March 31, 2012 at 12:41 AM HST - Updated June 26 at 4:03 PM
LAS CRUCES, N.M.(HawaiiNewsNow) Courtesy: Hawaii Athletics—The No. 16/18 University of Hawai'i softball team (27-3) overwhelmed New Mexico State, 9-1 in a five inning mercy rule game. Stephanie Ricketts earned the win with her 19th complete game of the season while Kelly Majam and Jessica Iwata both launched home runs to help lead the 'Bows to victory at the NM State Softball Complex.
Ricketts (17-2, 3-0 WAC) did not give up a hit until the fourth inning. She fired a two-hitter, giving up one run with two walks and nine strike outs. Her start today moves her into a tie for most UH career appearances of 146 set by Kelly Gentle in 1999. Ricketts already owns the UH career pitching records for starts (126); wins (90); innings (837.1); and strike outs (737).
The Rainbow Wahine posted one run in the top of the first. Kelly Majam led the game off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a pop-up and a strike out, Jessica Iwata got a single to short to advance Majam to third. Iwata then stole second and Majam scored on a throwing error by the catcher to second to give UH an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second UH struck again with two runs to go up 4-0. Alex Aguirre started things by getting plunked for the 16th time this season. A ground out pushed Aguirre to second who then scored on an RBI double to the right-centerfield gap. Later, after a strike out, Majam came through with a two-run, opposite-field home run over the left-centerfield fence. It was Majam's seventh of the season and 46th of her career.
The 'Bows then erupted for five runs in the top of the fourth. Dara Pagaduan got things started with a leadoff single to short. After a strike out, Brynne Buchanan drew a walk to put runners at first and second. New Mexico State then lifted starter Karysta Donisthorpe for reliever Alex Newman. Majam then drilled a single to centerfield to drive in Pagaduan from second. After a ground out to the pitcher, Sarah Robinson reached on an error on the first baseman that allowed Buchanan to score Iwata followed with her sixth home run of the season with a bomb to left-center to drive in both Robinson and Majam. It was Iwata's 39th of her career to move her into third place alone in UH's career record book, passing former UH All-American Stacey Porter's mark of 38 set in 2003. Iwata's homer gave UH a 9-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.
New Mexico State posted one run in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out, RBI double by B Clifton to score Valerie Swedberg who had reached earlier on the Aggies' first single of the game. After four complete innings, UH led NMSU 9-1.
New Mexico State's starter, Donisthorpe took the loss, giving up six runs on five hits with two walks and five strike outs. Newman closed the game, tossing the final 1.2 innings giving up three runs on three hits with no walks and two strike outs.
The game was televised tape delayed on ESPNU. Hawai'i is now 8-6 all-time in nationally televised games on ESPN. It is the second straight season that the 'Bows have been featured on ESPN. Last season, UH's opening game at Fresno State was covered on ESPN.
The Rainbow Wahine conclude their three-game series at New Mexico State on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 4:00 p.m. (MT).