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Wahine work OT to sweep Bulldogs


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POSTED: Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hawaii more than avenged Friday's one-run loss to No. 22 Fresno State yesterday, winning both ends of the Western Athletic Conference softball doubleheader in Fresno, Calif.

It was the first time the Rainbow Wahine (17-20, 5-4) had won a series against the Bulldogs in Fresno.

Junior center fielder Kanani Pu'u-Warren's three-run home run in the 16th inning lifted the Rainbow Wahine over the Bulldogs 7-4, the longest game in UH history. It was also the first victory for Hawaii in four extra-inning contests this season.

Freshman pitcher Stephanie Ricketts picked up her second victory of the day with an eight-hitter in the Wahine's 2-1 win in the second game. In the 3-hour, 24-minute opener, Ricketts (12-7, 4-2) threw a career-high 12 1/3 innings in relief.

“;I'm really happy right now,”; Ricketts said in a telephone call to the Star-Bulletin. “;I've never had to pitch that much before. Tired? I'll probably feel it tomorrow. Right now I'm running on adrenaline.

“;We know we're a good team, but sometimes the record doesn't show it. This confirms it.”;

It also confirmed Ricketts' resilience. Twice in the past nine days, she was one out away from victory only to have the opposing team rally to win. It happened on March 27 in Honolulu against Nevada—a 6-5 loss in eight innings—and it happened again Friday, a 2-1 defeat when the Bulldogs scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

“;We talked about it and said, 'No more deja vu,' “; Ricketts said. “;I've been in that situation so many times. I kept my ball moving and let the defense do the rest.

“;It was a total team win.”;

Hawaii took an early 2-0 lead in the opener on a solo homer to left by Amanda Tauali'i in the second and Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu's RBI single to right in the third. The Bulldogs (26-11, 6-3) tied it with single runs in the fourth and sixth. Stacey Yamada's two-run single in the 12th put the Wahine ahead 4-2, but Fresno State answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to force more innings.

With two outs in the 16th, Pu'u-Warren nailed her second homer of the year over the center-field fence. The Bulldogs threatened in their half of the inning, with runners at the corners and two down, but Ricketts got Haley Perkins to ground out.

The previous longest game for UH was a 2-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton in 14 innings in 1992, Wahine coach Bob Coolen's first season.

“;This was huge for us,”; Coolen said. “;After the way we lost (Friday), we could have easily folded our tents today. But Stephanie has handled the pressure well. She said she was ready to pitch (the second game).

“;I think this sends a message out there that our preseason schedule was tough but it's paying off.”;