May 29, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Hawai’i softball team (48-14) snapped Alabama’s 28-game win streak, dropping the Crimson Tide to 52-10, to force game three at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Super Regional. The deciding game, with the winner advancing to the College World Series, will get underway at Noon at the Alabama Softball Complex and will be televised by ESPN.
The Tuscaloosa Super Regional was slated to get underway with a single game Friday night, but inclement weather pushed the start to Saturday and changed it to a doubleheader. Those holding a regional ticket package will use the ticket originally slated for Saturday for admission on Sunday.
“It was one of the best crowds we have ever had,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. “I really appreciate everyone sticking with us with the way the weather was yesterday.
“Those were two really good games. You saw why Hawai’i is here. They are a very good team. The second game could have gone either way, but they made the pitches when they needed to and got the key hits.”
After winning the day’s first game 8-0 in five innings, Alabama stayed on track in game two, drawing first blood by scoring in the top of the first. Senior Charlotte Morgan recorded her fourth RBI on the day by hitting a sac-fly to right to score freshman Kayla Braud from third.
Hawai’i answered in the bottom half by scoring its first run of the day. Freshman Kelly Majam led off the Rainbow Wahine with a solo shot to knot the score at one.
Hawai’i came alive in the second inning by putting five runs on the board in the frame. The big blow came off the bat of freshman Jessica Iwata, as she lined a grand slam over the wall in left-center to give the Rainbow Wahine a 6-1 lead. UH opened the scoring in the inning on an RBI single by senior Katie Grimes. Hawai’i dialed up the long ball once again in the bottom of the fourth as senior Traci Yoshikawa led off with a solo home run to center to increase the Rainbow Wahine lead to 7-1.
Morgan continued her hot hitting in the next inning as she drove in a pair of runs to start a Tide scoring onslaught in the top of the fifth. The senior knocked in sophomore Jennifer Fenton and Braud on a sharply hit single to left to pull the score to 7-3.
Sophomore Amanda Locke continued her stellar play, pulling the Tide within two when she ripped a single down the left field line to score sophomore pinch-runner Lisa Elizondo from second. Alabama then tacked on another run when sophomore Jazlyn Lunceford brought Locke all the way home from first on a triple down the right field line.
Freshman Courtney Conley then got in on the action as she looped a single into left to score Lunceford from third and pull Alabama within one. Fenton then followed suit with a single up the middle to bring in Conley from second and even the score at seven.
“That’s why I love our team,” UA sophomore Amanda Locke said. “We have been called the comeback kids from the beginning. That is something that is great about our team. We know we can come back. Everyone was excited. The fans were into it, and it was just a great feeling.”
Hawai’i retook the lead in the sixth by scoring a single run in the inning. Iwata increased her tally on the day by driving in Yoshikawa on a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Yoshikawa led off the frame by getting hit and then moved over to third on a double to left by Majam.
Sophomore Stephanie Ricketts recorded the win for the Rainbow Wahine, going to 28-8 on the season while Alabama junior Kelsi Dunne, who won the first game, took the loss for the Tide in game two, falling to 30-5 this year.
“They were very competitive games,” Hawai’i head coach Bob Coolen said. “The first game, I found out who Kelsi Dunne was. Everyone in the stands was letting me know that. She is a good pitcher, she shut us down. The crowd was intense, it was a great crowd. It just made for a great two softball games.”