ALABAMA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The No. 19/23 University of Hawaii softball team (49-14, 19-1 WAC) is going to the Women's College World Series for the first time in school history after defeating No. 3/4 Alabama, 5-4 on a three-run, walk-off home run by Jenna Rodriguez in the bottom of the seventh in the deciding game of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional Sunday.
The Bows opened the game by posting three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Kelly Majam led the home-half of the inning with a single to right field. After a strike out, Melissa Gonzalez drew a walk and Jenna Rodriguez launched her16th home run of the year over the leftfield fence.
Hawaii took that lead into the fourth inning, when Alabama's Charlotte Morgan drove an opposite field home run over the right field fence.
Alabama then took the lead on a three-run home run by Whitney Larsen in the top of the sixth, giving the Crimson Tide a 4-3 lead.
But in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the top of the order up, Majam led the inning off with a walk. Dunne then struck out the next two batters to bring her total to 16 in the game. But with two outs, Rodriguez blasted the shot that sent the Rainbow Wahine to the World Series high over the leftfield fence just inside the foul pole.
UH starter, Kaia Parnaby, threw five strong innings for the 'Bows. She tossed 5.2 innings, giving up four runs on six hits with a walk and four strike outs. Reliever, Stephanie Ricketts, earned the win to raise her record to 29-8. Ricketts fired the final 1.1 innings, not allowing a runner on base with one strike out.
Alabama's ace, Kelsi Dunne (30-6) threw a complete game in the loss, giving up five runs on five hits with two walks and 16 strike outs in 6.2 innings.
Hawai`i now advances to the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla. this week. The 'Bows will open the World Series with the first game at 11:00 a.m. (CST) against Missouri on Thursday, June 3, 2010.
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