Jasey Jensen delivered on her promise by coming through with the decisive hit for the Hawaii softball team last night.
With the Rainbow Wahine locked in a scoreless battle with Utah State in the sixth inning, Jensen lined a double into left field to score both runs in UH’s 2-0 win over the Aggies in the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
"Before that inning, I told (UH pitcher Stephanie Ricketts), ‘I’ve got your back, so I had to back it up,’ " Jensen said. "Without the girls on base we wouldn’t be where we were, so we all won it as a team."
Ricketts then finished out her second complete-game win of the series and the Wahine (25-9) managed a three-game sweep of the Aggies (5-26) to open the Western Athletic Conference season.
In yesterday’s first game, Jessica Iwata and Sharla Kliebenstein homered and pitcher Kaia Parnaby struck out 10 Utah State hitters in UH’s 8-0 win.
The Wahine and Aggies endured three rain delays in the first two innings of the series finale before UH pulled out the win to close their 18-game homestand.
The Wahine next head to Fresno State for a three-game series against the rival Bulldogs starting Friday.
"We’re going to go there and it will be crowded and it will be hostile," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "It’s not one of those friendly places where there’s a lot of green and white going on."
Kelly Majam opened the scoring in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader with a two-run double to center field in the third inning and Iwata followed with a home run to left.
Kliebenstein added to the lead with a three-run homer in the fifth. She also drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth to bring the mercy rule into effect.
In the finale, UH had a runner thrown out at the plate to close each of the first two innings and squandered another opportunity in the fifth.
The Wahine opened the fifth with three consecutive singles, but Utah State pitcher Shelbi Tyteca caught a soft liner, fielded another grounder for a forceout at the plate and ended the threat with a strikeout.
UH third baseman Melissa Gonzalez drew a walk to lead off the sixth and Sarah Robinson was hit by a pitch. Jensen’s liner then sailed over the left fielder and rolled to the fence to score both runners.
"It boosts my confidence, especially with struggling early in the season," said Jensen, who homered in UH’s 5-2 win on Friday and had faced Tyteca while playing at Layton (Utah) High School. "So it feels good to start feeling it and start hitting."
Utah State brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the seventh, but Ricketts retired the next two hitters to complete the sweep. She gave up three hits, struck out six and faced one hitter over the minimum thanks to two double plays.
NO. 21 HAWAII 8, UTAH STATE 0
|USU (5-26, 0-2)||000||000||— 0||3||3|
|Hawaii (24-9, 2-0)||004||031||— 8||7||0|
Shelbi Tyteca, Danie Chaplin (5) and Tina Ferguson. Kaia Parnaby and Sharla Kliebenstein. W–Parnaby (9-2). L–Tyteca (1-5).
Leading hitters–USU: none. UH: Jessica Iwata 2-3, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Kelly Majam 2b, run, 2 RBIs; Sharla Kliebenstein HR, run, 4 RBIs.
HAWAII 2, UTAH STATE 0
|USU (5-26, 0-3)||000||000||0 — 0||3||0|
|Hawaii (25-9, 3-0)||000||002||x — 2||8||0|
Mandy Harmon, Dani Chaplin (3), Shelbi Tyteca (5), Harmon (6) and Samantha Miller, Tina Ferguson (3). Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. W–Ricketts. L–Tyteca.
Leading hitters–USU: Lindsey Marquez, 2-3. UH: Melissa Gonzalez, 2b; Jasey Jensen, 2b, 2 RBIs.