Las Cruces, NM - The No. 21/23 University of Hawai`i softball team (43-12, 19-1 WAC) routed Fresno State, 16-1 in five innings to advance to tomorrow's Western Athletic Conference championship game. The ‘Bows broke the NCAA single-season home run record on Jessica Iwata's three-run blast into the wind in leftfield.
Hawai`i hit two home runs today, bringing their season total to 136, breaking the former NCAA record of 134 set last season by Arizona. Iwata's record-breaking home run was a high-fly that snuck over the leftfield fence just inside the foul pole. Later in inning, Kelly Majam launched her first career grand slam. It was an opposite-field shot that sailed over the left-centerfield fence.
Hawai`i pitcher Stephanie Ricketts (24-6, 13-0 WAC) tossed a complete game in the win. She gave up one run in the fifth inning, on three hits with three walks and a strike out.
Fresno State started and finished with Morgan Melloh, who threw a total of 4.1 innings. She gave up seven runs on nine hits with three walks and four strike outs. Mackenzie Oakes came in relief, but could only get two outs in the third. She gave up nine runs on eight hits with a walk, facing 12 batters.
In the top of the third the ‘Bows posted 14 runs on the board, batting around twice, and bringing 20 batters to the plate. The first out of the inning came 11 batters into the inning. UH racked up 13 hits in the frame and the first 10 batters scored. Katie Grimes got things started with a single through the leftside of the infield. Traci Yoshikawa then hit an RBI double to the right-centerfield gap that scored a sprinting Brynne Buchanan all the way from first base to start the scoring barrage. Majam then hit a single to center that moved Yoshikawa to third. But on the play, Fresno State's throw went through to home, allowing a head's up Majam to scoot to second. Iwata followed by lifting the record-breaking home run just over the leftfield fence. It was her 17th home run of the year. Melissa Gonzalez then hit a ground ball to second, but a fielding error allowed her to reach safely.
Starting pitcher, Melloh, was then replaced with Oakes, but she couldn't stop the bleeding. Jenna Rodriguez drilled a double to the left-centerfield gap, pushing Gonzalez to third. Alex Aguirre followed with an RBI single to drive in Gonzalez from third. Aguirre advanced to third on the throw to leave both runners in scoring position. Pu`u-Warren was then hit-by-a-pitch to load the bases for Amanda Tauali'i who came through with an opposite-field single to left, scoring Rodriguez from third. Grimes then came up for the second time in the inning, drawing a bases loaded walk for an RBI. Fresno State finally got the first out of the inning on a pop-up to second, but Majam followed by clearing the bases with her first career grand slam that went into the teeth of the wind in left. It was her 27th home run of the year. After a ground out to the pitcher for the second out, the ‘Bows kept things going with four consecutive singles. Gonzalez started things with a hit to center and Rodriguez was next with another single to center. But on the play, Gonzalez, who was running on two outs, hustled all the way to third. Aguirre then drove in Gonzales with a single to left and advanced to second on the throw home. Pu`u-Warren hit a hard shot that ricocheted off the pitcher for another hit, allowing Rodriguez to score.
Hawai`i added two more runs in the fifth to extend their lead to 16-0. Tauali`i led off with a walk and went to second on Grimes' third single of the game. Both runners moved in to scoring position on a wild pitch. After a fly out to right, Majam hit a ground out to the rightside of the infield that allowed Tauali`i to score from third. Iwata then got her third hit of the game with a single to right that drove in Grimes for the 16th run of the game.
In all, Hawai`i tallied 17 hits with 16 RBI in the five inning game. Majam went 2-for-4 with a two runs scored, a grand slam and a career-high five RBI; Iwata was 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI; Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double; Aguirre went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs; Pu`u-Warren was 2-for-3 with a double, a run, and an RBI; and Grimes went 3-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and a walk.
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