The path from Honolulu to Ruston has rarely been smooth for the Hawaii softball team.
Before the Rainbow Wahine embarked on their Western Athletic Conference road trip to Louisiana Tech, senior Melissa Gonzalez recalled the trials the team endured getting to Ruston her freshman year.
"The worst part is just the travel, because it’s a long trip and things don’t usually go right," Gonzalez said. "I just remember there were delays and our bags got lost."
The Wahine left Honolulu on Tuesday afternoon and, sure enough, their arrival in Louisiana was delayed when their originally scheduled connection from Dallas to Shreveport was changed. After making the drive from Shreveport to Ruston, a mixup at the hotel kept them from checking in right away.
Through it all, the Wahine (28-12, 6-3 WAC) hope to carry the momentum of last week’s sweep of Nevada into their series with the Lady Techsters (11-29, 2-7).
"We just need to stay focused," Gonzalez said. "We’re coming back from a good weekend and we just need to run with that no matter where we’re at."
UH and LaTech play a single game today at 1 p.m. Hawaii time and a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 8 a.m.
The Wahine enter the series fourth in the conference, two games behind co-leaders New Mexico State and Boise State and one behind Fresno State.
UH head coach Bob Coolen continued to tinker with the bottom half of the lineup last week and the Wahine generated enough run support for Stephanie Ricketts (17-9, 1.65) and Kaia Parnaby (10-3, 1.07), the WAC’s top pitching duo, to sweep Nevada. Gonzalez, has settled into the sixth spot lately and went 4-for-8 last week after struggling through a 5-for-40 dry spell.
"Last week I felt a lot better than I have probably the whole season," Gonzalez said.
UH will face a LaTech team led by senior pitcher Meghan Krieg (7-16, 3.36), the WAC’s active leader in career strikeouts. She has 183 strikeouts in 150 innings this season. Offensively, LaTech ranks last in the league with a team batting average of .217.