Having aced all of its assignments so far, the University of Hawaii softball team will be tested in a Chevron Spring Fling Tournament in which four of the six teams appeared in last week’s national polls.
"As far as having this many ranked teams, this is probably the best (tournament) we’ve ever had over here," UH head coach Bob Coolen said.
The updated polls are due to be released today, and No. 19 UH (21-0), one of five undefeated teams left in Division I, opens the tournament against No. 6 Texas (19-1) today at 6 p.m.
The Wahine play Marist (6-9) on Wednesday, then face California (21-0) — No. 1 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 and No. 2 in the USA Today/NFCA coaches poll — on Thursday.
UH takes on No. 21 Texas A&M (16-8) on Friday and closes the tournament Saturday against Winthrop (11-10) before entering Western Athletic Conference play next week.
"Now we’re going to see what they bring to the table, what type of pitching they have," Coolen said of the visiting teams. "I know Cal has a lot of speed and two really good pitchers, but that’s down the road later in the week. We’re just going to worry about Texas right now."
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
Cal is a regular participant in the Spring Fling, and Coolen obliged requests from Texas and Texas A&M not to play each other this week, reserving that meeting for their final series as Big 12 rivals.
The Wahine, who initiated a Facebook campaign to have fans wear black for today’s game, joined those teams in the rankings by racing to a school-record winning streak behind a pitching staff that leads the nation in earned-run average at 0.68 and an offense hitting .323.
A streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings put together by UH pitchers Stephanie Ricketts (12-0, 0.83) and Kaia Parnaby (9-0, 0.48) will be challenged today by a Texas attack hitting a collective .371 with 50 stolen bases in 57 attempts.
Li‘ili‘i earns WAC honor
UH freshman Leisha Li‘ili‘i was named WAC hitter of the week Monday. The Castle grad went 5-for-9 with three home runs and a double in four games. She’s second on the team in hitting at .442 and is tied for the home-run lead with six.