May 30, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Hawai’i softball team (49-14) hit a two-run walk-off home run to beat Alabama (52-10) and win the NCAA Tuscaloosa Super Regional, 5-4.
“I thought we had so much fight in us and didn’t give up,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. “We got a key hit, but stuff happens. The fans were incredible this weekend, all weekend long. The best people in the softball world are right here in Tuscaloosa.”
Junior Jenna Rodriguez hit her second home run of the game with two outs and the game on the line, driving in freshman Kelly Majam who walked to start the inning. The Rainbow Wahine went up 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning on Rodriguez’s first home run of the game.
“It’s been the most exciting day, other than the birth of my two children, in my life,” Hawai’i head coach Bob Coolen said. “You aspire as a coach to make it to the World Series and this team really showed resilience and fortitude out there.”
After two innings in which neither team got on the board, Alabama got back in the mix starting in the fourth inning when senior Charlotte Morgan hit a solo homer to pull the Crimson Tide within two runs.
In the top of the sixth inning it was Alabama junior Whitney Larsen who drove one over the left-centerfield wall, pushing across three runs and putting UA on top 4-3.
Sophomore Stephanie Ricketts came away with the win, bettering her season mark to 29-8. Junior Kelsi Dunne took the loss for the Tide, dropping to 30-6 on the season. She struck out 16, gave up five runs and five hits and walked two.
“It hurts because we worked so hard,” Morgan said. “Obviously, we are going to be disappointed a little bit. I think this team has worked hard, stayed together and persevered. I don’t think we should hang our heads at all.”
Alabama finishes its season after making its 12th NCAA Regional and its sixth Super Regional appearance, while Hawai’i advances to its first Women’s College World Series.
“We won 28 in a row with seven new people in different positions,” Murphy said. “We had a whole new lineup. I think we just overachieved. They worked extremely hard. This was one of the best teams we have had in terms of likability.”