10 a.m.
The losers play again at 2 p.m. The winners meet for the championship at 4.
Ricketts said Friday’s loss was still in the back of her mind when she took the field yesterday and retired the first nine SDSU batters she faced. She gave up two walks to open the fourth inning, but was aided by a double play started by Gonzalez at third.
The Wahine gave her ample support as Rodriguez and Gonzalez drove in three runs each. They both delivered run-scoring singles in UH’s three-run third inning. In the fourth, Rodriguez drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single. Gonzalez later hammered a two-run double into the left-center gap.
"It’s something we talked about, attacking the ball," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "I’m glad to see both Jenna and Migi make those adjustments."
"I always believe in the (offense)," Ricketts said. "One through nine I wouldn’t want any other batters and obviously today they gave us a lot of runs."
Against Miami (Ohio), Kliebenstein’s seventh home run of the season highlighted UH’s four-run first inning and Parnaby took care of the rest in her first appearance since throwing a perfect game on March 5.
She gave up a walk in the second inning to end a string of 26 consecutive hitters retired. But she went on to finish with six strikeouts in completing her second straight shutout.
HAWAII 5, MIAMI (OHIO) 0
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
|Miami (Ohio) (10-7)||000||000||0||—||0||4||3|
Paige Myers, Katie Osburn (2) and Jenna McGivney. Kaia Parnaby and Sharla Kliebenstein. W–Parnaby. L–Myers.
Leading hitters–Hawaii: Jessica Iwata, 2-2, 3B, RBI; Jenna Rodriguez, 2-4; Kliebenstein, HR, 3 RBIs; Jasey Jensen, 2-3.
HAWAII 9, S. DAKOTA STATE 0
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
|S.D. State (2-14)||000||00||—||0||0||1|
Pam Nicholson, Kori Seidlitz (4) and Sammy Bingham. Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. W–Ricketts. L–Nicholson.
Leading hitters–Hawaii: Jenna Rodriguez, 2-3, 3 RBIs; Melissa Gonzalez, 2-2, 2B, 3 RBIs.
Yesterday’s early games
Miami (Ohio) 1, Longwood 0
Longwood 5, South Dakota State 3