Hawaii softball team starts off right


POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2009

Hawaii was slow to start in its softball season opener last night, but once the Rainbow Wahine knocked off the rust and shook off some nerves, the result was impressive.












Hawaii   8





vs. UAB and LSU today




Getting monster home runs from seniors Tanisha Milca and Clare Warwick, Hawaii stunned No. 6 Oklahoma 8-5 in the second game of the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

Hawaii (1-0) ran its record in season openers to 17-8, winning its sixth in a row.

In the first game, No. 17 LSU won a slugfest with UAB 10-5.

The Blazers (0-1) face Oklahoma (0-1) at 1 p.m. The Sooners take on LSU at 3 p.m.

Hawaii (1-0) faces UAB at 5 p.m., then LSU at 7 p.m.

“;This was huge, a signature win for our program to open the season,”; Wahine coach Bob Coolen said. “;The mantra of this team is 'Oklahoma to Oklahoma,' starting with Oklahoma and ending at Oklahoma (City, site of the College World Series).”;

The Sooners seemed well on their way to victory, picking up a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. A 3-0 lead is normally safe ... but not last night.

With one out and one on in the bottom of the fifth, Milca drilled the first offering—an inside pitch—from D.J. Mathis way over the left-center fence to close the gap to 3-2. Mathis hit Malamaisaua Manuma—Mathis' third hit batter—and Warwick followed with her third straight single, chasing Mathis. Reliever Kristen Allen didn't fare much better, loading the bases and seeing Manuma, Warwick and Melissa Gonzalez all score as the Wahine took the lead for good at 5-3.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Allen gave up singles to Milca and Manuma before giving way to Alice Allen (no relation). Warwick capped her 4-for-4 night with a three-run blast to right, her third first-pitch hit.

The Sooners answered back in the top of the seventh with a one-out, two-run homer by Amber Flores.

Wahine pitcher Courtney Baughman picked up the complete-game victory by getting Samantha Ricketts to ground out to second and then getting Katie Norris looking on a curveball, the same pitch that Norris nailed for her solo homer in the fourth.

“;Every team wants to get off to a good start, and we did it with this win tonight,”; said Baughman, striking out six and walking one. “;Our defense was there. We'll need to keep the energy up for tomorrow.”;

“;I think this gives us great momentum heading into tomorrow's games,”; Milca said. “;This was so big for us, to beat a top-10 team.

“;And Clare is Clare, she's Superwoman.”;

The senior third baseman proved why she was the Western Athletic Conference preseason player of the year in the field as well. Warwick made several acrobatic, hit-robbing grabs among her five putouts.


LSU 10, UAB 5

The Blazers outhit the Tigers 9-8, but LSU's hits were timely and big. Anissa Young's grand slam in the bottom of the second broke the scoreless deadlock and put the Tigers ahead to stay.

LSU used two hits and two errors to add three more runs in the sixth and extend the lead to 10-3.

UAB made things interesting in the top of the seventh, closing to 10-5 with two runs and threatened to score more when it loaded the bases for a third time. But LSU's third relief pitcher, Casey Faile, got Erica Sisson to ground out to end it.